A key factor in getting a successful crop is the tree's rootstock. To
ensure a productive tree, nurseries attach part of one tree to another
recommended for growing fruit. This is called grafting, allowing you
to benefit from the healthy rootstock of one tree and the tasty fruit
of another. Root stocks come in various sizes. Look for ones labelled
M27 or M9 which suit most gardens, or ask your nursery.
You also need to be aware of the potential size your tree will grow to and whether it's self-fertilising. Self-fertile trees will produce fruit without the need for another tree to pollinate it. If your tree is not self-fertile it will need to be paired with another one.
Trees can be bought either in a container or bare-rooted.Container-grown trees can be planted at any time of year except when frosty or if the soil is too dry or too wet.
Apples in containers
If you want to grow an apple in a container you must choose one that has been specially grown for a container. Apple trees are not grown on their own roots. The top of the tree is grafted onto different roots (called a rootstock), and the roots control the size of the tree. Therefore, when you are choosing an apple for a container you must make sure it is grafted onto a container rootstock. Look out for rootstocks called ‘M26’ for a container.
If growing in a container, choose one that is 45-50cm (18-20in) in diameter. When planting, place some crocks (small pieces of broken concrete, clay pots, or polystyrene) in the bottom of the containers to retain moisture. Use a good-quality compost (John Innes No 3 is ideal), or multi-purpose compost mixed with one-third by volume of grit.
‘Pixie’ AGM: This dessert apple produces small, juicy apples, ideal for children. Produces high yields.
‘Discovery’ AGM: This flushed-red dessert apple is probably the tastiest and juiciest of all the early-ripening apples with good, firm flesh. It has good resistance to disease.
‘Egremont Russet’: A dessert type, its intriguing flavour combines honey and nuts. The fruit is small and golden with large patches of russeting and a rough skin.
‘Bramley’s Seedling’ AGM: A very popular cooking apple, needing a lot of space. The apple breaks down to a creamy purée after cooking.
Blackberries are usually bought as container-grown plants and planted
between January to April. A single plant can be incredibly productive,
but if you plant more make sure they have plenty of room.Spacing
depends on the vigour of the cultivar, ranging from 2.5m to
Top-dress blackberries with 100g per sq m of general-purpose fertiliser in mid-spring and cover with a 7cm organic mulch annually. Make sure the mulch is placed 5cm away from the new canes and the crown to prevent rotting.
Regularly tie in the shoots of newly-planted canes. Once these reach their first winter, cut back all sideshoots produced on these main canes to 5cm (2in). It is mainly from the resulting fruiting spurs that flowers are formed.
In the second year after planting the crown will throw up new canes from ground level. Loosely bundle these together; insert four bamboo canes in a square vertically around the crown and pull the new canes into the centre; then tie some sturdy twine around the square to hold the new canes in place.
Remove the one-year-old canes once they have fruited by pruning them
into shorter sections with loppers, then extracting them carefully to
prevent their thorns snagging on new canes. Then untie the twine
around the new canes and train them along the wires.
‘Oregon Thornless': Dissected leaves that turn an attractive colour in autumn
‘Silvan’ AGM: Prolific crops of large fruit that ripen from mid- to late summer. Plants are vigorous and thorny, so need sturdy supports.
‘Loch Ness’ AGM: One of the most widely grown cultivars. The thornless canes bear masses of large, glossy, well-flavoured berries. These ripen from late summer until the first frosts.
Blackcurrants will tolerate many conditions which are not ideal which makes them well suited to difficult pats of a garden.
Blackcurrant bushes are sold in two forms - bare-rooted and pot grown. Bare rooted is almost always the cheapest way to buy blackcurrant bushes and once planted they will grow well. Plant out Nov-March.
A few weeks before planting, clear the soil of all perennial weeds and add generous amount of well-rotted manure. Add Growmore at the rate of 85g per sq m.
Dig a hole at least twice the diameter of the root ball, and spread the roots out when planting. Set each plant at least 6cm deeper than it was previously. Deep planting encourages young, vigorous shoots to develop from the base. Mix the soil from the hole with well-rotted organic manure and backfill the hole. Firm it in well before watering.Now comes the hard part, prune severely! Cut all stems (yours may only have one stem) to about 10cm / 4in high. This severe pruning combined with planting lower in the soil, will encourage your blackcurrant bush to put out new shoots from below and above the soil level.If growing in a container, choose one that is 45-50cm (18-20in) in diameter. When planting, place some crocks (small pieces of broken concrete, clay pots, or polystyrene) in the bottom of the containers to retain moisture. Use a good-quality compost (John Innes No 3 is ideal), or multi-purpose compost mixed with one-third by volume of grit.
‘Ben Sarek’ AGM: A good choice for the small garden as this is a compact, high-yielding bush growing only to about 1.2m (4ft) high. It offers resistance to mildew and frost. ‘Ben Sarek’ produces large berries. ‘Ben Lomond’ AGM: An upright blackcurrant with some frost resistance because of its late flowering. Produces heavy yields of large, short-stalked berries, which are ready to harvest in late summer.
‘Ben Hope': An excellent grower with heavy yields of medium-sized, delicious currants. It is resistant to mildew, leaf spot, and gall midge.
‘Ben Connan’ AGM: This compact plant is suitable for a small garden. It has resistance to mildew, frost, and gall midge. The berries are large with good flavour.
Blueberries, taste delicious whether eaten fresh or cooked. The
bushes can be evergreen or deciduous and usually grow to about 1.5m
high. They do well in pots and you can get a reasonable crop whatever
the size of your garden. Blueberries require light, free-draining
acidic soils, with plenty of rich, organic matter if they're to
thrive. The soil should have a lower pH of between 4
The fruit is delicious and extremely high in antioxidants, so many people regard it as a ‘super fruit’. They can be grown in the garden, but also make very popular container plants.
Plant two different varieties of blueberries to ensure cross-pollination. A single blueberry plant will produce fruit, but the yields will be higher and the fruits bigger if more than one plant is grown. Plant blueberries in autumn or winter leaving about 1.5m gaps between them and mulch with a layer of acidic peat, wood chippings or pine needles. Water in well using rainwater rather than tap water if possible. Tap water contains lime which renders the soil less acidic over time. Use nets to protect plants from birds in the fruiting season.Blueberries produce fruit on branches that were produced the previous year. For the first two or three years of a blueberry's life it's not necessary to prune it much, apart from keeping the plant tidy. After this, blueberries need regular pruning to maintain plant vigour and high quality berry production. Prune them between November and March when the plant is dormant.
If growing in a container, choose one that is at least 30cm in diameter for young plants, then move into a 45-50cm container when it is outgrows the first one.When planting, place some crocks in the bottom of the containers to help retain moisture. You must use an ericaceous compost in containers for blueberries. You can buy this at garden centres.
‘Tophat’: A self-fertile, heavy-cropping dwarf blueberry. Mature plants attain a height and spread of only 60cm (2ft). The medium-sized berries have a very good flavour. It has an attractive autumn colour.
‘Spartan’ AGM: Very hardy, early- to mid-season ‘Spartan’ bears large fruits with a sweet, tangy flavour. To crop well, this cultivar needs another blueberry cultivar nearby.
‘Nelson': A mid- to late-season cultivar that is very hardy and self-fertile. The large fruits and good flavour.
‘Duke’ AGM: Stocky bushes produce good yields of medium to large fruit of excellent flavour. ‘Duke’ flowers late but crops early so is especially good for northern areas where the growing season is short. It is partly self-fertile.
Cherries are broadly split into two categories, both of which are
worth growing. Sweet (dessert) cherries are wonderful eaten fresh and
make a great addition to your fruit bowl. Sour (acid) cherries are
tart to taste when eaten raw but are perfect for cooking. These make
great pie-fillers or the basis of a cherry jam, where sweet cherries
would prove to be too sugary.
Sweet cherries produce delicious fruit and are usually grown as small open trees, or trained as fans against walls or fences. They can also be grown in large containers - and if you choose a self-fertile cultivar, they will fruit without a pollination partner. Acid cherries are self-fertile, tolerate some shade and are ideal for a north-facing wall.
Plant out from October to March.
Cherries prefer deep, fertile and well-drained soil with pH 6.5-6.7. They dislike shallow, sandy or badly drained soils.
Sweet cherries are grafted onto rootstocks, usually semi-vigorous ‘Colt,’ restricting growth to about 6-8m (20-26ft) making large trees and are best grown as fans – ideally against sunny walls in gardens.
Alternatively use or semi-dwarfing ‘Gisela 5’ and ‘Tabel’, reaching 3-4m (10-13ft) – the latter are ideal as dwarf bush trees or for containers.
Acid cherries are less vigorous, growing to a height and spread of 3-3.5m (10-12ft) on ‘Colt’ rootstocks.
Some sweet cherries need pollination partners, others are self fertile, producing fruit on a single tree. Acid cherries are self-fertile.
Pick fruits preferably during dry weather, doing so by the stalks, not the body of the fruit, which bruises easily.
Acid cherry ‘Nabella': Self fertile, for picking in late summer.
Acid cherry ‘Morello’ AGM: Self fertile, dark red, excellent for preserves and tarts. Attractive in blossom, heavy cropping; late season for harvesting in July and early August.
‘Sunburst’: Self fertile. Black fruits for picking in mid-summer.
‘Lapins’: Self fertile, black, glossy fruits for picking in late summer.
Black, large, rich, high quality. Heavy, regular crops; self-fertile. Prone to splitting in wet weather. Late season - harvest in July.
In the garden, cranberries form an effective carpeting ground cover
around blueberries and are happy in containers or window boxes. The
tiny flowers of this evergreen are followed by red berries, which can
be used in sauces, stuffing and as an accompaniment to barbecued meat.
If you can grow rhododendrons or blueberries in your garden soil, cranberries should succeed. The soil should have a lower pH of between 4 and 5.5. Otherwise, grow plants in pots, hanging containers or raised beds in ericaceous compost.
Plant at a spacing of 30cm (12in) in and between the rows in from October to December, in mild spells in winter or in March and April. Protect the plants from birds by covering them with netting or fleece.
If your ground is not naturally moist and
acidic, then you could grow them in
a large container filled with specialised ericaceous compost, such
as a peat based compost without
lime or nutrients. Perhaps a better
solution would be to construct a sunken bed some 20 cm deep, and
fill it with ericaceous peat. Water well with lime free water, such
as rainwater collected in a water butt. After planting your
Cranberry plants at 30 cm spacing, cover the bed with about 3 cm of
course, lime-free sand to prevent the peat drying out too quickly
and to help the Cranberry stems root into the ground.
During late spring, apply a proprietary ericaceous fertiliser as instructed by the manufacturer.
They can also be grown in large, 30-37.5cm pots.
Water with rainwater, not ‘hard’ tap water. Compost should be moist
at all times, not waterlogged and should never dry out.
Using a test kit, check the pH regularly and add flowers of sulphur if the soil is becoming less acidic.
'Pilgrim': Ideal for container growing, fruits ripen from July to September.
'Early Black': Early harvesting, small and deep red; ideal for sauces and for baking.
'Redstar': Ideal for window boxes or containers, dark pink flowers are followed by bright red fruits.
'Stevens': Mid season with large, red fruit.
A fig tree will succeed best in a sheltered position in full sun. A
south or south-west facing wall is ideal for growing and training a
fan-shaped fig - use horizontal wires fixed to the wall 45cm (18in)
apart. Or grow the tree in a 45cm (18in) diameter pot of soil-based
compost. Keep the top of the soil 7cm-10cm (3in-4in) below the rim of
the pot to allow an annual spring top-up with compost, as well as to
facilitate watering and feeding.Plant the figs in Mar- April.
Move figs growing in pots into a sunny location, outdoors, once there is no danger of frost.
In spring, apply a general-purpose granular feed and mulch around the base of fan trained plants, with well-rotted organic matter, to retain moisture and suppress weeds. Once the figs appear, apply liquid tomato fertiliser every two to three weeks during the growing season, until they start to ripen. Water well during summer.
Winter protection in containers: In autumn, move plants that have been grown in pots into an unheated greenhouse, shed or porch.
Winter protection outdoors: protect fan-trained figs in winter. After leaf fall, pack a fan-trained plant with straw, bracken, or even bubble wrap and then cover with horticultural fleece. Remove the insulation during late spring, from May onwards.
‘Rouge de Bordeaux’: One of the finest for flavour. Needs a warm, sheltered site or conservatory.
‘Osbourne Prolific’: Delicious dark purple fruit. For greenhouse cultivation - except in warmer climate.
‘White Marseilles’: Large fruit with sweet, translucent flesh. Ideal for growing in containers and outdoors, it produces two crops per year under glass.
‘Brunswick’: Hardy and good for growing outdoors, with large, sweet fruit.
‘Brown Turkey’: The classic fig for British gardens, heavy cropping, producing a mass of tasty fruit. Outdoors or in containers.
Gooseberries are an easy-to-grow soft fruit and they can thrive in
many kinds of soil, although they really like a sunny site. They can
be grown as bushes or be trained against a wall to take up less space
in a small garden – you can even grow gooseberries in containers.
Most gooseberries are bought as bare-root plants in late-autumn or early spring. Before planting, stand the plants in a bucket of water, leaving them to soak for about 20 minutes. This will reinvigorate the plants and help them to establish successfully.
Select two- to three-year-old bushes with a well-balanced head of three to five main branches and a clear stem of 10-15cm (4-6in). Cordons should have a good spreading root system.
Bush plants: Space 1.2-1.5m (4-5ft) apart.
Cordons: Space gooseberry cordons 30-38cm (12-15in) apart. Plant each cordon tied to a 1.7m (51/2ft) bamboo cane that is secured to horizontal wires spaced 60cm and 1.2m (2ft and 4ft) apart.
Dig a large hole and fork well-rotted manure into the base. Add slow-release fertiliser to poor soils. Position the plant with the stem at the same level in the soil as it was previously - which is identified by a 'tide mark' on the stem. Back-fill and firm well using your feet.
'Invicta' AGM: White culinary, good disease resistance.
Whinham’s Industry' AGM:
Red dessert or culinary gooseberry. Tolerates heavy soil.
Yellow dessert, good disease resistance.
Grapes can be trained up walls, on trellis or over arches and need
very little space if pruned carefully. Vines need reasonably deep,
free-draining soil and plenty of sunlight to ripen properly and will
happily grow on any good garden soil and sunny site in southern
Britain. Indoor cultivation gives better and more reliable crops,
especially in northern regions. Dig a hole wider and deeper than the
root ball of the plant, 15cm away from your fence or wall.
Put the plant in the hole and start to fill, firming as you go - ensure that the top of the rootball is level with the surface of the soil.
Push a 1.8m cane behind the vine. Cut the vine back to leave three healthy buds, which are below the bottom wire of your support system.
Tie the stump to the cane and secure the cane to the supports. Spread a thick layer of mulch over the root area of the vine.
Allow three stems to grow vertically during its first year, securing them to the cane and pinching any shoots that grow from the side to one leaf.
When the foliage falls in the autumn, untie the stems from the cane and tie two down to the bottom wire, one each side of the cane.
Prune the third stem, leaving three buds to provide replacement stems next year. In spring, allow shoots to grow vertically from the branches that have been tied down. Aim to have shoots every 15cm - you may need to prune some out to achieve this.
Pinch off side shoots to leave one leaf and when the shoots reach the top wire, pinch off their growing tips.
Tie the three replacement shoots to the centre cane. When fruit appears, remove some leaves if necessary to improve air flow to the grapes.
Vitis vinifera 'Perlette' - green seedless fruit. Outdoors
Vitis vinifera 'Schiava Grossa' (Black Hamburgh) - dessert variety with dark purple fruit with a white bloom. Best indoors
Vitis vinifera 'Muscat of Alexandria' - fine-flavoured green dessert grape. Indoors
Vitis vinifera 'Siegerrebe' - white grape for eating or wine. OutdoorsVitis vinifera 'Regent' - wine or dessert grape with good autumn colour. Outdoors
Kiwi fruit needs a sheltered, sunny position to thrive. Only one
plant is needed if a self-fertile cultivar is selected - otherwise
male and female cultivars are needed to ensure a good crop.
Male and female flowers grow on separate plants, so you will need a plant of both sexes in order to produce a crop of fruit. If you are planning to grow a mini kiwi orchard, you’ll only need one male plant for every eight females.
Plant them in March, April, May.
Kiwi fruit bushes need to be carefully trained and pruned to provide you with the greater numbers of fruit. They grow best on a south or west-facing wall, but in mild areas they can be grown in the open on a sturdy support such as a pergola. Plant them 3-5m apart in fertile, well-drained soil that’s packed full of rich, organic matter. Maintain the plants’ health by regularly watering them and giving them an annual mulch of well-rotted animal manure or compost. A liquid feed may also be necessary each week during the growing season.
After planting, mulch around the base of the plant with well-rotted manure in late winter, avoid contact with the stem as this may cause rotting.
Apply a general-purpose fertiliser such as Growmore at a rate of 70g per sq m (2.5oz per sq yd) when growth starts in the spring.
Actinidia arguta 'Issai': Actinidia arguta is known as the hardy kiwi. Self-fertile ‘Issai’ produces small grape sized fruits that ripen in July and August and can be eaten whole.
'Jenny' (self-fertile): Self fertile with male, female and hermaphrodite flowers, ‘Jenny’ is productive with well-flavoured fruits and will pollinate other kiwi fruits.
'Tormuri' (male): Suitable for pollinating ‘Hayward’.
'Hayward' (female) : The most widely grown kiwi fruit is very late flowering, and produces large, broadly oval fruits with good flavour.
If you have a protected city garden or live in a mild area, olives
can be grown outdoors as long as you give them a sunny position and
plant them in well-drained soil, for example, against a warm wall
would be ideal. IN cold or northern regions winter protection in
a conservatory for example, will be required.
Plant in March, April, May.
During the growing season keep the compost moist and feed with a balanced liquid fertiliser every month to ensure it produces a good crop of fruit.
Prune olives in early spring to keep an attractive shape and to remove any dead, diseased or dying branches. To restrict the size of a pot-grown olive, tip prune the main branches, cutting back to a good replacement shoot each year.
Many olives are hardy, but branches can still be damaged by severe frosts. Store in a frost-free place if grown in pots or cover the branches with horticultural fleece.
Olives are not entirely hardy in the UK, and will be damaged by
temperatures below -10°C (14°F). So, in colder areas of the country,
you can grow olives in large (60cm, 24ins) diameter and depth)
containers. Plant in a well-drained mix of compost, such as loam-based
John Innes No 3 with 20 percent by volume added horticultural
grit. You can place containers outdoors in summer and then move into a
cold conservatory, porch or greenhouse over winter.
Olives are ready for harvesting in autumn. Ripe green fruit will eventually turn black and firm on the plant. If you like green olives they will need soaking in salted water for several days to remove any bitterness and make them palatable. Black olives need dry curing in salt for several weeks until dehydrated then storing in olive oil or brine.
The ideal position for a pear tree is a sunny, sheltered site, well
away from any frost pockets. Avoid poorly drained or shallow soils.
You will see pear trees for sale in two forms: bare-root stock or in containers. Bare-root plants should be planted from late autumn until early spring; containerised plants can be planted at any time of year, although winter is preferred.
If you want to grow a pear in a container you must choose one that has been specially grown for it. Pear trees are not grown on their own roots. The top of the tree is grafted onto different roots, and the roots control the size of the tree. Therefore, when you are choosing a pear for a container you must make sure it is grafted onto a container rootstock. Look out for rootstocks called ‘Quince C’ for a container.
Choose a container that is 45-50cm in diameter. When planting, place some crocks in the bottom of the containers to retain moisture. Use John Innes No 3 compost mixed with one-third by volume of grit.
If planting in the garden, dig a hole no deeper than the roots, but up to three times the diameter of the root system (spread the roots out on the ground before digging the hole). If the sides or base of the planting hole are really hard, break the soil up with a fork before planting. Place the plant in the planting hole and carefully refill, placing soil between and around all the roots to eliminate air pockets. Firm the soil gently by stepping on it.
If you want to train your pear tree it pays to choose the right rootstock to plant up.
Quince A: The most commonly found rootstock in garden centres, ‘Quince A’ can be used for espaliers or bush trees.
Quince C: Being slightly less vigorous than ‘Quince A’, ‘Quince C’ is more suitable for cordons, but can also be used for an espalier or bush tree.
'Conference' AGM: A popular dessert pear due to its reliable, heavy crops. The greenish fruit is distinctive due to its elongated shape.
'Onward' AGM: A delicious, juicy dessert pear with reliable crops. The fruit do not store well at all so need to be eaten almost straight away.
'Concorde' AGM: A fine, compact dessert pear bearing heavy yields of medium to large fruits.
Raspberries are planted any time between November and March, provided
the soil is not frozen or waterlogged. They are normally sold as
There are two types of raspberry plants:
Summer-fruiting raspberries - these will fruit between June and early August depending on specific varieties.
Autumn-fruiting raspberries - these will fruit between August and October and are ideal for growing in containers on the patio as they don't need supporting. They are also great for beginner gardeners as the pruning is very simple.
Regular annual pruning will result in healthier plants, and better quality crops.
Cut back fruited canes to ground level after harvesting; do not leave old stubs.
Select the strongest young canes, around six to eight per plant, and tie them in 8 –10cm (3–4in) apart along the wire supports.
Remove the remaining young stems to ground level.
Cut back all the canes to ground level in February.
Reduce the number of canes slightly in summer if they are very overcrowded.
This system is ideal for the very small garden.
Drive a 2.5m (8ft) long and 75mm (3in) diameter post into the ground to a depth of 75cm (30in).
Plant two or three plants around the base and tie in the canes with garden twine.
In mid-spring, sprinkle a general-purpose fertiliser such as Growmore around the base of the plants, then add a mulch of garden compost or well-rotted farmyard manure. This will prevent weeds growing.
In early summer, pull up suckers between the rows of summer raspberries, and thin autumn raspberry canes to 10cm (4in) apart.
Keep raspberries well watered during dry periods.
'Glen Moy' AGM: This early summer raspberry bears heavy crops of medium to large berries, which have a good flavour. It may also produce a small crop on the new canes, in autumn. The spine-free canes are compact.
'Glen Ample' AGM: Delicious, large fruit produced in mid-summer on this extremely heavy-yielding summer cultivar with vigorous, upright, spine-free canes. The berries are produced on long, upright stems, making picking easy.
'Autumn Bliss' AGM: The short, sturdy canes of this popular autumn cultivar produce high yields from late summer to mid-autumn. The fruit is large and deep red, with a firm texture and excellent flavour.
Although redcurrants are closely related to blackcurrants, they are in fact grown more like gooseberries. These cool-climate plants do well in northern regions and will tolerate part shade, although the fruits will ripen more quickly and taste sweeter if given some full sun.
Plant bare-root redcurrants between November and March in well-drained, slightly neutral to acid soil (about pH 6.7 is ideal). Allow 5ft (1.5m) between bushes and 5ft (1.5m) between rows. Container-grown bushes are available to buy and plant all year round, but will establish better if planted in autumn or winter.
Red and white currants should be trained as an open centred,
goblet-shaped bush - this allows light and air to flow freely around
the branches, and makes picking easier.
After planting, pull off any suckers growing from beneath ground level and cut back to the stem any branches less than 10cm above the soil – this will give the bush a short leg.
At the end of June, prune back side shoots to half their length and
then to two or three buds in winter.
As an alternative to planting in the ground, grow cordon redcurrants in a large container – at least 45cm (18in) is ideal. Fill with soil-based John Innes No.3 compost, although multipurpose potting media are satisfactory.
Currants can be harvested in summer when the fruits are firm and
juicy. Cut whole trusses and use immediately, or store in the fridge
for a few days. Alternatively, place trusses in bags and put into the
freezer for later use.
Birds like to eat the developing buds of currant bushes, so protect plants in the winter. If you have a large garden, a fruit cage is ideal, alternatively, cover plants in bud with anti-bird mesh.
‘Rovada’: Disease resistant and great in pots.
‘Stanza’ AGM: Late flowering, a good choice in frost-prone areas.
‘Red Lake’ AGM: A disease resistant, heavy cropper.
‘Junifer’: French variety that fruits very early and produces a heavy crop.
‘Jonkheer van Tets’ AGM: Produces a very heavy, early crop of large red berries.
Strawberries can be grown in a wide range of soils, from light sand
to heavy clay. However, water logging will cause the fruits to become
diseased and the plant to rot. The ideal soil is well-drained and rich
in humus. They prefer to be planted in full sun, out of the wind.
Plants can be planted outdoors from late June until September. If planted later, the flowers should be removed in the first year so the energy is used to develop a healthy plant in year two.
Strawberry plants can produce fruit for five or six years. However, after the first two years the yields will be reduced dramatically and a build-up of pests and diseases can occur. Strawberry beds are usually kept for two or three years before they're cleared and planted on new ground.
Prepare the soil by digging over, removing any perennial weeds and adding manure.
Place the strawberry plants every 35cm in rows that are 75cm apart.
Plant with the crown at soil level and water well.
Place a net over the plants to prevent birds and squirrels from eating the fruit.
Pick any ripe strawberries so they don't rot on the plant. Check the plants every other day during the ripening period.
Regularly hoe between the rows and individual plants. You might also want to place a net over the strawberries to stop birds and squirrels from eating the fruit.
From late May, place straw in the rows and under the fruit trusses to suppress weeds and prevent the fruit lying on the ground.
Barley straw is the best option, as it's softer and more pliable. If you can't get straw, use polythene sheeting.
It's possible to extend the growing season by placing early strawberry varieties under cloches or polythene covers in late March. Grown in this way, the plants should produce fruit two to three weeks earlier than normal.
‘Aromel’ AGM: Pepetual - A cultivar popular for its delicious flavour.
‘Honeoye’ AGM: Early croppers - A darkish berry with excellent flavour. Can be susceptible to mildew. Fruits during early summer.
‘Cambridge Favourite’ AGM: Mid season - A traditional favourite, this variety can have a few disease problems but the fruit is juicy and possesses an excellent flavour.
‘Alice’ AGM: Mid season - One of the best midsummer strawberries with a sweet flavour and juicy texture with good disease resistance.
‘Elsanta’: Mid season - The most widely grown commercial cultivar, it has superb flavour and large yields of glossy, red fruit. Can be prone to disease.
‘Hapil’ AGM: Mid season - This mid-season cultivar produces heavy yields of light red fruits. Fruits are firm and have excellent sweet flavour.
‘Pegasus’ AGM: Mid season - A good, reliable cropper with excellent disease resistance, particularly to mildew and verticillium wilt.
‘Symphony’(PBR) AGM: Late season - Acultivar from Scotland with attractive, glossy, red fruit and excellent flavour. is hardy and has good disease resistance, although it can be susceptible to mildew.
‘Florence’: Late season - A late summer strawberry with good disease resistance. The large, bright, glossy fruits have good flavour.
‘Mara de Bois’: Pepetual - Well liked for its crop of intensely flavoured fruit that is said to be reminiscent of wild strawberries.