Classic Scottish fruit, bursting with flavour and vitamins, some form of berry should be included in every growing space. Strawberries can be grown in containers, from pots to hanging baskets; raspberries, currants, and gooseberries do best in fertile open ground.
There are many different berries out there to choose from; we stick to a few popular basics to get you started. As with all other fruit and veg in Scotland, growing a few different varieties to flower and fruit at different times ensures nectar for the bees and fruit for you over a longer period.
Choose your sunniest spot for sweet berries from mid-summer with autumn raspberries producing fruit until the first frost. Strawberries and raspberries etc. grown in the open ground need good fertile soil, if in doubt add a general organic fertiliser before planting.
Grow: Top or bush fruit can be planted year-round in pots, for large amounts source fruit ‘bare root’ in the winter months direct from the grower. This reduces the price of planting a large area. .
Eat: July, August, September, October
Depending on what you grow, you can pick fruit from mid-June until the first frost in September -October.
When planting strawberries, check they have healthy roots; if roots seem minimal or come away in your hands, look for creamy grubs with little brown heads. These are vine weevil, a common garden pest that love strawberry plants, the grubs will eat away at the roots, and the adult weevil leaves little notches in your leaves. Squidge the grubs between your fingers or leave them out for the birds.
Grow in peat-free compost. More and more peat-free varieties are available, but beware, they dry out quickly. In dry periods, the soil under the surface should be damp but never wet to touch. Watering first thing in the morning or at night gives the plants time to take up water.
Can you collect rainwater near your growing space or grow your peas near the kitchen sink- vegetables can cope with dirty dishwater. Water carefully directly onto the soil at the base of the plant to prevent fungal issues, which can give you mouldy strawberries.
Strawberries grown in containers will need a weekly liquid feed once they start flowering to give the plants enough nutrients to keep flowering and fruiting.
Covering strawberries with clear plastic to act as a mini greenhouse can give you earlier crops- remember, the bees need to get in under any cover to pollinate the flowers, and you will need to water the plants more frequently.
When you have delicious fruit, beware of local squirrels, mice and birds! If you don’t want to feed furry and feathered friends, cover your fruit with nets or try old c.d’s.
Raspberries come in two main types- summer and autumn fruiting varieties- growing both types can give you fruit all summer, but until you have got the hang of cutting back -summer fruiting canes in July and autumn fruiting canes in the winter, be careful to keep them well labelled and ideally well separated.
Every growing space and every season is different and changes how we grow. Grow 6 is a place to start to practice and learn how to grow and adapt to these changes. Along with supporting new growers through regular updates, your tips and experiences are welcome as we all ‘Get Growing’.