SARAH’S GARDEN JOURNAL
Berry Berry Good
"Some of the sweetest berries grow among the sharpest thorns" - Gaelic Proverb
Berries are one of nature’s superfoods, rich in vitamins and anti-oxidants. Given they are expensive to buy fresh in the supermarket, and the frozen varieties often imported from far afield, why not try growing them organically in your own backyard? If you’re lucky enough to have a surplus of the summer crop, they will freeze well for your enjoyment throughout the year.
Berries require a cool winter to provide ideal growing conditions. They will grow well in Tasmania, the Adelaide Hills, Victoria and up into New South Wales. Probably the biggest challenge in growing berries is stopping the birds from snacking on them before the humans can! Netting is essential. This can be utilised in many ways ranging from a tunnel of polypipes to the more elaborate “berry cage”.
Strawberries are the most commonly grown of the berries. Runners can be planted in late autumn and will fruit from spring for six months of so. There are many interesting varieties available, producing gorgeous white, pink or red flowers. Good drainage is important for strawberries and they do best well mulched with, you guessed it, straw!
Raspberries can be purchased as bare rooted plants in winter. They need the support of a wire trellis to which the canes are loosely tied as they develop. Pruning in winter is important, removing all canes which produced fruit, to allow the new canes to flourish.
Blueberries grown on a thornless bush. They like it cool and can withstand partial shade. Blueberries should be well mulched and never allowed to dry out. They thrive in an acidic soil, so feel free to dig your coffee grounds into the surrounding soil.
Berries certainly take some effort and extra care to grow, but the results are simply delicious. Do your research to determine the best varieties for your area, and enjoy!