How to grow your own fruit and plant soft fruit bushes

blackberries-soft-fruit-how-to-grow-your-own-fruit-bushes

Blackberries

Sweet, juicy fruit is nature’s candy. And it’s so easy to grow! Imagine walking through your garden, picking the ripest, freshest fruit from your own trees and bushes.

You don’t need an orchard, a dedicated allotment or greenhouse – fruit trees can fit in your borders and thrive in containers too. Many fruit bushes also love growing up against a sunny wall or fence.

If you’re really short of space, look for dwarf varieties that don’t grow too big but still produce plenty of fruit.

How to grow soft fruit bushes - strawberries, raspberries and more!

Top 10 easy fruit plants for beginners

Strawberries

Raspberries

Blackberries

Blueberries

Currants

Rhubarb

Apples

Pears

Gooseberries

Figs 

How to plant soft fruit bushes

redcurrants-soft-fruit-bushes-how-to-plant

Redcurrants

Soft fruit will grow in most soil types, but ideally it should be rich and well-drained. However they don’t like heavy soils that get waterlogged, so dig in lots of organic matter if you have clay soil.

Dig over the area before planting to loosen the soil and add a handful of fertiliser.

Container-grown fruit bushes can be planted out any time. But I recommend trying bare-root bushes – they need to be planted in autumn or winter while they are dormant, but they are much cheaper to buy. Make sure to soak the roots before replanting – here’s my bare-root advice guide.

Always avoid putting new plants in too deep. This can smother the roots and kill the plant. Use the ‘soil mark’ on the stems as a guide.

Some of these plants need pruning immediately after planting. This is very important to help them survive the move and produce vigorous new growth – don’t skip it. And keep new plants well-watered in dry spells for the first few months until their root systems get established.

How to plant strawberries

strawberries-how-to-plant-soft-fruit-bushes

Plant strawberries in late summer and early autumn, but make sure to choose a spot where they haven’t grown for a few years. Pick somewhere warm and sunny for sweet, ripe fruits.

Dig a hole wide and deep enough to hold the roots and set the crown level with the soil surface. Backfill with soil and water in. Space plants 45cm apart. Replace strawberry plants every few years and choose a new location for them.

Alternatively, here is how to plant a terracotta strawberry pot.

How to plant raspberries

raspberries-how-to-grow-how-to-plant-raspberry-canes

There are two types of raspberries: floricane (summer-fruiting) and primocane (autumn-fruiting). Floricanes produce all of their fruit in one go in early summer. Primocanes produce a slower crop from high summer right up to the first frosts.

Choose a sheltered spot in full sun or partial shade and dig a hole wide enough for the rootball. Plant and backfill with soil, spacing the canes 45cm apart. Water well and keep watered during dry spells or the canes may die.

Regular canes need pruning back after planting to 25cm from the ground. The only exception are some types of summer-fruiting canes, sold as ‘long’ canes. These are prepared to fruit the first year after planting and should not be pruned.

Think you know fruit? Take this fruity trivia quiz!

How to plant blackberries

blackberries-how-to-plant-soft-fruit-bushes-canes

Blackberries are ramblers and need something to grow up or over. Put in trellis or attach horizontal wires to a wall or fence panel. Choose a well-drained, sheltered spot in full sun or partial shade.

Dig a hole wide enough for the rootball and plant it just a little bit deeper than it was previously grown. Space plants at least 2m apart and water well. After planting, cut back all stems to 25cm from the ground to promote vigorous new growth.

How to plant currants

blackcurrant-bush-how-to-plant-soft-fruit-trees

Blackcurrants, redcurrants and whitecurrants are all great fruit bushes for the garden. Choose a very sheltered spot as they do not like strong winds or late-spring frosts, which damage new leaves.

Plant into moisture-retentive soil and water well. Space plants 1.2m apart. After planting, cut the branches of blackcurrants back to 10cm above ground level. Cut back the branches of red and white currants by half.

How to plant blueberries

blueberry-bush-how-to-plant-soft-fruit-in-containers-acid-soil

Blueberries differ from other soft fruits because they need acidic soil. They will struggle in regular garden soil, so grow them in containers filled with ericaceous compost.

Choose a container that has plenty of room for the rootball and plant to the same depth. Water well with rainwater, not tap water, which can be too alkaline for acid-loving plants.

How to plant gooseberries

gooseberries-how-to-plant-soft-fruitcanes

Gooseberries need deep soil that doesn’t get too dry in summer. Choose a moisture-retentive spot in full sun or partial shade. Plant the canes just slightly deeper than they were previously grown and water well. After planting, prune back the canes by half.

Other fruit planting advice:

How to plant apple and pear trees

How to plant rhubarb

The best fruit plants for containers

2017-09-26T13:59:14+00:00

2 Comments

  1. Tommy November 21, 2016 at 11:53 am - Reply

    What do you suggest to stop wildlife decimating our haul? Over the past couple of years we keep losing huge percentages of our fruit to wildlife. In the first few years of having our allotment we could grow whatever we wanted and only a little bit would be eaten by the local wildlife, but the last couple of seasons have been outrageous. Will a fruit cage give us the protection that we need? I’ve seen a load of differing styles and sizes https://www.harrodhorticultural.com/fruit-cages-tcid15.html#, if I’m going to go for it I might put the entire allotment space in a cage then everything gets an extra layer of protection.

    • Elli November 24, 2016 at 9:22 am - Reply

      Hi Tommy – what sort of wildlife is causing problems at your allotment? Fruit cages like that are certainly worth the money and are beneficial for keeping your plants protected. Thanks, Elli

Leave A Comment

Join Us

SIGN UP FOR OUR NEWSLETTER

Join 25,000 garden enthusiasts for news, advice and gardening guides direct to your inbox

JOIN US ON SOCIAL MEDIA

Follow David for his tips, advice, inspirations and behind-the-scenes access to Love Your Garden

social-media social-media social-media social-media social-media

CONTACT OUR PRESS TEAM

Got a burning question or a media request? Use the contact form to get in touch with our press team.

Contact