Early Autumn - Before planting clear ground of weeds; dig a trench one spit deep by three spits wide and add a layer of well rotted manure to the base. Fill in with the top soil and add balanced fertilizer.
Construct support – three strands galvanised wire 50cm apart between stout posts about 2m tall. Posts 3-5m apart.
Plant bare rooted certified canes when dormant (November to March). Shallow rooted so only plant 7-8cm deep. 40cm apart in rows 1.5m apart. Cut canes to 30cm immediately after planting to encourage new canes to develop.
Raspberries - care
Pruning – summer fruiting types fruit on previous years canes; autumn fruiting on this years. After fruiting cut out fruited canes. Retain the strongest 5-8 un-fruited canes per plant for summer fruiting types and tie in to the wires. Cut the tops 15cm above the top wire.
Watering – shallow rooted so need regular watering in dry weather.
Feeding – sulphate of potash in January; superphosphate every third year; sulphate of ammonia in late March, then mulch.
Net to protect the crop from birds.
Raspberries – pests and diseases
Raspberry beetle – the grubs tunnel the fruit and make it inedible. Control – use a pheromone trap to detect the problem and a pyrethrum based spray from beetle emergence until first flowering.
Birds – net or cage the crop.
Grey mould ( Botrytis cinerea ) – grey fluffy mould on leaves and fruit. No approved chemical control – improve air circulation and remove and destroy infected canes (or individual leaves etc if mild problem)
Cane blight - Serious fungal disease that enters through damage to canes. Canes wilt and die. Remove and burn affected canes; control by copper fungicide spray.
Strawberries - varieties
Early: ‘Pantagruella’; Mid-season: ‘Grandee’; Late: ‘Cambridge Late Pine’.
The classic ‘supermarket strawberry’ is usually ‘Elsanta’ which is tough enough to ship and stores fairly well. The flavour is reasonable but not up to the varieties above.
Using the Early, Mid-season and Late varieties enables strawberries to be picked from June until late July.
Perpetual: ‘Aromel’ – crops in flushes from June to October but this exhausts the plant so replace annually to get the best yield.
Strawberries - planting
Buy virus certified plants. Prepare the soil by single digging and incorporating well rotted manure and adding balanced fertilizer.
Need good drainage. Can be grown in raised beds if this is a problem.
Plant in July or early August 40-50cm apart, rows 75cm apart. Can be planted through black polythene (with porous hose installed beneath for irrigation) to keep the fruit clean.
Strawberry beds build up pests and diseases so will need to be moved and the plants replaced every 3-4 years.
Strawberries – aftercare.
Water well until established and then as the berries are swelling in dry weather. Do not splash the berries or foliage as this will encourage botrytis.
Feeding – not likely to be needed unless growth is poor. Balanced fertilizer in early Spring if needed.
Strawing down – when berries start to swell put straw beneath the trusses (over a scatter of slug pellets) and between the rows.
After harvest, cut off leaves to about 10cm and burn, collect the straw and compost or burn.
Cover plants using cloches in January if an early (May) crop is required. Use an early variety for this.
Redcurrants – varieties and forms
Varieties: ‘Junifer’ (ripens late June/July) ‘Redstart’ (ripens mid-August)
Virus certified plants are available.
White currants are a mutation of red currants and even rarer in the shops. Variety: ‘White Grape’
Forms: Bush- pruned to an open, goblet shaped bush with 8-10 branches on a 10-15cm stem.
Cordon: single, double or triple stem. Require support (singles on wires between stout posts, others against walls).
Redcurrants – planting and feeding
In early Autumn clear ground of weeds. Single dig and incorporate well rotted manure. Add a dressing of balanced fertilizer.
November to March, plant bare root bushes in a hole large enough to take the roots spread out to the same depth as it was planted in the nursery. 1.5m apart (Cordons planted 50cm apart against a framework of wires and posts or against a wall and tied in) and 1.5m between rows.
Feeding- balanced fertilizer and sulphate of potash in February. Mulch with well rotted manure but do not let it touch the stem.
Redcurrants - aftercare
Watering – water new plantings well during dry weather. Once established water in dry spells when flowering and fruiting.
Net to protect crop from birds (white currants are less affected).
Pruning: Redcurrants fruit on spurs on old wood.
Bush: Cut back new growth on leaders by 1/3 and laterals to 2 buds.
Cordon: Summer- prune laterals to 5 leaves
Winter: once the leader has reached the desired height prune to one bud. Until then reduce by one third. Prune laterals to one bud.
Redcurrant – pests and diseases
Aphids – spread virus diseases. Control by fatty acid spray at the first sign of attack.
Gooseberry sawfly- attacks currants too; caterpillars strip the leaves. Spray with pyrethrum.
Leaf spot – fungal disease causing brown spots on leaves. Control is mainly to improve growing conditions, but copper fungicide may control in bad cases.
Coral spot – fungus that usually grows on dead wood, but will attack weak living plants. Pink pustules on dead shoots. Prune out damaged shoots and burn.
Harvesting and storage
Raspberries – pick once they are ripe enough to pull freely away from the core (do not leave stems and cores on the canes)
Strawberries – again the fruit should come away from the core on varieties that have this.
Redcurrants – remove entire bunches of currants from the plant with scissors (taking care not to damage the spur). Strip currants from the stalks with a fork.
Storage – none store well; keep chilled for a day or so, jam, freeze or bottle.
1.1 Describe the factors to be considered when selecting suitable cultivars of soft fruits.
1.2 Describe the factors in choosing a suitable site for growing soft fruit
1.3 For named varieties of each of raspberry, blackcurrant, redcurrant and strawberry state in each case
1.3.1 planting, feeding and pruning requirements;
1.3.2 care and cultivation requirements;
1.3.3 describe 2 pests and 2 diseases for each and their controls
1.3.4 describe harvesting and storage requirements for each