Heavenly flavours are just a simple grow away!
Growing a bountiful harvest of sweet fruits is an idyllic dream shared by many.
Luckily, this goal does not have to sit amongst the clouds and can be become a reality, as growing berries is a rewarding and relatively easy thing you can do in your garden.
Just picture yourself heading outside, wicker basket swinging from your arm, as you browse your miniature, personal orchard and pluck the sweet delights, ready to be used or snacked on!
Thankfully, with so much choice in terms of fruits and berries, there is sure to be a plant out there to suit your palate.
One of the first fruits grown by many, even great for giving children their first green-fingered experience – the sweet taste of a fresh strawberry certainly takes some beating.
In general, it is best to get strawberries in the ground as early as possible in spring, to ensure your new plant can start to establish roots before the warm summer months begin.
If you plant a garden ready variety, you could even see fruits appearing from the first summer, starting with a yield of around 1lb of strawberries, and only increasing annually.
Strawberries are delightfully versatile, and can be cooked into jars of heavenly sweet jam, freeze-dried for healthier confectionary alternatives, or used to decorate home-made cakes.
We like to save a punnet or two ready to serve with fresh cream when Wimbledon begins!
You could even grow something a little bit different with the ‘White Dream’ Pineberry which, as the name suggests, is a creamy white coloured strawberry with a lip-smacking flavour, almost like a pineapple.
If you are looking for a splash of variety in your fruit and berry garden, then currant bushes could be your best friend.
Not just a breeze to grow, they are also very productive and will provide you with bountiful crops of berries, year after year.
For example, our ever-popular ‘Summer Pearls’ Currant Collection includes a combination of redcurants, whitecurrants and blackcurrants.
As the name suggests, redcurrants shine in a delightful red shade, and are an excellent source of a wide range of vitamins. These also make a perfect addition to breakfast cereals and desserts and can be made into redcurrant jelly – delicious!
Like its red-coloured cousin, whitecurrants grow in clusters, but boast a less tart and far sweeter taste. These currants are easily mistaken for little translucent pearls as they grow on the bush.
Arguably the most popular and widely used of the trio, blackcurrants would make a great addition to any kitchen garden.
The ‘Summer Pearls Black’ variety is known as one of the largest currants out there, and unlike other types, can be plucked straight from the bush individually rather than in large clusters, so you can get away with a couple of sneaky snacks without anyone knowing!
If looking for a simple boost to your health, then grow some raspberry plants!
These delicious little beauties are an excellent source of vitamin C, which boosts your immune system, and are a good source of fibre to help lower cholesterol and keep your digestive system running.
There are several different raspberry varieties out there, each with a different time for planting, fruiting, and harvesting.
For example, the ‘Sweet Sunshine’ patio raspberry grows short, thornless canes with plump juicy fruit between June and August, while the popular ‘Autumn Bliss’ bursts to life with flavoursome fruits as late as October.
If you are looking for something a tad different, then the ‘Black Jewel’ raspberry is excellent and produces heavy crops of ebony coloured fruit for months in the summer.
These black-shaded berries give off an intense flavour that is more aromatic than regular raspberries.
Raspberries are a popular choice to grow, thanks to their delightful versatility – they can be eaten fresh, made into jam, added to smoothies for sweet twist, popped into your baking, or even used to add zip to a refreshing cocktail.
Gooseberries are one of the most underappreciated berries in the culinary world but could hold a taste sensation that you will love.
One of the most popular varieties of this berry to grow is ‘Invicta’, which produces large crops of sweet-to-eat fruit, ready for snacking or using in the kitchen straight away.
Plant your gooseberry bushes at pretty much any time of the year, apart from the peak summer months as roots need time to establish before temperatures soar.
Fruiting will mainly be seen in July, but can begin from June, so make sure you have your berry collecting baskets at the ready!
Another delightful variety of gooseberry you could plant is ‘Hinnomaki Red’, which is bursting with flavour and boasting a red, almost plum-like, colour.
While there are many uses for gooseberries, such as in pies, crumbles, and tarts, we like to turn them into a chutney, particularly when cut with a contrasting flavour, such as rich red onion or an earthy garlic.