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Soft Fruits

Nowadays most soft fruits, with the exception of cane plants such as raspberries, are usually sold in containers. They can be planted at almost any time, but late autumn is ideal when there is a good choice of plants in garden centers. Bare-root plants must be planted while dormant.

Excavate the soil for an area at least twice the size of the root-ball or container so that you can improve the soil over an area that the roots are likely to explore later.

Although it is not essential, your fruit will do much better if you can add plenty of humus-making material to the soil. Dig in as much rotten manure or garden compost as you can spare.

Soak the roots of bare-root plants in water for an hour before planting, and water container-grown plants for at least half an hour before planting. Place a plant in the hole and use a cane to make sure that it will be at its original depth.

Firm the plant in well, pressing with the heel of the foot to remove any large pockets of air around the roots. After firming the soil, hoe and rake the ground to remove footprints, then water thoroughly. Although it seems drastic, most bushes grown on stems that sprout from the base, such as black currants and raspberries, are best cut back to about 9-12 inches after planting. This will stimulate new shoots to grow from the base.


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