I am sure we can all agree that the cost of buying berries in the shops is insanity and often unaffordable. This is such a pity because berries are such a wonderful superfood that we should be eating them like crazy. So our post today is focused around 3 berry plants which you can grow and reap the rewards from because homegrown berries are always sweeter and better than store bought.

The post explains how to grow these plants so that you will experience a bountiful harvest.

Blueberries: This berry plant requires a very acidic and rich soil (like soil with high organic matter). Therefore we would recommend planting them in pots with a potting soil and acid soil mix, which you can purchase at retailers (you need a PH of 4-5). Please note that blueberries tend to enjoy a colder climate in winter (when they are dormant) so I would only recommend them for the more inland gardens and not directly on the coast. If they are too warm they will not develop fruit properly. The good news though is that newer varieties are being bred to not need the colder climate so much. They have quite a shallow root system so we wouldn’t recommend letting the roots dry out, and we would also recommend mulching the surface of the ground. Use acidic mulch if possible for example pine needles if you have or pine bark. The fruit is produced on the side shoots of year old canes. Blueberries do not need to be pruned for the first three years.

Cape Gooseberries: This is our favorite berry plant to grow because it is pretty much full proof and will shock you with the masses of fruits that it will produce. It is happiest in full sun but can grow in semi-shade as well. Please note though that it must get a good couple of hours a day of sunlight otherwise the fruit will not ripen and that would be a great pity. This plant can grow in very impoverished soils and prefers well-drained soil. They do not do well in muddy wet soils so keep this in mind. Do not provide them with too much Nitrogen as this will lead to the plant focusing on leafy growth rather than producing fruits. Cape gooseberry plants are quite water-wise and can survive periods of drought. In colder parts it may die back, so cut it back after winter and it should spring into growth when the weather warms up. This is a very untidy plant and rambles so supporting it with something can help. Planting it next to shrubs which it can ramble into will help. The Cape gooseberry needs space so do not plant too closely.

Raspberries: Raspberries tend to like to grow in cooler areas, so again plant it if you are slightly more inland and definitely not in coastal gardens. Please note though very importantly that they do not like cold wet feet so if you are in the western cape and you know you soil in winter is very wet and cold make sure that you provide adequate drainage if planting in your garden or rather maybe plant them in large deep troughs or pots for example. Raspberries require an acidic soil like the blueberries, but not quite as acidic (need a PH of 5,6-6,2). The soil needs to again like the blueberries have high organic matter content. This is a plant which grows with canes and these canes need to be supported correctly with either trellis or a cone-shaped frames etc, and canes will need to be tied onto these. The canes die back after fruiting usually and then need to be cut back. Some varieties of raspberries will only fruit in their second year. They prefer growing in full sun but can take maybe half day very good sunlight. Fairly regular watering is required.

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