Whether you’ve got a large allotment or vegetable garden, or space for just a few pots, you can grow a decent crop and some berries will even perform in slightly shady conditions.

Once you become acquainted with their pruning regimes you’ll discover that berries require very little effort for what they give in return, making them some of the most low-maintenance of all home grown produce.

So whether you like the sweetness of raspberries or the tart taste of gooseberries, clear a space in your garden and give these super fruits a go.

Scottish Gardener:

Packed with flavour and high in anti-oxidants, Blueberries are a delicious treat and they are also very easy to grow, thriving in our climate.

As they ripen the berries turn a shady of dusty blue but only a few ripen at any one time, so growing several bushes will help to provide a decent harvest and will also aid with pollination, especially if different varieties are grown together.

Blueberries need acidic soil, so when growing them in a container choose ericaceous compost and feed monthly with a compost for acid-loving plants. They will also benefit from being mulched with well-rotted pine needles.

The plants are hardy, but should be kept moist and not allowed to dry out and although they will tolerate a shady spot, you’ll have bigger, sweeter berries if you grow them somewhere sunny.

No pruning is needed in the first couple of years, but after that cut out one quarter of the old wood at the base in order to keep the plants productive.

Best for cold areas: ‘Sparta’ is a vigorous variety that withstands frost.

Scottish Gardener:

Autumn Raspberries
When summer raspberries have gone over, autumn raspberries are just getting going. These will continue producing juicy berries until after the first frost and if there is a glut they can be frozen or turned into jam.

Canes should be planted during the winter months and then tied to wires as they grow. The only pruning that autumn raspberries need is to be cut to the ground in February. If many canes then sprout, remove a few in order to ensure bigger berries.

Keep the plants moist, mulch to prevent weeds from growing around them and feed in spring with a general fertiliser.

Best for large fruit: ‘Polka’ will produce a good crop from mid-summer onwards.

Scottish Gardener:

There’s not a lot that separates blackberries from wild brambles and that shows itself in the vigour of these fruits. Newly planted canes should be tied in regularly and have their side shoots cuts back during the winter in order to produce fruiting spurs.

Next year’s canes should be tied to a cane until the previous year’s canes have fruited and been cut out. At this point the new canes should be tied in to wires and the whole process repeated.

One blackberry bush will produce a decent crop, which is just as well as the bushes are large and can take up lots of space.

Feed them annually, water during dry spells and mulch in spring, taking care that the mulch doesn’t touch the canes, as these may then rot.

Best for small gardens: ‘Loch Tay’ is a compact variety that produces fruit early in the season.

Scottish Gardener:

Gooseberries and Currants
Gooseberries and currants are easy to grow and you don’t even need to tie them in, unless you choose to train them against a wall, where they will take up less space than if allowed to grow as a bush.

They’ll grow happily in any soil, but for the best possible crop avoid giving them high nitrogen food, as this will result in sappy growth.

In their first year remove all but five stems and cut back those that remain to 20cm and then the following June cut the current season’s growth back to five leaves. This won’t damage the crop as gooseberries and currants fruit on old wood.

In winter remove dead shoots and cut back any side shoots to three buds from the base.

Best for a reliable crop: ‘Careless’ is a traditional gooseberry variety that produces large berries.

Scottish Gardener:

Hybrid berries
Most hybrid berries, including the Tayberry and the Loganberry, are a cross between blackberries and raspberries and the fruits that they produce are large and tasty. These are some of the easiest of all berries to grow as the canes can simply be cut down after fruiting, allowing the next season’s canes to take over the job of producing berries.

Grow them in good, fertile soil that doesn’t dry out and tie the canes to horizontal supports.

Jostaberries on the other hand are a cross between gooseberry and blackcurrant and they have the advantage of being spineless, which makes them easy to pick.

Like all berries it is best to net them before birds can get at the crop.

Best for jam: ‘Tayberry group’ berries are sharp and tasty.


Where to buy fruit bushes:

Cardwell Garden Centre, Lunderston Bay, by Gourock, Inverclyde PA19 1BB
Tel: 01475 521536
Email: info@cardwellgc.co.uk

New Hopetoun Garden, by Newton, West Lothian EH52 6QZ
Tel: 01506 834433
Email: info@newhopetoungardens.co.uk

Smeaton Nursery Gardens, Preston Road, East Lothian EH40 3DT
Tel: 01620 860501
Email: mail@smeatonnurserygardens.co.uk

The Mill Garden Centre, Mill Road, Barbauchlaw Mill, Armadale, West Lothian EH48 3AP
Tel: 01501 732347
Email: info@millgardencentre.co.uk