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Gardens: With just a little time, not much effort, you could soon enjoy the soft fruits of your labours

© Shutterstock / Kaspars GrinvaldsBlueberries are packed with delicious flavour
Blueberries are packed with delicious flavour

Soft fruits are among the easiest and most rewarding of all edibles to grow, and while most of them take up quite a lot of space, there are some that can be grown in pots and others can be trained against walls where they take up little room.

Blueberries are packed with flavour and high in antioxidants and as they ripen they turn a shade of dusty blue. Even though some varieties are sold as self-fertile, you will get better results if you grow several different kinds together.

They can be grown in large pots of ericaceous compost and should be fed monthly with food for acid-loving plants. A mulch of well-composted pine needles will also keep them in good heart.

Keep them well-watered and, after a couple of years’ growth, cut out a quarter of the old stems at the base every year to keep the plants productive.

Autumn raspberries are fruiting now and they will keep on giving a harvest until after the first frost. These couldn’t be easier to look after, just cut the old canes to the ground in February, tie in most of the new growth – removing a few of the new canes will help boost the crop – and feed with general fertiliser.

Blackberries are more vigorous and should be tied in regularly. Cut back the side shoots in winter to produce fruiting spurs and then tie in the new canes when the old ones have been taken out.

You don’t need to tie in gooseberries and currants, unless you are growing them against a wall, but every June you should cut the current season’s growth back to five leaves. You’ll still get a harvest as both gooseberries and currants fruit on the previous season’s stems.

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.