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Soft fruit bushes

Discussion in 'Edible Gardening' started by Emily Jones, Mar 22, 2021.

  1. Emily Jones

    Emily Jones Gardener

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    I'm looking for some inspiration, hoping to create a little border between the front of my allotment and the footpath that runs through, and I was thinking of planting a couple of fruit bushes to do this. The space width wise is large, so I could plant 2 bushes, but ideally I don't want anything that grows too high. I'll try and get some good photos of the area later to post. Has anyone had anything they've really enjoyed? Ideally I'd like something that I can get to be quite productive, that I will enjoy using :scratch::ideaIPB:
     
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    • Spruce

      Spruce Glad to be back .....

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      red currants or and blackcurrants
       
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      • Black Dog

        Black Dog Gardener of useful things

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        Yessss, this is a post for me!

        Sooo:

        1. Raspberry and Brambles
        Both grow like weeds if you let them. But I found brambles are easier to control because there are Thornless variants that makes then a lot tamer. They CAN grow really high (up to 3 meters) but can be pruned to your heart's content and will grow back without hesitation.
        Rating: B- for brambles, C- for raspberries

        2. Any form of currants (black, white, red or golden)
        They too are easy to maintain and don't really grow high (about 1,50m). You can get them as a small bush or on a stem. Only little care (pruning once a year) needed. They won't be see-through though.
        Rating: B+

        3. Aronia
        God, the birds and bees LOVE them. They attract literally hundreds of them. Downside: you won't get a lot for yourself. But they grow fast and are easy to prune while maintaining a bushy look. They don't get higher than about 1,40 m though.
        Rating: A-

        4. Blueberries
        If you have the right (low pH) soil, they will give you lots of yummy blueberries. You can plant them like a hedge if you like (use two or three different sorts though) and you won't regret it. They don't need to be pruned (maybe every 3 years) while maintaining a nice shape. Downside: they grow rather slow and birds like them too.
        Rating: B+

        5. Grape vines
        If you don't shy away from building them a nice climbing aid and pruning them a few times a year you will probably harvest more grapes than you can ever eat (I myself have a "Vanessa" and another one)
        Rating: B-

        6. Apple Trees
        Yes you heard me right. There are apple trees out there growing some 2 m high and keeping a REALLY slim profile. Plant them 50cm away from each other and you have a nice permanent Hedge of yummy apple trees that doesn't require a lot of work.
        Rating: B+

        7. Kiwi
        Basically the same as grape vines. But more exotic and less harvest
        Rating: C

        8. Passion fruit
        Now we are getting exotic. I recently acquired two plants of passiflora incarnata. The only one that is both frost resistant and makes edible fruit. But I can't say a lot yet. Would be a real eyecatcher but a little difficult to maintain.
        Rating: D

        I probably forgot a few plants but I think that will do for now. Have fun
         
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        • JR

          JR Chilled Gardener

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          Being an old git i like gooseberries. They make a nice crumble 50/50 with apples.
          Easy to keep pruned to shape.
          As the previous posts show, there is lots of choice for you.
           
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          • Black Dog

            Black Dog Gardener of useful things

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            Personally I don't like gooseberries. That's why it is one of the few things not growing in my garden.

            But there are interesting hybrids between gooseberries and currants. In Germany they are called Josta-Berry (JOhannesbeere = currant; STAchelbeere (literally thorny berry) = gooseberry).
             
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            • Emily Jones

              Emily Jones Gardener

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              @Black Dog Excuse my ignorance...aronia? I've never even heard of these and now I'm intrigued. What are they like?
              My interest has piqued with grape vines. Ignorance again but I've not considered them before because where I am isn't exactly sunny! But I'm definitely going to look into this. What kind of care do they need? Thanks for such a creative reply...I have raspberries, red currants and black currants already so these answers were refreshing :dbgrtmb:
               
            • Emily Jones

              Emily Jones Gardener

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              I've got a little goosberry bush and last year's harvest wasn't particularly great so another one might be a good shout! The family are fans of a gooseberry tart :rolleyespink:
               
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              • Black Dog

                Black Dog Gardener of useful things

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                @Emily Jones
                Forgive me but sometimes I use the Latin names because I don't know the trivial names of every plant in english.
                You may known them as (black) chokeberries.

                It is a really old type of berry bush mainly used in eastern Europe and Russia (and even Siberia). It is frost resistant to -30°C and beyond. Also there are no known diseases or parasites.

                images.jpeg
                It blooms rather nicely around May and the berries have to ripen on the bush until October or even November when they turn almost black to the core. My father claims he got 3-5 kg from a single bush. They have a nice strong fruity taste but also a bit of bitterness (imagine orange Marmelade or bitter lemon).

                I prefer to use them in tarts or when making jams and marmelade because the slight bitterness gives it a surprising touch, especially if you don't like to eat your food sweetened to the max.

                But since the birds seem to be attracted to them like crazy it can be hard to get some for yourself.

                Oh and the bush turns bright red during autumn (no filter in the picture below. They really look like that)

                79_10_Aronia-melanocarpa-Schwarze-Apfelbeere.jpg
                 
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                • Black Dog

                  Black Dog Gardener of useful things

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                  Oh and regarding the grape vines. You would be surprised where they grow. You just have to keep an eye on the dates of bloom and ripening so you pick the vine ideally suited for the climate it will be growing in. A late ripening grape may not yield anything in the colder autumn, whereas an early bloomer might be damaged by late frosts.
                  I got one of those (I hope links are allowed), but from another website:

                  Grape Vine 'Vanessa'

                  You can let them grow an a wall, which would be perfect because it stores the heat of the day and prolongs the growing phase by a few hours per day. But you can also give it a rose obelisk, circular trellis, or run a few stakes in the ground and connect them with wires.
                  I built this to house my raspberries. It consists of 9x9x180cm stakes on metal sleeves. On both sides there were hooks screwed into the wood which are then connected by wires give about 15cm room in between to stuff the vines in.

                  IMG-20201001-WA0021~2.jpeg

                  But it could also be used for a grape vine standing in the middle of a lawn or as a divider.
                   
                • JR

                  JR Chilled Gardener

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                  Must admit i like the description of 'Jostaberry' @Black Dog
                  I'll put it to the boss and we might get one of those to plant next to the gooseberries.
                   
                • Emily Jones

                  Emily Jones Gardener

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                  @Black Dog Really intirgued by the choke berries. I've got a friend who loves to turn whatever he can into jam, and these might be a real winner for that. Plus..those bright orange leaves are so attractive. The only problem is that I may have some cross plot neighbours for drawing in the birds :biggrin:

                  Your framework looks pretry impressive, and I've got to say I love the idea of having something similar as a divide between my plot and the footpath. I bet your raspberries love it there. I did some reading up on the grapevines last night and it's a definite possibility. I like a challenge! I've read that most seed varities are hardier and hey who knows...maybe I'll try my hand at wine making :rolleyespink::thumbsup:
                   
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