You don’t need a huge garden to grow fruit; you can grow berries in pots very easily. Many of what are called ‘soft fruit’; the gooseberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries can all be grown in large planters with great results.
What’s great about growing these plants is that you’ll get a small crop in the first year and after that your investment will grow and grow. You just need to take a look at the cost of fresh soft fruit in the shops to realise that growing your own is a no brainer. When a punnet of raspberries, just 200g in weight, costs £2-3 and you can harvest that every few days for several weeks from just a few canes or plants, you start to understand the maths.
And it’s the same with blueberries and the other soft fruit, some of which you rarely see for sale and yet all of these are delicious ingredients for summer puddings, jams and preserves and much more.
Inca berries originate from highland Peru, and yet the fruit frequents expensive restaurants and patisseries as a luxurious garnish. Each sticky fruit is cloaked in a papery fairytale lantern. The ripe fruit has a unique flavour, like a tropical cocktail in one mouthful with hints of pineapple, kiwi, gooseberry and citrus.
Each plant bears dozens of fruit that mature in sequence through the summer and up to Christmas. The plants withstand a mild winter and will die back and sprout into growth again in spring. Ideal for a sunny sheltered spot.
These little gems are very easy to grow from seed, but you can buy plants that will fruit this season from
We all love the juicy blueberry fruit, but buying them regularly can be exorbitant, especially British grown and organic. Take the pain out of the equation and grow your own. While the plants are vehemently acid-loving and need the correct soil to grow they are the perfect choice for container growing, you just grow them in Ericaceous Compost.
Not only do the bees simply adore the flowers but also the leaves turn a wonderful rich red in autumn and you get a crop from them too. It’s a plant for three seasons and really earns its place in the garden. There are lots of varieties to choose from. Blueberry ‘Little Blue Wonder’ is the new addition to the Lubera range of compact fruit for small gardens. The berries are small but full of flavour with a real wild berry taste. Available from online from
Lubera for £16.40.
If there’s one plant that most people (and children) want to grow it’s the strawberry and for very good reason too. It’s a delicious soft fruit, ideal for pots and planters and every berry is a flavour burst. You can buy a huge range of strawberry varieties from fruit specialists and garden centres. But look out for the white strawberry ‘Snow White’. This strain, available online as plants from
Suttons Seeds has delicious sweet, aromatic fruit in June, with hints of pineapple. Price £12.99 for 12 plants.
If you live in the countryside and can harvest blackberries from the hedgerows, that’s lovely. But if your growing space is restricted this blackberry can be grown in a hanging basket, producing a crop of a kilo or more of large, sweet berries from one plant.
Blackberry ‘Black Cascade’ produces compact, arching plants with thornless trailing stems. Each and every stem on the plant produces berries and will crop more than once a season. The sweet fruits can be eaten straight from the plant, but try and leave some for kitchen use! Height: 30cm. Spread: 45cm. Buy from
If I had to choose one fruit to grow in my garden it would be raspberries. They are delicious and incredibly easy to grow. In recent years, there have been some brilliant advances in new fruit varieties – few better than the new raspberry ‘Ruby Beauty’ from Frank P Matthews. It’s the world’s first compact, dwarf raspberry, growing to just 1m (39in) high. It’s perfect for growing in containers on the patio, wherever space is tight or anywhere else in the garden. Despite its size, it crops prolifically – each plant is capable of producing an abundance of fruit – up to 500 raspberries, that’s around 1.5kg (3lb5oz) of fruit.
The plants are thornless – making picking so much easier – and are self-supporting so need little or no support – making them much simpler to grow than standard varieties. Being compact, they are also more convenient to net, so there’s less chance of the birds getting to the fruit before you do! Plants cost around£16.50 from