Small red berries of summer: growing and maintenance tips

Small red berries of summer: growing and maintenance tips

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Red fruits are the symbol of summer, of the easy garden and of simple taste pleasures. Get to know these vitamin nuggets both popular and so chic! The red fruit harvest is spread between May and November with a peak in yield in July and August, and they offer a whole range of colors, shapes, sizes and flavors. The family of red fruits is large and exciting! In our latitudes, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, currants and other small fruit plants are common in our countryside, often known in the wild. But the new shrubs more and more sought after and cultivated today are berries mainly coming from Asia or the Americas.

Classic red fruits: delicious strawberries and raspberries!

Raspberries and strawberries are the essentials of red fruits. Strawberries and raspberries are among the first plants to be planted in the garden. Easy to grow and pick even with children, these red fruits require very little maintenance. Raspberries are perennial brambles that adapt to many soils and give pink or yellow fruits. And the so-called "rising" varieties of strawberries also offer an excellent simplicity-yield ratio, since their harvest is continuous throughout the summer.

If you have a little more space, add a few feet of blueberries, currants or black currants. Blueberries "Brigitta blue" for example, have a compact habit and produce abundant large fragrant fruits. The "Patriot" blueberry has beautiful fall foliage with very large fruits. Standing out a bit, the hybrid blackberries without thorns are giant. Gooseberries can be "clustered" (varieties of red or white fruit, crunchy) or "mackerel" (tangy and juicy taste). As for black currant, its leaves are sometimes fragrant and its black fruits are sparkling! All these shrubs appreciate a fertile and fresh soil, and always a sunny exposure.

Red fruits: original and fashionable

If you want a little more exotic flavors, there are several berries and fruits from Asia or America, which enjoy the French climate. The goji berry, this perennial from the tomato family originating in China, is enjoying great success, for example, among stars as well as in organic and health food stores. Like all Solanaceae, it likes rich soils, so it can be cultivated in our gardens. The fruit is harvested at the end of summer. It is to be dried in the sun to increase its energy benefits tenfold. The black aronia also deserves to be discovered: it requires little maintenance and produces astringent and acid berries. Kamchatka honeysuckle gives the 'berry of May' with the true blueberry taste. The Japanese goumi has a taste close to that of the morello cherry, with fruits in the shape of red olive and an acid flesh. There are also hybrids, such as muroise (or "Tayberry"), a mixture of blackberry and raspberry, giant and dark red. Finally, the box mixes blackcurrant and currant. And there are still many other varieties… Discover them for example in the book "Berries and berries" by Linda Louis, published by La Plage.

Red fruits, real little energy bombs

These "superfruits" are known for their antioxidant, hydrating, energizing and even medicinal properties. To immediately feel their effect, taste a juice of chokeberry or sea buckthorn: certainly acidic, these drinks give an immediate boost! However, they are not miracle foods, they must above all enter into a culinary logic of complementarity. Taste these fruits preferably raw to get the most out of vitamins (beware, however, of the astringent properties of some), or use a juice extractor, and vary them because they contain different mineral salts (potassium, selenium, etc.).

Growing red fruits in your garden

The best way to ensure their freshness and their biological advantage is to grow them in your own garden, and what a pleasure for the eyes and the palate on a daily basis! Before choosing a few feet to plant, do a study of your soil to adapt your plants. The care and harvesting of small red fruits however requires a certain logistics if you choose a lot: prune, water, harvest, sort, clean, transform ... At the height of the harvest, a few feet of raspberries can produce 2 kg of fruit every 2 days! So go gradually and above all, do not consider any treatment or pesticide. Finally, have fun, why not, playing "batologist", this discipline which consists of studying brambles and identifying all its rubies!

Red berries: exhibition and planting

These hardy plants require sunny or even partial shade exposure. After knowing the origin of each, adapt the conditions and their soil. For example, strawberries, which come from the woods, require rich, well-drained soil. The Japanese goumi and the strawberry tree enjoy the limestone soils. And the blueberry is an exception in red fruits: it grows in acid soil, or in a peat bin, in a sunny place. The gooseberry tree will never please itself on limestone soil. All these plants therefore do not require the same pH, each berry has its specificities. Nutritional needs also vary: the bramble-raspberry does not need much intake, while strawberries, black currants and currants require a suitable fertilizer - or little nitrogen. Finally, after fruiting, prune your plants in the fall, and mulch the feet with wood chips so as not to have to weed, and to space out watering.

Growing red fruits above ground is possible!

On a terrace or balcony, of course, some plants are easily cultivated in pots or planters. Choose a southwest exposure preferably, and a soil always adapted - often an acid medium with heather earth at pH 6. Instead of the raspberry tree which behaves optimally in hedge and in the ground, prefer first plants that do not need a great depth of soil like strawberries, whose roots remain on the surface. It is however possible to have black currants, currants in pots, provided that you provide a deep container and a large volume of soil. Ditto for the goji berries, which need a rich soil and resist the cold in the ground; however in winter, it is essential to protect their pot well: bubble wrap and mulching essential!

Showcase the berries in original containers

These colorful berries are naturally decorative, so you can stage them in the garden as on a balcony. Let's always start with the easier ones, strawberries: the climbing and climbing varieties have a superb effect on pergolas; you can also install them in a barrel or in a strawberry jar. The goji berry needs tutors. Poke flexible bamboos in a large pot and tie a knot at the top, the goji berry branches like kiwi and will climb on it. Give free rein to your imagination, and if you create your own containers, be sure to pierce them and put clay balls at the bottom to ensure good drainage. Then plan a drip irrigation system. Finally, avoid zinc which heats the soil and the plant too much.

Plant, harvest, taste your red fruits!

Strawberries can be ripe as early as May, in a greenhouse; the blackberries are ready at the end of August, the goji berry in September, the rose hip until November. Early or late plants, play on these differences and spread out the crops, to cook them one after the other. In all childhood memories, red fruits are natural, just picked, or sprinkled with sugar, otherwise incorporate them into a sweet or even salty salad, on a slice of cheese or in a cake. According to your tastes, also make liqueur, syrup, herbal tea, smoothies, coulis, ice, jelly, jam, fruit leather ... Simple recipes such as pies, puddings, French toast are quick to make (welcome simplicity after having already spent time in the garden for harvesting, cleaning and sorting). Of course, these berries and berries also go perfectly with other fruits, like in a strawberry-rhubarb crumble. You can also transform them in a juice extractor and freeze them for the winter, or dry them to eat them with cereals. Ready to go for some shopping? Prefer nurseries or specialized garden centers selling organic shrubs, such as the Ferme de Sainte-Marthe, the Avettes nursery, the Ribanjou or Botanic® nursery. Thanks : Emmanuel Till Guenin, plant marketing researcher at Botanic®; Linda Louis, author of "Berries and berries", La Plage editions; Valérie Brault from Algoflash; Michel Déramé, member of the Floralies Internationales - Nantes committee (May 8 to 18, 2014).

Planting strawberries in your garden Our practical gardening videos


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