Gardening

Berries

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Question: berries

I would like to know which is the most suitable month for planting berries.


Answer: berries

Dear Cinzia,

in the berries category, also called small fruits, small fruit plants gather, of which we consume small berries or infructescences; these are very different plants. Some, like strawberries and raspberries, are lively plants, that is, in very cold or very dry periods, they lose the aerial part or go into vegetative rest; others, such as blueberries and currants, are small shrubs; still others, such as brambles, are prostrate or climbing weeds.

Generally they are cold-resistant plants, therefore they are planted in autumn, so that a good rooting is possible for the plants, before spring, with consequent vigorous vegetative season, and characterized by many flowers and many fruits.

Often in the nursery it is possible to find many healthy plants of different varieties only at the end of winter, therefore even the end of winter is a propitious period, even if it may happen that planting the plants when the season has already been mild for some weeks, bring in the first year a lower than expected harvest. This problem is found above all with strawberries, for the first spring harvest; with the re-flowering varieties the problem is quickly overcome with the blooms following the first.

The small fruit plants are very different from each other, not only as regards the vegetative habit, they are just plants, with very different needs.

Strawberries, blackberries and raspberries belong to the genus of rosaceae, and are among the most common fruit trees in Italy in cultivation; they also find a place in the common garden land, even if it is good to enrich the soil and work it thoroughly before placing the plants; they prefer sunny or semi-shaded positions. Above all, strawberries are much more prolific, and have a longer growing season, if placed in a semi-shaded flowerbed.

There are also hybrid varieties, produced from brambles and raspberries, or from different bramble varieties, the name often remains the English-speaking one, also used in Italian, the most common being tayberry and boisenberry; they generally have fruits of particular color, very large and vigorous plants. Strawberries produce their fruit from late spring, varieties with particularly large, or particularly tasty, fruits and even flourishing varieties are available, which continue to bloom for most of spring and sometimes even summer. Brambles ripen fruit in late summer, raspberries bear fruit in summer, some varieties in late June, others in August.

Blueberries belong to the heather plants, and like their closest relatives, they need a strongly acidic soil, under penalty of rapid yellowing of the foliage and little or no production.

In fact, blueberries are among the most difficult to grow berries, because they need acid soil, regular fertilization and abundant watering, since they fear drought. Many of us were lucky enough to taste blueberries in the Italian woods, which come from small prostrate plants; the varieties most cultivated in the garden or in the orchard are small shrubs much larger than wild blueberries, and if well cultivated they give us a decidedly more substantial harvest.

Ribes and uvaspina are shrubs, compact and rounded in the first case, climbing in the second case; they are grown in a semi-shady corner, with a good rich soil; regular watering guarantees an abundant harvest.

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