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Selwyn Times: August 01, 2017

32 Tuesday

32 Tuesday August 1 2017 Latest Christchurch news at www.star.kiwi SELWYN TIMES Gardening Ripe raspberries reign supreme • By Rachel Vogan ONCE THE berry season starts in summer, I check my crops for ripening berries with a hawklike intensity. Many berries never make it out of the garden; I find I become quite selfish and would rather sit scoffing handfuls of the newly-ripened gems in the garden than take them inside to share. While I love strawberries, loganberries, and boysenberries, to me raspberries will always reign supreme. Many people who visit and wander my garden have no idea that I grow raspberries, in most part because they are grown under a tight tent of netting. This contraption which, admittedly, looks rather like a prison, is an ugly but highly effective deterrent to both birds and my pet dog, Stella, preventing them from harvesting my berry bounty before I can. The best advice I can give anyone who wants to enjoy a heavy harvest of raspberries is to invest in some sort of cropcover to ensure you, rather than the local wildlife, get first pick at your crop. INVENTIVE: Wine barrels are brilliant for growing raspberries. Chicken wire netting keeps the birds and dogs at bay TYPES OF RASPBERRIES Raspberries are classified as either summer – or autumnfruiting types. Both grow in exactly the same way, but fruit at separate times on different stem growth, meaning that with clever planting, you can be harvesting raspberries for around four months of the year. The summer types produce fruit on stems that have been dormant throughout winter, on what we call last season’s growth. Because of this, it’s important to know what sort of raspberries you are planting, as it can be easy to prune off the flowering or fruiting wood if you don’t know when your plants fruit. The autumn-fruiting varieties produce their fruit on stems that appear in the current season’s stems or wood, meaning the new stems that shoot up in spring will mature into branches that will support the autumn fruit. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW When to plant Winter/spring. Where to plant Full sun. Plant spacing 1m in garden beds, in closer if planted in tubs. Time to maturity Will fruit within the first season. Where to buy Garden centres and hardware stores, specialist edible nursery outlets. SUMMER VARIETIES Aspiring: Large, conical, firm fruit and dark red in colour. Excellent flavour. Clutha: Medium-sized, tasty fruit. Ivory: A newer hybrid with sweet, pale golden-yellow fruit. Summer Surprise: Bright red berries, upright plant habit, reliable cropper. Tulameen: High-yielding, mid-summer variety, long picking season. Canes are virtually thornless, so picking is very easy. Waiau: This variety may fruit in both summer and autumn; large sweet berries appear on old season woods and also on the new growth. AUTUMN VARIETIES Autumn Bliss: A heavy producer of large, red berries. Ripens earlier than Heritage and will ripen into late autumn. Heritage: One of the best with firm, tasty fruit, dark red berries. WHEN & WHERE Where Raspberries need full, all day sun, but will cope with just afternoon sun at a pinch. They are happy in large tubs and containers, and wine barrels are a good size for two to three plants. Soil They are not overly fussy in the root department, so most average loamy soils are fine, although avoid sandy or heavy clay soils as raspberries do not thrive in dry or waterlogged areas. When Winter and spring are great times to plant. Love Strawberries Start planning now! Strawberries are a kiwi favourite and now is the time to get them into the garden. Garden beds, raised planters, pots, hanging baskets and other containers are all great places for these wee gems to grow. If you don’t have an area at home to grow them in the ground, head down to your local garden supplies shop and grab a pot or hanging basket. Make sure you get top quality mix to plant into – it will make a big difference to the amount and quality of the fruit you get from your plant. You don’t need a mix that specifically says “Strawberry Mix” on it, our Patio Plus will give you excellent results, as will our Tomato Mix, because these two fruits have very similar nutritional requirements. You can also use the strawberry fertiliser (and vice versa) if you have one and not the other. If you are planting into the ground, mix through some Organic Compost with the soil that is there, if you are doing a raised bed, you can use either Vege Garden Mix, or Premium Potting Mix. When it comes to planting Make sure you give the plants space to thrive. Dig a hole about 10cm deep to ensure the roots become well established and they can spread out to get the essential nutrients and water. Pat the soil firmly around the plant once you have placed it in the hole, water them in and put a layer of peastraw or mulch on top (Super Scree is great for this). Pest control As the plant begins to fruit, you will want to put some form of protection over the plants to stop the birds getting the berries. Use a mesh or wire cover so they still get air, water and sunlight. Handy tip: don’t forget to feed them through the growing season! Got a question that you want answered? Send us an email to info@igro.co.nz or post it on our Facebook page! LET’S GET GardEninG INTELLIGRO OFFERS: 3 Expert gardening advice 3 High quality products 3 South-Hort growing mixes 3 VIP rewards 3 Buy in-store and online 3 Handy delivery service For more information, check out our website: www.igro.co.nz or visit our facebook page: www.facebook.com/igro.co.nz 1394 Main South Road, RD7 Weedons www.igro.co.nz | Phone 03 347 9415

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