Friday, September 30

Fruity business

In an earlier post I wrote that I had pruned the raspberries and wineberry.

This week my attention was focused on some other fruits.

We have two beds more or less devoted to jostaberries and gooseberries (although they share a bed with some other fruits as well). These beds are two of the few which do not have a deployment of weed control fabric. This is mainly because we became wcf converts after the beds were planted and the bushes matured. To add fabric at this stage would have been difficult and messy. Much blood would have been shed too.

As it is I mainly keep weeds under control by hoeing and hand weeding taking care not to remove young self sown foxgloves and other desirable 'weeds'.
Beds tidied it was time to turn the secateurs on the gooseberries and jostaberries.

The pruning method that I use is basically the same for both plants although the jostaberry is larger and more vigorous and the gooseberry is extremely prickly.

The aim is to open up the centre of each bush by removing any stems growing in the centre of the plant or any 'branches' pointing inwards. Any weak or crossing stems are removed and remaining stems are thinned out to open up the plant and allow good air circulation. 
I also cut back any stems that are becoming too long and in danger of blocking pathways and in the case of the gooseberry inflicting unnecessary pain. The jostaberries are also cut back to prevent them becoming too tall. They are already as tall as me.
A jostaberry before
A jostaberry after
It is quite difficult to show the difference before and after pruning in photos, as the plants merge into others in the background, but believe me lots was removed. There are still some gooseberry plants scattered in other parts of the plot that still need attention but I didn't have time to deal with those too.
It was also time to plant out the rooted strawberry runners. The area given to the failed Vibrant strawberries were replanted with Malwina and any gaps left by other failed individuals were replanted in most cases by new plants of the same variety.
One of the uprooted Cambridge Favourite plants - discarded because it didn't fruit well last year - actually came apart to produce about a dozen separate plants. We also had more rooted runners than we needed. Of course you wouldn't expect me to throw these away would you? The gooseberries and jostaberry bushes now have some new bedmates,
I've also cut back any long, new growth coming out from to apple hedge. I'm never sure that I prune this correctly as my method is based on instinct. Correct or not it seems to work.

As well as the apple hedge we have five small trees. The tops of these 'dwarf' apple trees and any branches touching the ground were cut back although some additional shaping needs to be done later.

There are still more fruits to prune including a whitecurrant that I need to read up on and of course the tayberry is still waiting to get its thorns inro me!


  1. Pruning can make such a huge difference. I have to get to my berry bushes as well, but their tidy up will barely fill a small bucket as they are still tiny. The big job will be weeding as we've let the patch go for most of the summer.

    You have some healthy looking strawberry plants there! I won't unfortunately, be planting up any strawberries until next year so it looks as if we will have a strawberry-less year. Hopefully though, the new varieties we get will give us a bumper crop in the years that follow.

    1. There are strawberries on the plants now. Margaret but I doubt they will ripen.

  2. Thanks for explaining the pruning of the gooseberry bush...I usually just hack away at mine a but when it starts to bite but I will take this approach and see how I get on. I have lots of fruit pruning to do but I think it is going to take a back seat to the weeding for just a little while...another two weeks wont hurt (she says hopefully!)

    1. This is just my way, Tanya but it works for me. Th open shape also means picking berries is less scratchy. You have plenty of time to prune and can prune in winter

  3. Your fruity patches look so productive!

  4. I do envy your structure and tidiness Sue.
    I don't grow berries of any kind at the moment. We once tried raspberries but that fizzled out. we have plenty of wild tayberries out and about though.
    I've never heard of Wineberries, are they more of a Raspberry type berry or a Blueberry type berry?
    It's your Strawberry patch that really impresses me though. No matter what I do my Strawberries are pathetic and yield next to nothing - unless hubby is getting to them before me!

    1. I wrote all about Japanese wineberries on this post Linda if you are interested. The taste is a bit like a raspberry but its growth habit is more like a blackberry. We still have lots of tidying uo to do and I think your task is harder than ours. By the way it is good to 'hear' from you.

  5. I bet you're glad you have that job done! How lovely to have an apple hedge!xxx

    1. The apple hedge was one reason for taking this plot, Dina and the bed of redcurrants.

  6. You are enjoying the fruits of your labours Sue! Fantastic harvest and variety. Do Alpine strawberries taste like other strawberries? I can't help you to identify your mystery tomatoes however, I have grown spherical yellow ones but not elongated ones like yours.

    1. Alpine strawberries have a flavour very similar to the larger ones, Jane. The fruits aren't as firm.


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