LIFESTYLE

Gardening with James Vaughan: Reaping the rewards of the fruit garden

James Vaughan

Reporter:

James Vaughan

Email:

james.vaughan1020@gmail.com

Gardening with James Vaughan: Reaping the rewards of the fruit garden

With the bank-holiday last weekend we certainly made the most of the good weather in our household. We undertook some long standing garden tasks which we had put on the long finger. I straightened up some of the hornbeam hedging which form the walls of our maze. Since this season’s growth has come on I can see that the plants are on their way to providing a complete screen.

We also moved some excess stone to line some footpaths. The stone will be used to line both left and right flanks of the footpaths. This will then be in-filled with mulch to prevent weeds from coming up. In this way, a footpath all around the garden will be laid out and the mulch will ensure weeds don’t regrow.

Our fruit garden

We have been reaping the rewards of our efforts in our fruit garden as of late. Thankfully, we have been picking lots of redcurrants and strawberries over the last few days. We have very few slugs and snails in our garden so most of the strawberries are undamaged. This is because we continually fed the wild birds during the winter. They stuck around and eat all the slugs and snails they can find. The redcurrants are on plants that we planted three or four years ago. It is only this year that they are really beginning to perform and provide fruit.

Strawberries are easy to grow and a fun crop to grow with children because, if planted at the right time, they give fruit soon after planting. Plant strawberry runners or young plants in spring or autumn, and you’ll be rewarded with masses of delicious strawberries the next year from late spring. If you do not have a large garden you can still grow strawberries. Strawberries are also suited to growing in pots and hanging baskets.

Use deep pots at least 15cm wide and plant one strawberry per pot. They thrive in moist but well-drained conditions, so use a soil-based compost with a deep layer of gravel or broken crocks in the base. A benefit of growing strawberries in pots is that it is more difficult for slugs and snails to get at the fruit.

If you have a bit more space then you can plant strawberry plants onto a grow bag. A growing bag will support six to eight strawberry plants, especially if you lay one bag over another, with holes cut around the bag, to allow roots to penetrate to the full depth. If growing strawberries in containers it is especially important to remember to water regularly. In fact, with the weather we had last week, it is very important to water plants in containers regularly.

Our Veg garden

The potatoes and onions that we planted earlier in the year are really coming along. The potatoes were bitten back by the late frosts we had a couple of weeks ago but have bounced back. Onions are probably one of the easiest veg to grow. We nearly always plant onions from onion sets. This ensures easy growth and a store of onions to see us through the winter- hopefully!

Contact James by email: james.vaughan1020@gmail.com