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Garden great for raspberries but would like to add more berry fruit. Advice would be great

Good evening to you, hoping for a little help from more experienced folks please about what berry fruits will happily co-exist with raspberry canes in a small freestanding, sunny 'L shaped' wooden trellis.

Our garden grows raspberries like mad & have never been managed, tons of them every year. We have a grape vine next to them that is growing really well but totally untrained and on ground to date. And a Fig tree in the same area also doing very well although we have never used any fruit off it.

We aim to build a wooden structure (with trellis panels in about 3mtrs by 3 mtrs) to train the vine & raspberries against in an 'L shape arrangement .... it will be free standing in garden center with good sun all round. The sides of the garden are well protected against wind. There are large fences topped with a wooden growing structure that has clematis, wysteria and rambling roses growing over and along and quite dense.

We would like to add more berry fruits in the same lines ... i.e against the new wood L shaped frame/trellis structure where the raspberries and vine lives but have little clue what could be added to would play well with the existing plants, grow against the new wooden support structure, can grow in close proximity (we don't have huge amount of space) and are easy to grow.

We thought blackberries, black currents, blue berries etc but have little clue if that is a workable and happy combination together. 

Would very much appreciate some guidance if we are being too ambitious or could this work? And if it would work, any recommendation for strong, easy to mange varieties would also be very helpful.

Appreciate anyone's input in advance. Many thanks


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  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,571
    I don't know anything about grapes I'm afraid

    Blackcurrants and blueberries are both shrubby rather than climbers, generally. Blueberries need acidic soil - do you know if you have that? If not you could get one of the smaller ones and grow it in a pot in the same area.

    Blackberries - cultivated ones - are pretty easy to grow (brambles are hard to not grow, in my experience - they turn up everywhere. Luckily I like blackberries). The cultivated ones are better behaved. Their habit is different to raspberries - they grow very long shoots so need quite a lot of 'head room' but aren't too greedy at their feet. Loganberries and tayberries and boysenberries are all crosses of blackberries, raspberries and loganberries and grow similarly to blackberries, so I would suggest you pick one of those to grow as your trellis probably won't accommodate more. 

    You could grow smaller fruity bushes on the ground in between your bigger plants - lingonberries or cranberries maybe depending on what your soil is like (both are acid lovers). You could put up some hanging baskets or wall planters on your trellis supports and grow strawberries in them.

    None of them are especially greedy but they'll all do better if you're growing them close together if you mulch them in autumn with something like bark-chips to keep the moisture in and the competition from weeds down and a couple of feeds when they are flowering (something like comfrey or a seaweed compound) will also help improve your crops.
    They all need a bit of care - annually cutting back the old shoots typically - and strawberries in pots will need regular watering in the fruiting season but none is especially tricky IME  :)

    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • AtacamaAtacama Posts: 62
    I don't know anything about grapes I'm afraid

    Blackcurrants and blueberries are both shrubby rather than climbers, generally. Blueberries need acidic soil - do you know if you have that? If not you could get one of the smaller ones and grow it in a pot in the same area.

    Blackberries - cultivated ones - are pretty easy to grow (brambles are hard to not grow, in my experience - they turn up everywhere. Luckily I like blackberries). The cultivated ones are better behaved. Their habit is different to raspberries - they grow very long shoots so need quite a lot of 'head room' but aren't too greedy at their feet. Loganberries and tayberries and boysenberries are all crosses of blackberries, raspberries and loganberries and grow similarly to blackberries, so I would suggest you pick one of those to grow as your trellis probably won't accommodate more. 

    You could grow smaller fruity bushes on the ground in between your bigger plants - lingonberries or cranberries maybe depending on what your soil is like (both are acid lovers). You could put up some hanging baskets or wall planters on your trellis supports and grow strawberries in them.

    None of them are especially greedy but they'll all do better if you're growing them close together if you mulch them in autumn with something like bark-chips to keep the moisture in and the competition from weeds down and a couple of feeds when they are flowering (something like comfrey or a seaweed compound) will also help improve your crops.
    They all need a bit of care - annually cutting back the old shoots typically - and strawberries in pots will need regular watering in the fruiting season but none is especially tricky IME  :)

    Hi Rasingirl and many thanks for taking the time to help.

    No the grapes are (I think) fairly cosmetic at best right now. The vine grows and the grapes do appear but they look a bit poor and we've never tried actually eating them yet.

    No I have little clue about the acidity but it is something I should try to find out about. I don't know how to do that but I imagine there must be a kit or suchlike?

    Blackberries would be a great option, especially if they grow skyward as we do have that option for sure....more than on the ground so sounds ideal.

    And the other options which I had not even considered also sound very much the sort of thing we could fit in ...  super advice and expands the scope we considered in a great way.

    Strawberries always appear a bit hit and miss to me when I see folks efforts to grow them but I have to say we do have the option to mount them higher and indeed I've fitted a garden round irrigation system at the high level which we could modify to accommodate that option.... nothing to loose at all there, why not.

    Brilliant advice, many thanks for that.....I feel an order coming on for all of the above! :-) .... but I will try to get an understanding of the soil format first. Your post gives me more confidence than I had. It does seem in fact that most stuff does seem to grow rather well in our soil so time to try something a little different as you mention. Thanks again for the info
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,571
     :)  You can buy simple pH test kits in most garden centres. You can get fancy meters but one of the ordinary 'soil in a test tube and check the colour' thingies will be accurate enough. 
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,901
    I love my serviceberries (Amelanchier).. and new this year I've added two honeyberries (Lonicera caerulea).  Both are tough plants that do fine in most situations with little effort.  
    I also have currents (red, black, and white) that are tough little things.  Gooseberries are good too, with only a prune once a year to shape and keep them in check.
    Blueberries are a bit fussy, from my experience, unless you have acidic damp soil.  All the effort isn't worth the minimal mount of berry you get.  Better to go buy yourself a few punts of organic and save yourself the effort.  
    Utah, USA.
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,571
    I haven't tried honeyberries yet (they're on the list) - the ones I've seen aren't self fertile though, I think? So you'd need two and in limited space....? I have red and black currants and goosegogs - all good 'doers' but all shrubs so needing a bit of space (especially red currant which gets really big). I've also tried goji berry (waste of space).

    I am lucky to be able to grow blueberries in the ground. I have to net them to stop the blackbirds eating them all before they are ripe. But having got all that done, they are hugely productive and are one of the most expensive soft fruits to buy, so worth it for me. 
    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 8,558
    edited May 2018
    You can get an idea of your soil type here - just enter your postcode.

    Unless your soil is around pH 5.0-5.8 (which is really quite acid) blueberries are best grown in pots. I've got 3 bushes 2 of which are laden with berries in their 1st season.
    I bought them last year after a friend harvested 7kg from his 3 (big) bushes last year!

    You could grow fruit cordons against the fence if you like too.
    I planted 4 pear cordons along a 10ft run of fence last year.

    I also got a Waldo blackberry (thornless and only grow to 6ft) that I'm training on another fence.
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • AtacamaAtacama Posts: 62
    Pete8 said:
    You can get an idea of your soil type here - just enter your postcode.

    Unless your soil is around pH 5.0-5.8 (which is really quite acid) blueberries are best grown in pots. I've got 3 bushes 2 of which are laden with berries in their 1st season.
    I bought them last year after a friend harvested 7kg from his 3 (big) bushes last year!

    You could grow fruit cordons against the fence if you like too.
    I planted 4 pear cordons along a 10ft run of fence last year.

    I also got a Waldo blackberry (thornless and only grow to 6ft) that I'm training on another fence.
    That's a great link Pete ... I just tried it and it came back with the following for our area:

    Soilscape 8: 
    Slightly acid loamy and clayey soils with impeded drainage
    Texture: 
    Loamy some clayey
    Coverage:
    England: 10.6%    Wales: 1.9%
    England & Wales: 9.4%
    Selected area:
    103km2
    Drainage: 
    Slightly impeded drainage

    Fertility: 
    Moderate to high

    Habitats: 
    Wide range of pasture and woodland types
    Landcover: 
    Arable and grassland
    Carbon: 
    Low
    Drains to: 
    Stream network
    Water protection: 
    Farmed land is drained and therefore vulnerable to pollution run-off and rapid through-flow to streams; surface capping can trigger erosion of fine sediment
    General cropping: 
    Reasonably flexible but more suited to autumn sown crops and grassland; soil conditions may limit safe groundwork and grazing, particularly in spring

    The Blue berries in pots sound a good and indeed doable idea space wise and indeed was top of the wife's list of choices so is a good way to go. Any guidance on what size/shape of pot to use and what to load it with?

    Many thanks for the steer.
  • AtacamaAtacama Posts: 62
     :)  You can buy simple pH test kits in most garden centres. You can get fancy meters but one of the ordinary 'soil in a test tube and check the colour' thingies will be accurate enough. 
    Yes definitely worth a try, just for the experience of doing it but also to know more for this little project. Thanks again
  • AtacamaAtacama Posts: 62
    I love my serviceberries (Amelanchier).. and new this year I've added two honeyberries (Lonicera caerulea).  Both are tough plants that do fine in most situations with little effort.  
    I also have currents (red, black, and white) that are tough little things.  Gooseberries are good too, with only a prune once a year to shape and keep them in check.
    Blueberries are a bit fussy, from my experience, unless you have acidic damp soil.  All the effort isn't worth the minimal mount of berry you get.  Better to go buy yourself a few punts of organic and save yourself the effort.  
    Gosh, I'm beginning to realise how limited my repertoire is to date! :-) ... more things to try. Have to confess to having never even heard of these. And are they readily available to order? Do Gooseberries grow flat along a trellis? We had one many years back and seem to remember it being more of a round bush? But was a long time back and have no idea what variety. Many thanks for the input, is interesting stuff for sure. 
  • AtacamaAtacama Posts: 62
    Having got some great answers here, does anyone have any recommendations as to where to source really good quality plants of the types described? Quite keen to strike while the iron in hot and prepare for next year. Thanks
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