Posted by David Domoney, on October 1, 2021.
As we step into autumn it may seem that our gardens are slowing down for the year, however there are plenty of jobs to keep us busy in the garden this month. In fact, autumn is nature’s time for planting, giving plants time to settle in and prepare for the growing season ahead.
Autumn is the ideal time to plant fruit bushes because they are in the dormant stage that lasts from November to March. The timing is also best because the ground isn’t frozen, so the conditions are right for planting so the fruit bushes can settle in before growing season begins.
Raspberries are a great choice to grow, preferring a sunny spot, although they can tolerate partial shade. To keep them from shading each other, plant them in rows that run from North to South, with ample support in place because they grow tall. To grow their best, they need moisture-retentive fertile soil that’s slightly acidic.
Therefore, if your garden soil doesn’t have the ideal soil type, try growing raspberries in raised beds or containers with peat-free ericaceous compost. Whether you’re short on ground space to plant in, or don’t have the right soil type, growing in raised beds is perfect for planting with the perfect growing conditions for the plants to thrive. The ERGO Quadro raised bed is customisable to create the right height for you and the plants. ‘Tulameen’ is a fantastic variety that grows well in large containers, providing large fruits with sweet flavour in summer.
Berries and cherries
It’s also a great time to plant redcurrants, blackcurrants, blackberries, gooseberries and blueberries and cherries – as I said, there’s plenty to be getting on with this month! Fortunately, all of these can be grown in raised beds too.
Choose a sheltered spot away from strong winds to plant redcurrants. Picking a space with full sun is best, although they can tolerate a shaded wall, but this will result in sweeter fruits when harvested. Plant these bushes in autumn spaced with 1.5m between the bushes and watered in well if there isn’t rainfall due. In spring, feed the plants with a balanced granular fertiliser and mulch. Then, come summer, you’ll have juicy and firm fruits to harvest to pack a punch and deliver nutrition as they’re rich in vitamins B and C.
Similarly, blackcurrants are another low-maintenance fruit to plant in autumn. Preferring a sunny spot with well-drained soil, they grow well in raised beds. Once planted, prune back the shoots to 2.5cm to encourage the growth of new ones. When harvested in summer they’re a great source of vitamin C, fibre, and antioxidants.
Cherries are often sold grafted onto a rootstock that helps to control the size of the plant. For example, semi-vigorous ‘Colt’ is commonly used which restricts the tree’s size to 6-8m wide and tall, so they are suited to smaller and medium sized gardens or trained against a wall. Cherries like a deep, fertile, well-drained soil with plenty of mulch with well-rotted organic matter and feed with a balanced fertiliser in late winter. It’s ideal to give cherry trees some winter protection from frost damage using horticultural fleece.
Borders and boards
Whilst you’re tackling all these jobs in your allotment or garden, it can be hard to get access to certain areas. Before planting up your fruit and veg, pre-plan where everything will be planted so you can think ahead to how you will access the space for maintenance and harvesting.
Ensuring the space is practical and accessible is important. Form a walkway with MAXI Garden Boards which allows you to make a temporary surface for ease of access. With a simple system that clicks together, they are flexible enough to fill the size or space that’s needed. The non-slip surface makes them perfect for autumn and winter gardening when the ground is a damp. It’s also ideal for wheelbarrows, making transporting plants and equipment around the space so much easier.
Plant fruit this time of year to set the plants in good stead to settle in and grow during spring and summer. Growing in containers and raised beds gives chance to make the conditions perfect for the plants being grown, as well as being an accessible option.