Best soft fruits to grow in Jersey
There is no doubt that fruits possess many health benefits, including the boost of the immune system. In today’s climate it becomes almost a necessity. If you are considering growing your own soft fruits, see our recommendations below. But first…
Why to grow your own soft fruit
- Unlike vegetables, most soft fruit plants are perennials, ensuring continuous crop for many years to come. This can help to save some money in the longer term.
- It is an organic, chemical free way of growing, resulting in healthier, tastier, and fresher food for yourself and your loved ones.
- You get to spend quality time outdoors, getting plenty of vitamin D.
- Harvesting your own fruit very often is a rewarding and satisfactory experience.
Where to grow your own soft fruits
Although growing fruit bushes is usually associated with gardens and allotments, in many cases, all you will need is a balcony or a courtyard, providing it gets a healthy amount of sun.
Most popular soft fruits to grow in Jersey include
Perhaps one of the most popular fruits worldwide, strawberries are loaded with fiber and antioxidants and are a fat free dietary choice. Rich in vitamin C, they help to boost the immune system, lower cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, and prevent wrinkles by improving the elasticity of the skin.
Strawberries can be grown in vegetable patches, in pots and hanging baskets and are extremely easy to grow. Planting several different varieties will ensure prolonged crop, allowing harvest from summer to autumn. They grow best in well drained, moist, and fertile soil in full sun. plant in the spring and provide mulch to prevent contact of the fruit with the ground followed by rot.
Very low-calorie snack, raspberries are packed with fiber, antioxidants, potassium, manganese and vitamins C and K. They also contain omega-3 fatty acids responsible for the prevention of heart disease and stroke. Other benefits of this popular fruit include prevention of diabetes and improvement of brain and memory function. Studies also show reduction of cancer cells.
Raspberries are relatively easy to grow and do well in the pots and the garden. You can prolong the harvest by combining summer and autumn varieties. You can plant the canes in the autumn or spring, providing the ground isn’t frozen. For best results, plant in full sun in moist but well drained and humus rich soil.
Amongst the commonly found fruits, blueberries contain the highest level of antioxidants, important for heart diseases and stroke prevention. They are also very low on calories and rich in fiber, potassium, manganese and vitamins C and K. Consuming blueberries regularly can help to maintain healthy skin and bones, lower blood pressure, manage diabetes, protect against heart diseases, and improve mental health. Large amount of fiber will keep you full for longer, making blueberries an ideal dietary choice for weight loss.
You can grow them in the garden or the pots. Plant in full sun or partial shade in acid soil or ericaceous compost and ensure proper drainage is provided.
Currants, whether red or black are almost fat free fruits containing high amounts of carbohydrates, calcium, iron, phosphorus, and vitamin C. They can help to improve blood flow, boost immune system, reduce inflammation, lower cholesterol levels, and improve the function of kidneys. Currants produce massive crops that can be easily made into jam or cordial.
Currants should be grown in full sun or partial shade in veg patch or the pots. They prefer well drained, moist and humus rich soil, but will grow in most soil conditions. Protect flowers from late frosts if applicable. Best time to plant young plants is autumn and early spring.
Packed with carbohydrates, fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins C and A, gooseberries remain low on calories and fat making them an ideal snack when trying to lose weight. Encouragement of wound healing, protection against heart diseases, boost of immune system, improvement of skin conditions and lowering the risk of diabetes are only a few health benefits of gooseberries to include.
They are easy to grow and can be planted in pots or in the ground, preferably in full sun and in sheltered spots. Gooseberries can be grown against the wall to save space and should be planted in moist but well drained fertile soil.
Blackberries are one of the healthiest foods available on the market. They are loaded with vitamins C and K, antioxidants, fiber, manganese, and copper. They have been known to improve insulin response, reduce inflammation, reduce cholesterol levels, boost immunity system, prevent heart diseases and improve skin conditions. Pies and jams made from blackberries are incredibly delicious.
Usually, blackberries are grown against the walls, however, smaller compact varieties are now widely available, suitable for growing in pots. They thrive in full sun when planted in well drained but moist soil of most textures. If you are not fond of blackberries, you can substitute them with their close relatives’ tayberries and loganberries.
Sweet dessert grapes are filled with antioxidants, copper, potassium vitamins C and A and many B vitamins. Black grapes are amongst the healthiest varieties. Research has shown many health benefits including revitalisation of skin, improvement of brain function, eye health, boost of energy levels, protection against heart diseases, increase in bone density and boost of the immune system.
Desert grapevines grow best in the greenhouses, while wine varieties will successfully crop outdoors. The vines are usually grown against walls and trellises but can be used to decorate pergolas and arches. Plant in full sun, sheltered area in moist but well drained humus rich soil.
Unlike other fruit varieties listed above, rhubarb is a vegetable mostly used as a fruit. It is packed with antioxidants, carbohydrates, and calcium. fiber and vitamins K and C, and the roots are often used in medicine. Consuming rhubarb, similarly, to other fruits, can help to lower cholesterol, protect against heart diseases, fight inflammations, improve skin quality, strengthen bones and to improve liver function. Rhubarb tastes very sour and is mostly used in cooking in the form of a desert.
Grow rhubarb in a sunny, sheltered spot and should be protected from frosts. Plant in well drained, humus rich soil and force for early crop using rhubarb forcing pot or any clay or terracotta turned upside down.
The health benefits of fruits listed above are based on scientific research, however, we recommend that you carry out your own independent research and check for possible allergies before selecting your desired fruit plants.