Baskets of berries

Alpine strawberries may not be large and showy like the berries you find in the supermarket, however they are sweet and have a wonderful rich strawberry aroma. Yates Alpine Strawberry (Fragaria monatserbeeren) is a low growing, compact, runnerless variety that produces tasty and fragrant small strawberries.

They can be eaten straight from the garden, added to salads (both sweet and savoury), lightly crushed and dusted with sugar or made into jams and syrups.

Growing alpine strawberries from seed is an easy and economical way to grow lots of plants.

Here’s how to start your very own patch of alpine strawberries:

Step 1: Sow seed 3 mm deep into trays of Yates® Seed Raising Mix.

Step 2: Seedlings will take around 2 weeks to emerge and they can be planted out into the garden or into pots when they’re large enough to handle. Yates Alpine Strawberry can be grown in either a full sun or a partly shaded spot and make a lovely (and edible!) ground cover in light shade.

Step 3: To encourage healthy green plants and lots of flowers and delicious strawberries, feed plants each week with Yates Thrive Strawberry & Berry Fruit Liquid Plant Food. It’s a complete fertiliser that’s boosted with extra fruit-encouraging potassium to help promote a great harvest. Dilute 1 – 2 capfuls into a 9 L watering can and apply over the plants and surrounding soil. The nutrients can be absorbed by both the leaves and the roots.

Step 4: Beware of pests! Snails and slugs love chewing into strawberries. Keep strawberries well mulched with lucerne, pea or sugar cane straw, which helps keep the berries up off the soil and lightly sprinkle Yates Blitzem® Snail & Slug Pellets around the strawberry patch to help attract and kill damaging snails and slugs.

Berries

If devouring handfuls of freshly picked sweet ripe blueberries and blackberries sounds divine, then it’s time to make room at your place for a berry patch.

Ball Australia have a new range of blueberries and blackberries in their ‘Berry Delights’ range.

Blackberry ‘Chester’ (Rubus fruticosa ‘Chester’) is a thornless blackberry with huge deep black berries that are picked during summer. Growing up to 150 cm tall, Chester should be pruned down to the ground after the first fruiting season and then each spring prune to 5 or 6 canes to maximise harvest.

Blueberry ‘Brightwell’ (Vaccinium ashei) blooms in summer and produces a delicious mid-season harvest of large dark blue fruits. Growing 2-3 m tall and 1.5-2 m wide, this variety is suitable for a large garden.

Blueberry ‘Powder Blue’ (Vaccinium ashei produces medium sized fruit with a powdery appearance. This is a low chill variety meaning that it can be grown in warmer areas such as northern NSW and Qld. It has pretty white flowers in spring and makes a great container plant.

Blueberry ‘Sunshine Blue’ (Vaccinium corymbosum) is another low chill variety, requiring only 150 hours of winter chill to set fruit. Medium sized fruit can be picked from October through to March. Sunshine Blue is a semi-dwarf, semi-deciduous variety with attractive bright pink flowers that face out to white. Growing to only 1.2 m tall, it’s perfect for growing in pots.

Before planting berries like blackberries and blueberries, enrich the soil with some Yates Dynamic Lifter Soil Improver & Plant Fertiliser, which improves the quality of the soil and provides the new berry plants with gentle slow release organic nutrients as they establish.

And blueberries prefer a slightly acidic soil, so if your soil pH is alkaline, apply some Yates Soil Acidifier Liquid Sulfur to lower the pH. This helps keep blueberry plants happy and give them access to nutrients they need for healthy growth.

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