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Container berries

Bad soil, no space, or little time for berries? No worries.

I’ve been growing raspberries in a container on my deck for several years. It’s a hardy, compact bush that puts out a few dozen berries. I just eat them right off the plant – if I can get to them before the birds do.

Leonard Perry is an extension horticulturist at the University of Vermont. He says there are cultivars of fruit such as raspberries and blackberries, grapes, strawberries, and blueberries that do well in containers. Because the roots and tops of the plants don’t get as big, the yield isn’t as high as those planted in the ground. But the fruit is just as tasty.

As for the pot you plant them in – he says the bigger the better.

"You want to be thinking about a five-gallon pail or pot but even up to a 15 or 20-gallon size is better," says Perry. "If you want something like a bramble, you want a pot that’s probably a little bit wider than it is high because they tend to spread."

Never use soil from a field or garden. Perry recommends planting container berries in potting soil mixed with other amendments.

"What’s good a lot of times is to mix that perhaps half and half, a bag of topsoil or potting soil with peat moss or even one of those peat-like mixes that may have other things in it like perlite or vermiculite. I like to add some heavy material, maybe weed-free compost," says Perry.

Keep in mind that grapes like to grow in a sandy loam soil, so you should add up to 20% sand. Blueberries like it on the acidic side, so peat moss is a great addition. If you’re just using regular potting soil, Perry recommends an acidic fertilizer to help bring the pH down.

Keep your containers well-watered, fertilize and prune them as recommended, and plan on repotting your berries with fresh soil every three-to-five-years to keep them vigorous.

Learn more:

Tips for growing fruit in containers

This company specializes in container fruit

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