The past week or so of hot sunny days has really got the soft fruit season off with a bang. Every year I try very hard with strawberries and for the last couple of years I have done fairly well. Yesterday I picked a big basketful,and very delicious they were, but for me, nothing can beat a great big dish of these that I picked today.
Raspberries are my favourite soft fruit. To the extent that I have extended the raspberry row the full length of the veg garden, about thirty odd feet. I have a six foot fence that separates the front garden from veg garden, and although I still have some gaps, I have managed to fill most of the veg side of the fence with raspberries. Raspberries, like most soft fruit are easy to propagate, - new canes come up all around the current years growth, and surplus ones can be easily detached and dug up, and re planted where you wish.So splash out on some good plants from a reliable supplier like Ken Muir and extend your row as you please.
My fence faces north east on the veg side, which is why I chose it for raspberries as I find that whilst they won't thrive in poor light conditions, they do well in a cooler damp aspect. I expect that's why we so often see Scottish raspberries in the shops. I mulch them well, but they still need copious watering to ensure a good crop.
It's useful to bear in mind the conditions required by different fruits when planning a garden fruit supply. Even if you have a limited amount of space, if you think in terms of using the vertical space around the edges of your plot, you will often find room for a supply of delicious organically grown fruit that you can pick at the peak of it's ripeness and goodness. Pears should always be given a good sunny condition, especially the delicate varieties like Comice. Victoria plums are happy in most places but you can grow fine varieties that you seldom see for sale like Coe's Golden Drop, against a warm sunny wall. But raspberries and redcurrants are quite happy in relative shade. My red and white currants are now grown against the north fence of the chicken run - that's the inside of the fence where the chickens are. I grow them as cordons, (that's basically just a single stem with fruits growing all the way up) and throw a net over them when they are ripening, which I would have to do anyway to keep blackbirds off. I don't find the chickens or the ducks do much damage, possibly eating the foliage low down, but that just keeps the "leg" clean, - when I've picked as many as I want, or can be bothered with, I take the net off, it's quite fun watching them jump up to try to get the fruit.
If you don't have the time to devote to a veg garden, do think about trying some home grown fruit, it takes much less time and commitment, and can be acheived in a relatively small amout of space. And when you're tucking into that bowl of home grown raspberries and cream, you'll be glad you did.