What needs doing in the fruit cage in March?

Tiffany Daneff / 12 March 2015

With newborn lambs now in the neighbouring field, gardening editor Tiffany Daneff wonders where time went and plans what jobs need doing in the fruit cage.

Can somebody tell me where February went and with it all the February things I had planned?

It can’t be a month since I pruned the gooseberries. But oh yes it is and so this weekend I am dedicating to getting the fruit cage in order. The added bonus is that the farmer has put the new lambs out in the neighbouring field, as it’s a small field so less chance of them getting into mischief.

The lambs went out on Monday, aged three days, and it is very hard not to go all gooey when they trot up to the fence and bleat at you. Here, because you’ll be wanting to see what they look like, no doubt, is a picture...

Luckily, we had no snow to mention here this winter and the wire netting that keeps the birds off the fruit is all in place. In fact, despite having virtually ignored the fruit (apart from pruning the gooseberries last month) I haven’t been inside the cage all winter.

Now though I can see there are various things requiring attention:

  1. A few rogue weeds and clumps of couch grass need yanking out
  2. The strawberries need trimming and feeding with liquid tomato food which will encourage flower and fruit growth, rather than leaf
  3. The autumn fruiting raspberries need pruning to the ground (eek. I should have done this a month ago!)
  4. Summer fruiting rasps need a six inch trim (tipping back)
  5. The cherry tree needs mulching – as do the bushes and canes. I’ve got heaps of well rotted sheep manure, perfect for this.
  6. The blackcurrants want some fertilizer
  7. It’s almost time to prune the red and white currants (These fruit on older wood so you prune when the sap is rising). The blackcurrants produce their fruit on young stems so are pruned after the summer)

For more tips check out Val Bourne’s The Ten Minute Gardener’s Fruit-growing Diary published by Bantam Press.

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