Cranberries

Preparation

Plant in an open sunny spot sheltered from strong winds. Must be planted in acid soil, avoid any soil with a pH of more than 4.5. Cranberries will benefit from being planted close to water, but make sure the ground is free-draining and is not prone to water-logging. Monitor the soil’s pH every few years, because it may be necessary to add acid. Remember, if your soil is not acidic, cranberries will be just as happy planted in a pot or hanging basket with ericaceous compost. The pot size should be approx 1.5 times the size of the root ball to ensure plenty of room for rooting.

Planting

It is a good idea to plant two different varieties of cranberries to ensure cross-pollination although two of the same variety is just as acceptable. A single cranberry plant will produce fruit, but the yields will be higher and the fruits bigger if more than one plant is grown. Plant cranberries in autumn or winter leaving about 1.5m (5ft) gaps between them and mulch with a layer of acidic peat, wood chippings or pine needles. Water in well using rainwater rather than tap water if possible. Tap water contains lime which renders the soil less acidic over time.

Pruning

After approx. 3 years from first crop, cut away the old shoots & tidy runners, doing this will give the plants more space to grow & develop thereby ensuring a larger crop.

Ongoing Care

Use nets to protect plants from birds in the fruiting season. In spring, apply a little Bone Meal around each plant. Once this is done, apply a mulch such as chipped up pine tree or pine needles. These are ideal mulches to place around the plants because they’re fairly acidic. Ensure that all weeds are removed & that the soil is moist before
mulching. Mulching helps to keep the soil cool & moist as well as keep down the weeds. Water plants regularly. They require water from when their buds begin to show in spring until their leaves fall in autumn. Again, remember to use rainwater. For plants grown in pots/hanging baskets, give the plants a high potash feed (such as tomato feed) occasionally during the growing season.

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