Soft fruit is very popular in local gardens. There are various reasons for this. Because it can be picked directly from the bush and nibbled from hand to mouth. In addition, there is no space for large fruit trees in many gardens and the alternative is a bush with berries. Raspberries, currants or gooseberries are old berry varieties and were already in our grandparents’ garden, but today many new varieties are conquering the market.

soft fruit

All berry varieties, old and new, are fairly easy to care for and easy to grow in any garden. In any case, the fact that most types of berries are not available at the fruit and vegetable counter and if they are, then usually quite expensive and only in small quantities speaks in favor of cultivation. Anyone who knows how one or the other old and new berry fruit is grown, which soil they need and which location is the right one, can look forward to a rich harvest every year. The fruits can usually be enjoyed raw or processed into tasty jams, juices or even liqueurs. The following list provides information about different old and new berry varieties as well as a brief guide to care.

Old berry varieties

The old berry varieties include all those that are already known from the grandparents’ garden and that have always been cultivated in the local latitudes. Some of these are now being rediscovered, such as gooseberries, while others have been with us from childhood to the present day.

Blackberries (Rubus fruticosus)

  • The rose family (Rosaceae)
  • spread all over the world
  • dark red berries in August
  • strong growth
  • annual pruning
  • sunny location brings better harvest
  • Soil poor in lime, humic and permeable
  • fertilizing with compost in the spring is sufficient
  • water and mulch regularly
  • hardy
Note: Blackberries are one of the oldest types of fruit in Central Europe. If there are children in your household, then the tasty fruits are a wonderful addition to the garden, so you can snack straight from the bush. If the children are small, there are new thornless varieties.

Strawberries (Fragaria)

  • The rose family (Rosaceae)
  • cultivated here since the 18th century
  • originally from Chile and North America
  • perennial plants
  • full sun location
  • sheltered from the wind
  • humic, loose, deep soil
  • slightly sour
  • Use fertilizer for strawberries
  • water sufficiently do not let dry out
Note: Actually, strawberries do not belong to the berry family but to the nuts (collective nut fruits). But since these are in every garden and the name is a bit misleading, the tasty and popular fruit has been included in this list.

Raspberries (Rubus Ideas)

  • The rose family (Rosaceae)
  • local fruit
  • today mostly cultivars are cultivated
  • red, tasty fruits
  • Harvest time varies per variety
  • sunny and sheltered location
  • loamy, deep, humic soil
  • mulch to get moist soil
  • delivers nutrients at the same time
  • water and fertilize regularly

Elderberry (Sambucus)

  • Muskwort family (Adoxaceae)
  • also lilac berries or elder bush
  • black (Sambucus nigra) and red (Sambucus racemosa)
  • slightly toxic (sambucin)
  • therefore do not eat raw
  • are suitable for jam, syrup, juice or liqueur
  • processed very healthy
  • fresh, slightly moist humus-rich soil
  • partially shaded location
  • water and fertilize moderately

Jostabeeren (Ribes x nidigrolaria)

  • Hybrid of gooseberry and black currant
  • also josta or yolkberry
  • cultivable since 1922
  • Gooseberry family (Grossulariaceae)
  • purple-black fruits in July
  • resemble currants
  • sheltered, sunny to partially shaded location
  • humic and deep soil
  • Fertilize in March with compost and horn shavings
  • Keep soil moist, avoid waterlogging

Cranberries (Vaccinium vitis-idaea)

  • Heather family (Ericaceae)
  • also ribberries, crownberries or foxberries
  • Plant is also called wild box
  • mostly collected as wild berries
  • selected culture forms for the garden
  • Fruits in September after second flowering
  • not edible raw due to acidity
  • sunny to partially shaded location
  • acidic, humic, moist and loose soil
  • water and fertilize regularly
Tip: Although cranberries cannot be eaten raw due to their taste, they have long been a good addition to many game and other dishes in the kitchen.

Redcurrants (Ribes rubrum)

  • Gooseberry family (Grossulariaceae)
  • many different varieties
  • ready to harvest from morning to night
  • large and small berries
  • all juicy with a slightly sour aroma
  • partially shaded to sunny location
  • can also be cultivated as a hedge
  • loose, well-drained soil
  • water and fertilize regularly
  • protect against night frosts in spring

Sanddornbeere (Hippophae rhamnoides)

  • native wild plant
  • The oleaster family (Elaeagnaceae)
  • poor, sandy, moist soil
  • sunny location
  • good wind resistance
  • very salt tolerant
  • it does not need to be watered or fertilized
  • orange fruits only on female plants
  • Harvest from August to September
  • can be eaten raw
Tip: If you cultivate sea buckthorn yourself, then you should make sure that you plant predominantly female plants on which the fruits develop. At least one male shrub provides the pollen needed for fertilization.

Blackcurrants (Ribes nigrum)

  • Gooseberry family (Grossulariaceae)
  • Original homeland Northern to Central Europe
  • many different varieties
  • dark red to black fruits
  • Fruits can remain on the bush for a long time
  • should be harvested by the end of August
  • not as acidic as red berries
  • can be eaten raw
  • sunny to partially shaded location
  • fertilize and water regularly

Gooseberries (Ribes uva-crispa)

  • own family of the gooseberry plants (Grossulariaceae)
  • Native to North Africa, Asia and Europe
  • many new varieties bred
  • old varieties have many spines
  • Fruit tastes fresh and sour
  • Colors from light green to red
  • moist, fresh, humus-rich soil
  • partially shaded location
  • protect from late frost in spring
  • good watering and adequate fertilization
Note: gooseberries are an old type of berry that you probably remember from grandmother’s garden. However, over time, the shrubs disappeared from the gardens, probably because of their many spines. The fruits have now been rediscovered in recent years, mainly because breeders have managed to get the susceptibility to powdery mildew under control.

White currants (Ribes sativa)

  • Gooseberry family (Grossulariaceae)
  • was formerly cultivated for the production of wine
  • Berries have translucent skin
  • white to pink, depending on the variety
  • Fruit ripening from mid-July
  • Taste mild to sour with a lot of aroma
  • Fruit can be eaten raw
  • partially shaded to sunny location
  • well-drained, humus-rich soil
  • regular water and nutrient supplies
Tip: The white currants are milder than their black sisters and not as sour as the red currants. They are therefore particularly suitable for snacking directly from the bush if there are children in your household.

New berry varieties

Many of the new berry varieties presented here come from foreign countries, such as America, and are also becoming increasingly popular in our latitudes. There are many new cult varieties that can no longer be missing in the new kitchen. Others are actually old berries that have been around as wild berries in the local latitudes for a long time, but have only now been discovered for cultivation in your own garden.

Anderbeere (Physalis)

  • originally from the Andes in Chile and Peru
  • nightshade family
  • Colutea genus
  • also known as Cape gooseberries
  • related to our native tomatoes
  • not hardy
  • orange-yellow fruits in parchment sleeves
  • sweet and sour aroma reminiscent of gooseberries
  • sheltered, full sun location
  • loose, fresh and moist soil
Tip: Even if you only know Physalis from the supermarket, it is still worth growing it in your own garden. Despite its lack of winter hardiness, the plant is otherwise quite easy to care for. However, you should avoid cultivation in a greenhouse, as there is no sun here and the fruits are less aromatic.

Cranberry (Vaccinium macrocarpon)

  • German name Large-fruited poppy berry
  • also cranberries, cranberries or cultivated cranberries
  • Native to North America
  • Heather family (Ericaceae)
  • bright red fruits ready for harvest in October
  • very angry
  • sows itself
  • lime-poor, slightly acidic humic peat soil
  • sunny, sheltered location
  • needs a lot of water and fertilizer

Heidelbeere (Vaccinium myrtillus)

  • also known as blueberry
  • belongs to the heather family (Ericaceae)
  • grow wild in the forest, can be picked
  • choose cultivated blueberries for the garden
  • developed from the American blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum).
  • intense aroma
  • large blue fruits
  • well drained, humic, sandy and boggy soil
  • sunny location
  • always water sufficiently
Note: When picking blueberries, remember to wear gloves because the blue fruits stain a lot.

Honigbeere (Lonicera kamtschatica)

  • Honeysuckle family (Caprifoliaceae)
  • Homeland East Siberian Peninsula Kamchatka
  • also known as Blue Honeyberry or Mayberry
  • light to black-blue fruits are edible
  • first ripening period in April
  • sweet and slightly aromatic
  • very hardy and robust
  • tolerates almost any soil
  • partially shaded to sunny location
  • water and fertilize enough

Lachsbeere (Rubus spectabilis)

  • native to Northwest America
  • The rose family (Rosaceae)
  • belongs to the genus of raspberries
  • also known as raspberry
  • Flowers are reminiscent of English roses
  • hence also raspberry rose
  • ornamental and useful plant at the same time
  • Fruits juicy, sweet and raspberry-like
  • sunny, warm location
  • humus and nutrient-rich soil
Note: The fruit is not named Salmonberry because of its light color but because it is ripe when salmon arrive in the Columbia River each year. The name was given to her by the Native Americans, the indigenous peoples of America.

Loganbeere (Rubus x loganobaccus)

  • Hybrid of raspberries and blackberries
  • The rose family (Rosaceae)
  • widespread in America
  • was created by chance in 1881
  • elongated red fruits, similar to raspberries
  • ideal climate in viticultural areas
  • partially shaded location without direct midday sun
  • lime-poor, humus-rich, dry, fresh soil
  • water little, tolerates dry periods
  • fertilize in spring for sprouting
Tip: whether it applies to old or new berry varieties, if fertilizer is to be used, compost, horn shavings or alternatively commercially available berry fertilizer are suitable in most cases. Only a few of the plants presented here require a different fertilizer.

Moltebeere (Rubus chamaemorus)

  • The rose family (Rosaceae)
  • also peat or cloudberry, cloud or Nordic berry
  • also known as Lapland’s Gold
  • original homeland of Northern Europe
  • Berries very expensive in the trade
  • wild fruits may not be gathered
  • light shade under trees ideal location
  • Mossy, acidic, humic and moist soil
  • tolerates neither lime nor salt
  • provide fertilizer for rhododendrons

Rote Maulbeere (Morus Rubra)

  • based in North America
  • also known as American mulberry
  • very high growth
  • ornamental and fruit tree
  • tasty, sweet and juicy fruits
  • ready to harvest in summer
  • sunny location
  • nutrient-rich, moist soil
  • water in hot periods
  • fertilize with compost in spring
Idea: If you want to know when winter will be over in a year and you can start your annual garden design, then you should cultivate the red mulberry in your garden. Because this is a so-called indicator plant. These only sprout when the frost is over and thus indicate the spring.

Schisandra Beere (Schisandra chinensis)

  • also Wu Wie Zi Beeren (“Berry of the Five Flavors”)
  • originally located in China
  • rich red leaves
  • bright red fruits
  • Fruit clusters resemble currants
  • Taste between salty, pungent, bitter and sweet
  • sunny location without direct midday sun
  • peaty, sandy, well drained light soil
  • fertilize twice a year
  • water regularly

Taybeere (Rubus fruticosus x idaeus)

  • young hybrid of raspberries and blackberries
  • Homeland Scotland
  • The rose family (Rosaceae)
  • Fruits resemble raspberries
  • aromatic, fruity sweet
  • high harvest results
  • partially shaded to sunny and warm location
  • well-drained, humus-rich, slightly moist soil
  • water sufficiently in dry periods
  • fertilize regularly in spring

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