Some can actually be found also the nature, the plants we often find in the small family orchard come from the natural ones, even if often they are hybrids or cultivars, with bigger fruits, or with a more accentuated taste, or simply more resistant to the drought or to the diseases.
These small berries are excellent both raw and in jams, creams, ice creams; they are rich in vitamins, not excessively sugary, and contain precious anthocyanins, which color the pulp of red, purple and blue; these substances are very useful in combating free radicals, and as antioxidants, berries of berries are among the main sources of these substances.
The cultivation is not very difficult, some of the plants of the fruits of the forest are also small in size, and can therefore also be grown in a hanging garden, or in simple pots on the terrace.
The botanical name is rubus idaeus, they belong to the same genus of the blackberries; besides the typical raspberries, we have some particular varieties, derived from the crossing between the raspberries and the blackberries, or between the species of raspberries; in Italy, however, we mainly cultivate the R. idaeus, native to Europe and Asia.
It has rhizomatous roots, from which depart thin stems, poorly branched, tall and slightly arched, which can reach 100-120 cm in height, the stem is completely covered with thin spines. Every year the plant produces new stems, which have an average life of a couple of years, so we will always have young plants, which do not require pruning or major treatments.
In late spring they produce small white star-shaped flowers, grouped in clusters at the apex of the branches, followed by green berries, which ripen in the middle of summer, becoming red; the fruits are made up of small elements grouped together in infructescences similar to small panicles, of a soft and silky consistency, with an intense and acidic taste.
There are varieties with a single flowering, and varieties that repeat flowering in summer, to produce fruits again in late summer-early autumn. The raspberries ripen in succession.
These small plants prefer fresh soils and not excessively calcareous, but they tend to grow even in non-ideal conditions, and sometimes to become weeds; as soon as they are planted, it is advisable to water them; in the following years they will tend to be satisfied with the precipitations, even if it is advisable to be careful in order to avoid leaving the plants dry during the flowering and the ripening.
Let’s position them where they can enjoy a little direct sunlight, to obtain tasty and abundant fruits. At the end of winter, granular fertilizer is spread at the base of the plants, which will dissolve over time.
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To the genus vaccinium belong many small shrubs, of various sizes, originating in Europe, Asia and North America, the blueberries widespread in the Alps come from small plants carpet, there are species with black fruit and species with red fruit, these are small shrubs, 20-40 cm high, the blueberry generally grown in the garden instead comes from North American species, which develop large shrubs, up to a few meters high, with many fruits gathered in racemes.
Usually, blueberries tend to be very acidulous if consumed raw, if they are preferred to be consumed in the form of jams, syrups, in fact, if sweetened and heated, they tend to acquire a greater aroma and taste. They are traditionally used also for preparing liqueurs.
These plants are quite demanding in terms of soil, in fact they develop only in strongly acid substrates, free of limestone and not excessively rich in organic matter. They should therefore be planted in a substratum rich in peat, in a bright place, but not too sunny; they fear drought, especially during the hottest periods of the year.
Strictly related to the raspberry, the blackberry is the fruit of the species rubus ulmifolius and of other similar species; they are big sarmentose shrubs, which develop long ramified stems, thickly covered by thorns; also in this case there are hybrids with particularly big fruits, without thorns, or with decorative flowers.
They tend to become pests, they do not have great needs in terms of soil, exposition and watering; in order to get a good harvest, it is however advisable to place the shrub in a sunny place, with a good rich soil and to water in case of prolonged drought, especially during the period of ripening of the fruits, which, in case of a lack of water, become too much “woody”.
In Italy, these plants can be easily found in uncultivated areas, in the undergrowth or even on the banks of rivers.
Some garden varieties tend to be slightly more demanding than the botanical species, and often produce not very sweet fruits, the cooking of blackberries enhances the flavor and smell.
The currant is the fruit of the shrub called ribes rubrum, which gives red or whitish fruits; the blackcurrant originates from the plants of ribes nigrum.
These are small shrubs, with reddish bark, densely branched, deciduous; in spring they produce small cobs of white or pink flowers, followed by small round fruits, gathered in clusters hanging, which are collected in late spring and summer.
They are planted in a sunny position, with a good rich soil and very well drained; they are afraid of water stagnations.
The necessary cares are not many, periodically the shrubs are contained, pruning the lateral branches; the watering are provided only during the summer, and in case of prolonged drought; the fertilizations can be provided in the form of manure, or slow release granular fertilizer, to be provided at the end of winter.
Of the same family we remember the Ribes grossularia; it is the gooseberry. It produces a larger shrub than the currant, with stems covered with thorns, long and arched, which often need support.
Berries: Wild strawberries
One of the most popular fruits, are also present and the Italian forests, the wild strawberries are much smaller in size than the cultivars from the garden, but have a very intense flavor, the small flowers are present at the beginning of spring, followed in late spring by red or pink fruits. These are herbaceous plants, with stoloniferous roots, which tend to widen over the years; they are planted in a sunny or semi-shady place, in a good, rich soil.
The waterings are provided only in case of particularly dry spring season.
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visit: piante frutti di bosco