11] Grow soft fruit as cordons
One of the most valuable growing methods available to small-garden fruit growers is that of the cordon training method.
Ideal for gooseberries, redcurrants, whitecurrants but not Blackcurrants [because of differences in the pruning method] growing soft fruit bushes as Cordons curbs the bushes natural tendency to make growth and encourages instead the production of fruit buds, flowers – and berries!
Cordons can be grown as either single stemmed specimens, or double stemmed. The former known as single cordons, the latter as double cordons. If you picture a ‘V’ shape then this is just what a double cordon looks like. A single cordon may epitomise the ease of culture embodied by cordon training, but a double cordon is scarcely more difficult and mazimises yield x space taken even further.
Buy cordon trained bushes from a specialist nursery who will also provide you with cultural tips on pruning. This is quite a simple procedure and suitable even for beginners. Simply trim back the side laterals in winter to 1-2” and do not allow any further main branches to develop. The fruits are borne on the short side laterals, and direct from the stem as well.
Cordon soft fruits can be spaced just 18” apart and need support, either by way of bamboo canes, or a post/wire system if you are growing several. They can also be grown against a fence or wall or even in pots.