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What are soft fruits?

LEARN ABOUT GROWING your own soft fruits outdoors

This month, we’re learning all about the wonders of soft fruits and how to grow them outside

We’ll be exploring different kinds of soft fruits, how you can prepare the garden for planting, how to care for your fruit plants so they grow big and strong,
how to harvest your fruits, and finally, how to enjoy them!


What are soft fruits?

Soft fruits are those kinds of fruits that are easy to squish in your hands – like berries, peaches and plums. They are different from hard fruits, which are the ones that are very firm and don't squish easily – like apples and pears

Different types of soft fruits

In the UK we’re lucky that we can grow lots of different soft fruits. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common ones,
along with when they are in season and ready to be picked



Strawberries are small, red, sweet fruits. They are like tiny, juicy hearts that you can eat!

In season: Spring to early summer (May to June)



Raspberries are little, round berries that are hollow in the middle. They have a bumpy, even fuzzy texture!

In season: Summer to early autumn (June to September)



Blackberries, also known as brambles, are dark and juicy berries that look like tiny clusters of grapes.
They are sweet and a bit sour at the same time!

In season: Summer to early autumn (July to October)



Gooseberries are small juicy fruits that look a lot like grapes and have a fresh, tangy flavour

In season: Early to late summer (May to September)



Plums are small round fruits with smooth skin, juicy flesh and a hard stone in the middle

In season: Late summer to early autumn (August to October)

How to prepare your garden for planting

  • Choose the right location

Soft fruits need sunlight to grow big and strong, but they’ll also need some shade. Be sure to keep them protected from strong winds too!

  • Make it nice and tidy 

Help your soft fruits feel at home by removing any weeds, large stones or other things that might be in the way

  • Prepare the soil 

Make sure the soil has good drainage – we can do this by adding some


How to care for soft fruits

  • Water regularly 

Make sure your soft fruit plants always have enough to drink but be careful not to flood them!
A good way to test this is to feel the soil and keep it damp but not soggy

  • Keep pests away 

There are some natural ways to keep pesky pests from damaging your fruits, such as ‘companion planting’. This means planting things like marigolds, nasturtiums, basil, onions or garlic near your soft fruits to distract harmful bugs

  •  Use supports 

Using canes and supports will give your soft fruit plants a helping hand to grow nice and tall. They’ll keep them sturdy on windy, stormy days, and even make harvesting a lot easier!


leaves and branches
  • Add mulch

Mulching helps keep the soil cool but cosy, stops weeds from bothering your plants, and makes everything look neat and tidy! Simply place a layer of straw, leaves or wood chips around the base of your plants

  • Prune when needed

Pruning is when you trim back some leaves and branches to keep your plants in tip top shape. It helps them get more sunlight and fresh air to help them grow. Usually, you might prune plants a little in winter when they’re resting, in spring when they’re just waking up, or right after harvesting the fruits

Harvesting your soft fruits

Harvesting is like picking the sweet rewards from your soft fruit plants. Let's explore how to know when it's the perfect time to pick and how to do it gently

  • Knowing when soft fruits are ripe for picking

Berries might turn red, blue, or purple, and other fruits like peaches or plums might become soft and fragrant.
Give them a gentle squeeze and pick them if they feel just right!

  • How to pick soft fruits

Gently pluck the fruits from the plant. For berries, hold the stem and pull, for fruits like plums and peaches,
use scissors with care

Ways to enjoy your fruits



  • Fresh and juicy

The simplest way to enjoy your fruits is to eat them fresh and juicy, just as nature intended!

  • Fruit salad fiesta

Mix different soft fruits together to create a colourful (and tasty) fruit salad. It's like Add a drizzle of honey or a splash of orange juice for extra flavour

  • Smoothie magic

Blend your soft fruits into a smoothie. This can be as simple as blending your fruits with yogurt, banana, and a splash of milk

  • Berrylicious jam

Making your own yummy jam couldn’t be easier! Cook berries with sugar and a splash of lemon juice until they mush together and thicken. Stir the mixture, let it cool, and you've got your homemade jam! Perfect for spreading on toast or pancakes