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They are all gathered in the group called the wild berries, although in reality not all of them are widespread in the forest, or rather, not all could develop in the same forest, one next to the other; these are blueberries, strawberries, currants, blackberries, raspberries; small fruits rich in flavor and fragrance. Some can actually be found even nature, the plants that we often find in the small family orchard derive from the natural ones, although often they are hybrids or cultivars, with larger fruits, or with a more pronounced taste, or simply more resistant to drought or disease.
These small berries are excellent both raw and in jams, creams, ice creams; they are rich in vitamins, not excessively sugary, and contain the precious anthocyanins, which color the pulp of red, purple blue; these substances are very useful in fighting free radicals, and as antioxidants, berries are among the main sources of these substances.
Cultivation is not very difficult, some of the fruits of the berries are also of small size, and can therefore also be grown in a hanging garden, or in simple pots on the terrace.
The botanical name is rubus idaeus, belong to the same genus as blackberries; in addition to the typical raspberries, we have some particular varieties, derived from the crossing of raspberries and blackberries, or among the species of raspberry; in Italy, however, mainly R. idaeus, originating in Europe and Asia, is cultivated. It has rhizomatous roots, from which thin stems, sparsely branched, high and slightly arched, which can reach 100-120 cm in height; the stem is completely covered by thin thorns. 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 large treatments.
In late spring they produce small white star-shaped flowers, gathered in clusters at the apex of the branches, followed by green berries, which ripen at the height of summer, becoming red; the fruits are made up of small elements gathered in infructescences similar to small panicles, of soft and silky consistency, with an intense and sour taste.
There are varieties with a single flowering, and varieties that repeat the flowering in summer, to produce fruits again in late summer-early autumn. Raspberries ripen in succession.
These small plants prefer fresh and not too calcareous soils, but tend to vegetate even in non-ideal conditions, and sometimes to become infesting; as soon as they are planted it is advisable to water them; in the following years they will tend to be satisfied with rainfall, even if it is advisable to avoid leaving the plants dry during flowering and maturation. Let's place them where they can enjoy a bit of direct sunlight, to get tasty and abundant fruits. At the end of winter, at the base of the plants, granular fertilizer spreads, which will melt over time.
To the genus vaccinium belong many small shrubs, of various sizes, originating from Europe, Asia and North America; blueberries common on the Alps come from small ground cover plants, there are species with black fruit and species with red fruit, they are small shrubs, 20-40 cm high; the blueberry generally grown in the garden derives from the North American species, which develop large shrubs, up to several meters high, with many fruits gathered in racemes. Blueberries in general tend to be very acidic if eaten raw, if they are preferred in the form of jams, syrups, in fact if they are sweetened and heated they tend to acquire greater aroma and flavor. They are also traditionally used to prepare liqueurs.
These plants are quite demanding in terms of soil, in fact they develop only in strongly acid substrates, without limestone and not excessively rich in organic substance. Therefore, let's live in a rich peat substratum, in a luminous but not excessively sunny place; fear drought, especially in the hottest periods of the year.
Closely related to raspberry, blackberry is the fruit of the rubus ulmifolius species and other similar species; these are large sarmentose shrubs, which develop long branched stems, thickly covered with thorns; also in this case there are hybrids with particularly large fruit, without thorns, or with decorative flowers. They tend to become weeds, they do not have great demands in terms of soil, exposure and watering; in order to obtain a good harvest it is however advisable to place the shrub in a sunny place, with a good rich soil and to water with prolonged drought, especially during the period of fruit ripening, which in case of lack of water become excessively " woody. "
These plants in Italy are easily found in uncultivated places, 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 very sweet fruits; cooking blackberries enhances the flavor and aroma.
The currant is the fruit of the bush called ribes rubrum, which gives red or whitish fruits; the black currant originates from the plants of ribes nigrum.
they are small shrubs, with reddish bark, densely branched, with deciduous leaves; in spring they produce small panicles of white or pink flowers, followed by small roundish fruits, gathered in hanging clusters, which are harvested in late spring and in summer.
They are planted in a sunny position, with a good rich and very well drained soil; fear water stagnation.
There are not many necessary treatments, shrubs are periodically kept, the side branches are pruned; watering is provided only during the summer, and in the event of prolonged drought; the fertilizations can be supplied in the form of manure, or slow release granular fertilizer, to be supplied at the end of winter.
Of the same family we remember the Ribes grossularia; it's about 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 loved fruits are also Italian woods; the wild strawberries are decidedly smaller than the vegetable cultivars, but they have a very intense flavor; the small flowers are present at the beginning of spring, followed in spring by red or pink fruits. These are herbaceous plants, with stoloniferous roots, which tend to spread over the years; they are placed in a sunny or semi-shaded place, in a good rich soil. Watering is provided only by the particularly dry spring season.