How to Grow Berries: Easy for Beginners | Almanac.com

How to Grow Berries: Easy for Beginners


Easiest Fruits for Beginners to Grow

Berries and soft fruits are easy to grow for beginners and produce heavy harvests. Here’s the pick of the crop for beginners to grow.


Strawberries will produce fruits the first summer after planting, and with varieties available that fruit at different times you could be harvesting from spring all the way through to fall. You can even extend the picking season by planting a late-season variety under a row cover.

Protect fruits from rotting by laying straw around strawberry plants when they start to flower. Trim back the leaves once the plants have finished fruiting.

See more information about growing strawberries.


Fall-bearing raspberries are the easiest type of raspberry to grow. They need minimal support to keep them tidy, and pruning is simple - just cut out all of the old canes after fruiting but before new growth begins in spring.

Fall-bearing raspberries will produce fruits from late summer until the first frosts.

See our Raspberry Growing Guide for planting and growing advice.

Blackberries and Hybrid Berries

Most modern varieties of blackberry are thornless, disease-resistant, and with large, sweet berries. Tie new growth to supports periodically, and cut out old canes to encourage new growth.

Blackberries are often crossed with other related soft fruits to create interesting hybrid berries such as loganberry and boysenberry.

See our Blackberry Growing Guide.

In the past, the cultivation of both currants and gooseberries has been restricted in many areas of the USA as they can host white pine blister rust. This can then be transmitted to white pines, which are important for the lumber industry. Many modern varieties are resistant to the disease, so restrictions no longer exist in most states, but check the situation in your region before planting.

Red, Black and White Currants

All currants are heavy yielding, and produce large crops of currants to eat fresh or turn into jams and sauces.

Red and white currants do better in cooler climates and can be grown in partial shade. Whitecurrants tend to be sweeter than reds. Blackcurrants require very little care, but to encourage lots of new, healthy growth and plenty of fruits, prune out some of the older and crossing branches in winter.


Gooseberries will thrive in most garden soils. They prefer cooler climates and some shelter from the wind. Gooseberries need little care, but feeding, pruning and mulching will encourage bumper harvests.

You have a choice of culinary varieties, used for making jams, pies and jellies, or dessert varieties which can also be enjoyed fresh.

Caring for Soft Fruits

Container-grown soft fruits can be transplanted at any time of year, but fruits purchased bare-rooted need to be planted from late fall onwards. Delay until early spring in colder climates.

See more about growing fruits in pots.

Caring for soft fruits is easy.  Water them thoroughly at least once a week in dry weather, particularly in the first year after planting, and mulch in spring with compost or other organic matter to help feed your plants and improve the soil. Lay it at least a couple of inches thick and avoid piling mulch up against the canes or trunks of your plants.

To prevent birds stealing your fruit you will probably need to cover them with netting, or for a more permanent solution, build a walk-in fruit cage. See tips for keeping birds out of the garden.

Interested in growing food?  Check out our amazing Almanac Garden Planner and start your own garden for free!

About The Author

Tim Goodwin

Tim Goodwin, the associate editor for The Old Farmer's Almanac, has been reading North America's oldest continuously published periodical since he was a young child, growing up just a short drive from the OFA office. Read More from Tim Goodwin

2023 Gardening Club

Tammy (not verified)

4 years 9 months ago

I have had a raspberry plant for 3 years. This spring is the first year it sent out suckers, which I dug up and replanted. I have not gotten a berry yet in all the years I have had this plant, just the sucker's. It is planted in full sun with my rhubarb plants. What can I do differently?

Ben Vanheems (not verified)

4 years 9 months ago

In reply to by Tammy (not verified)

Hi Tammy. The lack of raspberries is a bit of a mystery, given that the plants seem to be thriving enough to give out suckers. Are the raspberries flowering? If so, are there enough pollinators around to ensure their successful pollination and fruiting? You could try planting more pollen and nectar-rich flowers nearby to coax more pollinators into the area.

What climate are you growing them in? Raspberries prefer a cooler, maritime climate - generally between USDA zones 4 to 8. There are some more heat-tolerant varieties that will grow in zone 9 though. If it is particularly hot and/or dry then it may be that the plants simply won't flower as much.

What is the soil like? Soil that is very high in nitrogen (for example from the addition of lots of not-yet-rotted-down manure) would encourage plenty of leafy growth, including suckers, at the expense of flower (and hence fruit) production. Any additions of organic material need to be made right at the start of the season, before growth re-starts. And all material should be fully rotted down and matured to give a more balanced nutritional profile.

Steve (not verified)

6 years 1 month ago

I have several blackberry plants that are about 20 years old. How close to these can i plant some new blackberry plants?

You should give each plant 2.5 to 3 feet of space to set roots, so plant them 2 to 4 feet apart. That distance from the existing patch should be reasonable. If you encounter roots when you initially break ground to set the new plants, you might want to move away a few more inches.

Craige (not verified)

6 years 1 month ago

I have 2 blueberry bushes I bought at a nursery last year. I didn't cover them in time and the birds ate all of them. :( Here's hoping I get a tasty crop this year!

My parents' house in the country has tons of wild blackberries that are absolutely divine, but they do have those prickles! I was considering trying to take some from there to start in my own garden, but after seeing in your video that barb-free ones exist, I may buy that kind instead.

Good luck with the blueberries. One of our editors lost hers to deer: They ate the entire bush—down to the stump!
You should be fine with barb-free blackberries, but we are inclined to think that it’s hard to beat “absolutely divine” anything. Remember the adage: No pain, no gain. ;-)

Good luck with a berry nice harvest!