Salty Sam’s Fun Blog for Children

Number 212

Growing Berries and Currants


Hello Everyone



On a hot summer’s day, if Auntie Alice knows that the children are somewhere in the garden but she can’t find them, chances are they will be in the middle of the fruit cage picking and eating sun-warmed, ripe berries.


There can’t be too many better places to be on a summer’s afternoon.


lt is a great garden tradition to grow soft fruits and Auntie Alice grows: raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries, boysenberries and black, white and red currants as well as strawberries.


Growing berries is a lovely hobby to have.


Cultivated blackberries are much more juicy and delicious than the wild varieties.  They are bigger too – maybe up to 4cm.  These blackberries don’t have thorns, which means it is easier to pick the berries and the branches don’t catch your clothing as you walk past or reach into them.


Gooseberries are not quite so sweet and need to be picked when they are really ripe.  The bushes can be grown into a fan shape against a wall if they need to be fitted into a small garden.  The branches have thorns on them, so having a fan shaped-bush means the berries are easier to pick.  The first prune should be done in June and the second in the middle of winter.  lf you want to grow a gooseberry bush you may need an adult to help you with this pruning.  Always look out for the prickles!


And if you have a really small garden, you can even grow some berry bushes in pots.


A good bush to choose for a pot is a blueberry.  lf you have never eaten blueberries from a small box from a supermarket, you may have had them in a muffin.


A blueberry bush must be grown in ericaceous compost because they must have their roots in acid soil to thrive.  Choose a big pot to plant your berry bush in because it will need plenty of room for its roots to grow.


lf you are using a terracotta pot, line it with cardboard or polythene to stop the water evaporating through the sides. Water them with rain water if you live on chalky soil.


lf you don’t water your pots enough, your berries won’t develop and become plump and sweet.  Make sure the pots all have good drainage though, because plants don’t want to get too waterlogged either.


lf you have lots of pots, then group them together, then they will protect each other from hot, baking sun and drying winds.


There are lots of other berries to grow too that you may never have heard of.  There are purple choke berries and grey-blue honey berries and more besides.


Boysenberries are especially nice.  You won’t have bought them in the supermarket because they don’t travel well, but you may have tasted them in a shop-bought juice.  You can grow them in your own garden. They are like a cross between a blackberry and a raspberry.


A lot of these plants can be grown from cuttings.  This means you may be able to replicate plants from a friend’s garden.


There will be lots of other things in your garden will want to eat your crops.  You will need to protect your berries from mice and birds.  You do this by using nets. 


The size of the holes in the net is important.  They shouldn’t be so small that they stop pollinating insects from getting in and helping the flowers turn into fruit, but the holes have to be small enough to keep mice and birds out.


The net must be tight because you don’t want birds to get caught up in it.  The easiest way to keep a net tight is to stretch it over a fruit cage which is what Auntie Alice does, but of course this is not possible in a very small garden so you can stretch a net over bent pipes or sticks tied together.


Make sure you can still get into your mini fruit garden to weed it, prune the plants and pick the fruit but at the same time tuck the bottom of the net away so that nobody trips over it. 


Another safety tip is to cover the pointy ends of the sticks with small pots or some sort of cover that can be seen.


Your fruit bushes should be planted in free-draining soil in a position that is in sun for at least some of the day.  lf the soil you want to use is heavy, you can make it better by adding organic matter.  Raspberries especially, need free-draining soil.


The lovely thing about fruit bushes is that they are perennial.  That means that if you look after them well, they will live for many years.


And you can’t have too many because there are so many different ways of cooking and storing fruit if you can’t eat all of the fruit when it is fresh.


Which is your favourite berry?



Bye bye everyone – don’t forget to subscribe to my blog!


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Thank you!


And see you again next Fun Friday!


Love and kisses



Salty Sam





Bill and Bob’s Joke of the Weekjokejoke


Bob: What is the difference between a gooseberry and a caterpillar? 


Bill: l don’t know.  What is the difference between a gooseberry and a caterpillar? 


Bob: lf you don’t know the difference, you should never go picking gooseberries then!



Salty Sam © Christina Sinclair 2015

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of material from this blog without express and written permission from this blog’s author and owner is strictly prohibited.

Links may be used to



Picture Gallery


Blackberries growing in a hedgerow


Blackcurrants growing on a bush











Choke berries


Honey berries








This week on the news desk, Auntie Alice has her berry muffins recipe for you.

You can try them with any berries you have and see which you like best.




2½ cups self-raising flour

90g butter

1 cup caster sugar

1¼ cups buttermilk

1 beaten egg

150g fresh or frozen raspberries

½ cup shredded coconut





Preheat the oven to moderate


Place flour in a mixing bowl

Chop the butter and rub into the flour

Lightly stir in the other ingredients

Divide mixture into a 12 cake cases standing in a baking tray

Bake for 20 minutes


Leave to cool for five minutes




Never pick any berries unless an adult says it is safe to do so!








Quick Quiz


What kind of berries are these?


  1. The colour of coal
  2. The colour of the Cookie Monster
  3. Big farmyard bird
  4. Dried grass
  5. To rub with something rough







lt’s the Weekend!




This is a very smart suit for your doll.  If you make the dress in a light colour and the jacket in a dark colour, the overall look will be very different.



Using 4mm knitting needles and red dk yarn cast on 25 stitches


Purl 1 row

Purl 1 row

Knit 1 row

Knit 1 row


Slip 1 (knit 1, purl 1) repeat these last 2 stitches to the end of the row


Repeat the last row 35 times (36 rows of moss stitch)


Knit 1 row

Knit 1 row

Cast off



Sew up back seam right sides together using over-sew stitching



Using 4mm knitting needles and red dk yarn cast on 12 stitches

Knit 32 rows of garter stitch

Cast off



Using 4mm knitting needles and red dk yarn cast on 12 stitches

Knit 16 rows of garter stitch

Cast off



Using 4mm knitting needles and red dk yarn cast on 7 stitches

KNIT 20 rows of garter stitch

Cast off



With right sides together and using over-sew stitching

Sew up shoulder seams

Sew the tops of the sleeves to the shoulders

Sew under arm and side seams


Crochet 20 chains into a length of red yarn leaving enough yarn at each end to tie a bow (15cm)

Sew this to the edge of the jacket neck using red sewing thread




Please note that the material on this blog is for personal use and for use in classrooms only.

It is a copyright infringement and, therefore, illegal under international law to sell items made with these patterns.

Use of the toys and projects is at your own risk.

©Christina Sinclair Designs 2015sand



Quick Quiz Answers


  1. The colour of coal – black
  2. The colour of the Cookie Monster – blue
  3. Big farmyard bird – goose
  4. Dried grass – straw
  5. To rub with something rough – rasp



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