Sweet, succulent summer berries are morsels of pure joy that take little effort and time to produce.
With fresh fruit and vegetable prices skyrocketing, now is the time to ensure you don't have to pay $20 a punnet at Christmas.
To get a bumper crop, berries are best planted in winter, so dust off your garden gloves, grab your jacket and spend an hour or so preparing the soil for your new crop.
Start with strawberries. They are quick, fun and exceptionally easy to grow. Within several months you will be able to harvest your own fresh berries to have with lashings of cream or, better still, enjoy fresh from the plant while they're still warm from the sun.
Planting strawberries while temperatures are cool increases vigour and produces a higher number of berries. One plant will produce a handful of berries each week, so put in five to 10 plants for each family member.
Blueberries are hardy shrubs which, once established in a year or two, will produce a decent crop. Ensure the soil isn't waterlogged in winter or dry in summer. They are ideal in pots and containers as well as the garden.
Raspberries are an upright plant almost like a vine and require staking or protection from strong winds. Fruit appears within the first season or two. Plant in winter or early spring.
Boysenberries, loganberries and blackberries are all quick-growing and can be planted in large containers as well as the garden.
Generally, berries like similar conditions - full sun, fertile soil and plenty of water in spring and summer. Cranberries are the exception.
You can use Tui strawberry mix for all berries. This special blend can be used in pots and containers, as well as raised beds and in the garden. The added potassium promotes fruit and flower development instead of excess leafy growth.
In poor or dry soils or when berries are planted in pots, Saturaid granular soil wetter should be added to maintain moisture. Water stress is the main reason for poor performance.
In existing strawberry patches or plots, replace any weak specimens, spread strawberry food alongside plants and cover with a layer of pelletised peastraw mulch. This will feed the crop and lift berries off the soil.
Strawberries need to be replanted after three years, as they naturally lose their vigour and flavour if kept longer.
Garden centres have a wide range of varieties available through winter and spring, but remember that the earlier you plant, the better your berries will be.
Watch out for wildlife getting to your crop before you. The main problem will be birds, so put netting over your plants.