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I have a number of fruit bushes (gooseberry, redcurrant, blackcurrant, blueberry and autumn fruiting raspberry) in a large fruit cage. The floor is covered with a liner right up to the plant stems and then covered with a good thickness of wood chip. I have been reading that I should apply some type of feed in spring such as blood, fish and bone but I am not sure how to apply a feed in view of accessing the surrounding plants stems under the liner and wood chip. Also, I have a number of quail occupying the cage so obviously whatever I apply would have to be considerate to their health. Any advice, thank you.

If you wish to keep the liner in place, then your only real option is to apply a liquid feed directly to the stem base.  If you have laid the liner tight around the plant stems, it  would pay you to cut it back a little so that you access the stem.

If you are concerned about the Quail pecking/scratching too near the plant stems, a bit of chicken wire or similar around the stems should be sufficient. That way, they can't access the ground around the plants.


How do you water the bushes? Is the liner water permeable? If so you could use a water soluble plant food. 

If the OP has a " good thickness of wood chip " using a liquid feed over the whole area may be a bit of a waste ?

Just a thought.


I wasn't thinking of all over ... Just in the root areas as with watering. Woodchip could be raked away and reinstated after watering if it's that thick. 

Last edited: 29 December 2017 18:26:18


Kitty 2

Might be a crazy idea but...would some half buried plastic bottles, upturned with the bottom cut off, work as a kind of funnel? 

Liquid fertilizer could be applied directly to the root area underground, and there would be no run off into the woodchip.

I know nothing about quails. Would they pull them out?


Kitty, when I plant a tree or large shrub I incorporate a large plastic bottle just as you describe, to funnel water down to the roots to aid watering.  

Kitty 2

Yes it works a treat Dove, and helps to get water where it's needed in the height of summer 🌞.  

I was thinking it would reduce the amount of membrane watlingg would have to cut back, and help keep the fertilizer away from the birds if that is an issue.  Thinking about upturned terracotta flowerpot covering the bottles would stop them getting at them.


Thanks for all your advice, will look to see what I can do this spring utilising one of these methods.

Regards all and a very happy New Year.

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