The gooseberry is a shrub that can be grown in the garden, it belongs to the category of small fruits or berries, and it is very interesting because it is quite simple to grow and very productive. There are different varieties of currants, they can be distinguished in macro-categories by type of fruit: red currants, white currants and black currants or black currants and currants. Now let’s talk about red currants, also called currants sativus or rubrum.
Gooseberry belongs to the Grossulariaceae or Saxifragaceae family, it forms a medium-sized bush, without thorns, which moults during the winter. The fruits form clusters along small twigs. Its restrained but upright posture and bright berry color make this ornamental fruit plant suitable not only for garden cultivation but also for use in a garden. By placing a row of properly pruned plants together, you can create a low hedge, useful for dividing spaces, but also for protecting other plants in the garden from the wind, without getting too much sun. Partial shade tolerance makes it useful to populate less-trafficked areas, since it is not necessary to plant a perennial crop every year. The gooseberry has a characteristic sour and tart flavor, particularly suitable for characterizing fruit salads, in which it moistens the sweetness of other fruits. The bush usually reaches a height of 150/170 cm, in some cases it reaches two meters.
climate and soil
How to plant currants
The harvest in detail
Harvesting, use and varieties of red currants
climate and soil
Climate necessary for cultivation . The gooseberry can be grown throughout Italy except in the hottest areas of the south, it resists up to 1200 meters above sea level. The plant loves the winter cold, which stimulates fruiting, while it is afraid of drought and does not tolerate dry soil, therefore it requires constant irrigation. The sun is very helpful in sweetening the blackcurrant berries and allowing them to ripen earlier, however, excesses can cause problems, especially if they cause aridity. Gooseberries also grow in shady areas, it is not for nothing that it is considered a berry.
The perfect pitch. If you want to grow currants, as with all berries, it is better to have acidic soil (those who do not know the term can read the article which explains how to measure soil pH ). It is important that there is no stagnant water, but also that the soil is well fertilized and rich in organic matter, mainly because it maintains diffuse humidity. Using humus is an excellent practice, and manure, compost, and hornbeam can also be used well. Among the main nutrients, this plant has a particular need for potassium, so care should be taken to provide it, especially if the soil is sandy.
Currants grow in pots. Gooseberry can also be grown in a pot, the bush can be kept at a height of 150 cm in a good sized pot. When growing above ground, it should be taken into account that the currant needs frequent watering and good fertilizing. Therefore, growing it on the balcony is not as easy as growing it in the garden.
How to sow currants
Gooseberry seeds. Growing currants from seed is a rare method among gardeners as it takes much longer than cuttings, if you want to try it you can always do so. I advise to sow in jars and not in the ground, given the low germination and the small size of the seed.
Gooseberry cuttings . Propagating currants by cuttings is easier than sowing. To do this, a woody branch is taken from a mother plant, which is best done in the fall. The branch is placed in water and then planted in the ground until it has taken root. It is usually best to root the cutting in the pot, protect it and transplant it in late spring the following year.
Transplant the seedling . Gooseberry can be transplanted by buying the seedlings with bare roots at the nursery or on the ground bread. It can be done in spring or summer, after transplanting it should be well watered.
Pollination. Currants are in great need of pollinating insects, otherwise many flowers are not pollinated (berry drop) and therefore the clusters are dormant. If we want to grow this berry, we attract bees with pretty flowers in the garden.
Sixth of the installation. Blackcurrant seedlings can be planted as single plants, in this case it is necessary to keep at least one meter between plants and one and a half meters between rows, alternatively the plants can be kept in a narrower row, forming a hedge keep on going.
Culture in detail
Padded . Currant, as they say, is a plant that is too afraid of heat and drought, so a good mulch can be very useful. Mulching with organic matter, such as leaves, which recreates the native environment of this understory plant, is highly recommended.
Irrigation. Currants are afraid of dry land, so if the weather requires it, watering should be done regularly, without overdoing it and without forming stagnation.
plant shape . You can decide to let the gooseberry maintain its classic bush shape or shape it by pruning it into a trellis for easier harvesting. For the vegetable garden I advise sticking to the natural shrub, simpler and more beautiful to look at, the gooseberry also requires supports.
Cut. The gooseberry is a particularly useful plant to prune to stimulate production: in fact, the branches that bear fruit best are the young ones, after five years the branches of the gooseberry generally cease to bear fruit. Therefore, if you want to prune the gooseberry, it is better to remove old branches, in addition to removing dry and diseased branches. It is also cut to give order, avoiding the unions of the branches and maintaining the shape of the bush. Two- and three-year branches should be slightly shortened. These cuts are made at the end of the harvest period. No pruning is done the first year after planting. If the plant is a little old, it may be useful to carry out a more sustained pruning during the winter period, called renewal pruning, by cutting a third of the length of the branches. A more detailed explanation can be found in the text on how to prune gooseberry.
Diseases . Red currants can be prone to various fungal diseases, the most common of which are powdery mildew, gray mold, verticillium wilt and anthracnose. In organic farming, the best practice to reduce these problems is prevention, including avoiding excessive moisture and standing water. For more information, read the article devoted to gooseberry and gooseberry diseases.
insects . Some pests can affect the cultivation of currants, the most troublesome are the currant sesia, a moth that lays its eggs inside the stem of the plant, the yellow spider, aphids and mealybug. Thoroughly: defend the gooseberry from insects .
Collection, use and varieties of red currants
Currant harvest. It is very easy to understand when to harvest red currants: the color is an unequivocal indicator of their maturity. The harvest period varies according to the weather and exposure to the sun, but especially according to the variety of currants planted. Each variety has its own growth cycle, normally currants ripen between June and September. Black currant plants produce from the third year and are fully developed after the fourth year.
Black currant varieties. There are several possible varieties of rubrum currants that we can grow. The most common is Red Lake, a well-produced cultivar with sweet fruits, Gloire de Sabon is characterized by its pink color, lighter than the usual bright red, Rovada is a variety that has a very tall plant that is very resistant to fungal problems. The Jonkheer Van Tets gooseberry is an old cultivar of Dutch origin, also hardy and with larger fruits, while the Junifer gooseberry is better suited to warm climates.