Gooseberries

Family: Grossulariaceae

Countries: Africa, Albania, Algeria, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia, England, Europe, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Morocco, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Scotland, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Wales, Yugoslavia

Gooseberries (also known by their botanical name of Ribes uva-crispa) are easily grown, deciduous, thorny shrubs that produces delicious tasting fruit, in summertime.  The harvest time for gooseberries varies from June to August, depending on the particular gooseberry cultivar being grown, the planting location, and the weather.

These fruits will grow in almost any soil; although if your soil tends to be waterlogged gooseberries won’t be happy.  If you have waterlogged soil, you may want to create a raised bed or plant gooseberries in large containers of peat-free compost mixed with soil.  Ensure your planter has a drainage hole at the bottom (here are some tips on how to plant containers).

Plants vary in size, the largest gooseberry plants grow to around 1.5m (5ft) tall and the same wide, and the smallest fruiting plants grow to about 20cm (8 inches) tall.  Gooseberries can be grown as bushes, cordons, or trained as small standard, lollipop forms.  Productivity varies greatly between the gooseberry cultivars that are available; the size and age of the plant will also affect the size of your harvest.  I so enjoy eating and growing gooseberries; I love the red, yellow, and the green fruited varieties!

If you only have room for one gooseberry, you’ll be relieved to know that gooseberries are self-pollinating – they don’t need a pollination partner to set fruit; so even if you grow one solitary gooseberry plant, you’ll be able to enjoy your own home-grown harvest of fruit!

I recommend purchasing bare root gooseberry plants.  These plants are lifted, sold, and planted, during the dormant season, from late autumn to early spring.  Gooseberry plants can be easily raised from cuttings, which root most successfully when they are taken from early autumn to early winter time.

Gooseberries tend to be very susceptible to mildew.  However, gooseberry cultivars are available that offer varying degrees of mildew resistance.

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