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Tougher? Gooseberry's or Blackcurrants.

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  • Tougher? Gooseberry's or Blackcurrants.

    Just dug a long narrowish bed and am thinking of putting the gooseberry bushes there or the blackcurrants.

    Now the soil is not good, have added a few bags of "compost" and will add more but a rich fertile loam it will never be. It is also dry.

    Compost I get is not really compost, it is more a very fine mulch more then anything but does well to dig in and open up and alter the soil into something better. Another 4 at £10 should at present be all I add. Mainly to allow it to incorporate before I grab more bags if they have it in later (doubtful).

    Hoping the added compost will retain a bit more moisture also.

    It is a reasonably sunny area.

    So guesses, estimates, whatever on whether the blackcurrants or the gooseberries will do the best there?

  • #2
    I think they would both do alright there, though I would just dig a hole somewhere you haven't already dug a whole bed. I'd plant the bushes and mulch the ground well with whatever you have at hand, but I wouldn't bother digging anymore than necessary, but get some horse manure or fertiliser into the hole before planting
    https://nodigadventures.blogspot.com/

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    • #3
      Black currants will like a sunny spot and should do well in your improved soil. They will appreciate a mulch of manure every year and if you think it’s dry give them a good water and mulch immediately with grass clippings or even cardboard to keep soil moist. Good luck.

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      • #4
        SarrissUK the ground had to be dug, it was solid and hard, and I mean solid. Nothing in it retained the last bit of moisture. Hit it with the back of a fork and the fork rang, no mark in the soil/ground. Have collected a good number of stones from it as well. The Stone Fairies seem to visit a lot. Biggest problem with digging it is not to bury the robin that accompanies me around the garden at somewhat close quarters and snatches the creepy crawlies that appear. The bird has an odd apertite.

        I was debating the bed for the saffron crocus they are said to like baked ground and this was baked. What I will do is buy a small bag of whatever is on sale at St Albans market each visit and put those in as well.

        Actually have decided to make a bit of a change. The rear was to have a 4" sleeper on the wood base and the front to get about an extra 2" on its base. However the construction has meant the rear is somewhat higher (was intended to be a bit) then makes sense. So the front gets the 4" sleeper(s) and the rear get just under another 2" added. Now front and rear are similar height - rear still a little higher.

        Does mean that eventually I will need to add some 4" of soil or whatever to it. Had thought around 2" or a bit less. So going to end up a bit deeper then initially expected. Plants will be happy.

        As mentioned all I do is grab whatever is on offer at the garden centre up the A1, I can also add in the used compost from last years container grown potatoes and other stuff. What to do with old compost is not a problem.

        One unexpected aspect is that one end is under a overhanging plum and forms a nicely hidden and secluded retreat - just the place to sit and let the world revolve uninterrupted. Need something suitable to sit on.

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        • #5
          gooseberries are tougher and longer-lived than blackcurrants and will cope with quite a bit more shade, but probably more people enjoy blackcurrants as a fresh fruit.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by nickdub View Post
            gooseberries are tougher and longer-lived than blackcurrants and will cope with quite a bit more shade, but probably more people enjoy blackcurrants as a fresh fruit.
            Agreed that gooseberries are way tougher and need less coddling than blackcurrants to get a good yield. I'd disagree with you on flavour though: the reason a lot of people think they don't like gooseberries raw is because they haven't tried a truly ripe dessert gooseberry. A ripe gooseberry should be soft to the touch and the skin should give a bit when you squeeze it gently.

            I gave some to a colleague at work who'd been tasked with picking hard ones for jam as a child and claimed not to like raw gooseberries, and he immediately went and bought his own plant. He'd never been given a truly ripe one before, and thanks to that he'd missed out on decades of a really great dessert fruit.

            For my taste, the older dessert varieties are some of the best, such as Whinham's Industry or Langley Gage. Rokula and Xenia are newer and also good. The Hinnomaki ones sold just about everywhere are ok but nothing special.

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            • #7
              Be aware too of which diseases/pests you are more likely to be exposing them to.
              Do you or your neighbours have a history of gooseberry sawfly or leaf blister?
              Last edited by Nicos; 21-09-2019, 09:58 PM.
              "Nicos, Queen of Gooooogle" and... GYO's own Miss Marple

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Nicos View Post
                Be aware too of which diseases/pests you are more likely to be exposing them to.
                Do you or your neighbours have a history of gooseberry sawfly or leaf blister?
                Having had sawfly doesn't necessarily doom you forever. I had really bad attacks of sawfly in the current garden in the first couple of years, but since then I've barely seen any. I'm not sure if the plants toughened up as they got older somehow, or if some predators arrived. But if you do have a bad attack, it can be painful to pick them all off by hand giving the very sharp thorns...

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by chrisdb View Post

                  For my taste, the older dessert varieties are some of the best, such as Whinham's Industry or Langley Gage. Rokula and Xenia are newer and also good. The Hinnomaki ones sold just about everywhere are ok but nothing special.
                  Oh, I agree with you completely about the taste of gooseberries - I much prefer them to blackcurrants myself - its just been my observation that for most people the reverse is true.

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                  • #10
                    My gooseberries are in partial shade,they get about three hours of sun a day,I’ve heard the best place for them is a windy site,the sawflys don’t like it & to generally neglect them,Ive never fed them or watered them except when they were new,they do really well,I've got a load of bulbs & dahlias that grow in front of them,I don’t know if that helps with anything,no space for weeds though & a lot are difficult for birds to get to. Some varieties might not like claustrophobia/powdery mildew conditions I don’t know I must have resistant varieties.

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                    • #11
                      I find that blackbirds round here prefer gooseberries to blackberries which are rarely touched until the wasps start on them. If left to sweeten unprotected, gooseberries won't be there.

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                      • #12
                        It is not a case of Gooseberries or Blackcurrants, I have both.
                        I want to relocate both as it happens. One new place is a long narrow new bed. And the ground is dry, solid as well.

                        I am adding something termed compost (questionable description) and it will improve the solidity, not sure about the moisture.

                        So it was just a case of which might do best in a not ideal place. The other ones go into a deeper area of ground, a bit less sun however.

                        Presently appear to have 5 blackcurrants (2 small) and 3 (maybe 4) gooseberries. Presently sharing a bed with a small apple (strange shaped apple tree) and a marjoram/oregano, which has run totally amok - bees love it.

                        Presently just a case of waiting - came off the mountain bike at the weekend and swollen bruised hand and somewhat tender ribs, cannot bend, cannot grip, cannot dig, cannot carry bags of compost, cannot complete the new bed either. Sneezing is painful also. All garden activities are kind of not possible. So investigating 5 veg varieties for next years sowing.
                        Last edited by Kirk; 23-09-2019, 06:58 PM.

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                        • #13
                          Blackcurrants definitely need more sun and feeding to do well.

                          Marjoram is basically a weed in my garden as well. I has a small happy patch and now I have so much I have to pull most of it up to keep it taking over completely. The bees do love it though.

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