Growing Gooseberries -
Soil, Care, Pruning and Harvesting the Gooseberry Patch
GROWING GOOSEBERRIES - Overview
Growing gooseberries is a worthwhile
fruit to grow in the gooseberry patch as they are excellent for making jams
chutneys and wine
In fact, we have about 4
gooseberry wine recipes
for you to try!
Gooseberries usually grow in a
bush, although they can also
be trained to grow against a wall or fence and commonly known as a
various varieties of gooseberries
around from plants that produce tiny, sweet yellow sugary fruits to
ones that produce large, red dessert fruit one can extend the picking
season from early spring right through to the end of summer.
different varieties of
means that it is possible to
produce gooseberries that produce crops from late spring right through
the summer. Although traditionally grown as a bush, they can also
be grown along a cordon, and trained to grow along a wall or fence.
GROWING GOOSEBERRIES - Soil and Position
Growing gooseberries in full sun
Position your gooseberry
patch so that
they will have full sun. Gooseberries love to grow in a sunny
site which has well-drained
soil that is kept moist. Therefore a
perfect fruit to grow in a large container, as under these conditions
the soil's moisture content is easily controlled. However, gooseberries
will really grow in any type of soil, as long as it has been enriched
with well-rotted manure and composting material.
Gooseberries should never be planted where frost collects as they are
frost-tender and as
they flower in early spring, the frost will end up damaging the plant
and subsequent fruit.
GROWING GOOSEBERRIES - How many Gooseberry Plants do you Need?
will usually suffice for a typical family, as you
should get about 3.5 kg of fruit off your
year. However, if you want more
gooseberries, then you will have to plant
more of them.
gooseberries the plants
should be planted out in the autumn, with spacings
between each plant at 1.5 meters. Mulch
well-rotted compost around each plant to retain the moisture
content in the soil and water well, never letting the soil dry out.
Repeat the mulching process every spring.
In mature plants remove any shoots that
appear at the base of the plant less than 9 inches off the ground.
Growing gooseberries also means a free
invitation to the birds in the neighborhood to dine! If you find that
you are loosing too
much fruit to the birds, you may have to cover the bush with netting to
keep them out.
GROWING GOOSEBERRIES -Pruning
Your gooseberry bush will need to be
pruned in summer and in winter. In winter make sure that any dead wood
has been removed. Summer growth shoots should be cut back to one half
to two-thirds to a bud. Wait for it to bud, so that you can see where
to cut. Finally remove any weak shoots and prune so that sunlight will
be able to reach the center of the plant.
In summer you can prune
the side shoots
back to about 5 leaves to encourage fruit buds to form.
GROWING GOOSEBERRIES - Thining
If you don't thin out your harvest when
growing gooseberries you
will end up with lots of small berries. However, if you want to
increase the size of your berries you can start to thin them out when
they are big enough to use to 1 inch apart. You can do a second
thinning so that they are 3 inches apart. This will give you a smaller
yield but a larger berry.
GROWING GOOSEBERRIES - Raising New Plants
can be propagated by raising cuttings, although they do not always root
easily. Take cuttings in the autumn, about 15 cm long from the current
season's growth which should include some leafy growth. Cut off the top
3 inches of soft wood and rub off all the buds from the lower end,
leaving only 3 or 4 buds at the top. Dig a trench about 15 cm deep and
put a layer of sharp sand at the bottom. Bury your cuttings so that
only 2-3 buds are showing, and they are about 8-9 cm apart. They will
then be ready for transplanting the following autumn when they should
have rooted by then.
its name, the Cape gooseberry, grown in England and South Africa, and
orginating from South America is not a gooseberry at all, but more
related to the deadly nightshade family and is a close relative of the
As a kid I used to love peeling open the papery
outside to reveal the golden globe of fruit inside. The berries aren't
very big, and have very small seeds that you don't need to bother
about. The fruit is not sweet, however, and if you get a very sour
berry it can definately make your eye-balls twitch! Choose the berries
that are more orange or deep yellow in color, as these will be the
sweeter fruit to eat.
However, it's because of its tart flavor that people have used the Cape
Gooseberry for pies, tarts, and jams.
GROWING GOOSEBERRIES - Pests and Diseases
Occasionally gooseberries in your
gooseberry patch will suffer from
mildew and are attacked by caterpillars and other chewing pests. See
our page on Natural
for organic spray recipes to control
these problems. Mainly, however, you will have to wrestle with the
birds for your gooseberry harvest, and you may think of placing them
under nets if the threat is too bad.
problem with growing gooseberries is mildew
powdery residue that sits on the leaves, shoots and fruits of the
plant. The growths of the shoots will often be distorted if the problem
has existed for a time.
Cut out and destroy the parts affected
and then wash down with a weak solution of washing soda. Another
solution for powdery mildew on gooseberries is to take 1 cup chamomile
leaves and place in a non-metal bowl. Add 3 cups of boiling water and
allow to steep until cool. Strain. Dilute with equal parts of mixture
to water. Spray on affected areas.
Another pest that you have to
look out for on your gooseberry bushes are caterpillars
will decimate the leaves on the plants and reduce your plants to just
Treatment for caterpillars is to hand-pick them off your plants as best
you can and destroy them as soon as you see them.
Homemade Organic Pesticide Recipe for Sucking Insects
can also treat them with the following homemade organic pesticide
recipe as this organic pest control is useful against sucking
insects and some caterpillars.
90 g chopped garlic cloves
2 T mineral oil or liquid paraffin
15 g of pure soap or soap flakes
500 ml warm water.
garlic and oil together and let is steep for 48 hours. Dissolve grated
soap or flakes in warm water and then mix the 2 solutions together and
then strain. Use 1 part mixture to 50 parts water. Spray as usual.
excellent remedy for the gooseberry caterpillar
is to sprinkle soot on
the plants just as they are beginning to open their leaf buds.
Books on Gooseberries
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