Gooseberry Shrub

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Gooseberry shrub — Ribes uva-crispa

The gooseberry shrub is not only a pretty plant but rewards its owners with a crop of delicious, translucent green berries that appear in early July. The berries are the size of grapes and appear in groups of one, two or three. It’s a hardy plant and easy to grow.

The plant is not very fussy about soil and can even be grown successfully in a pot or trained to grow against a wall. The bare root bushes should be planted in the cooler weather such as early spring or late autumn. Space the plants 4 to 5 feet apart. Plants that are grown in containers can be planted at any time.

Gooseberry shrubs do best in full sun but can also do well in part shade. It grows to about 5 feet tall.

After the bush is planted, mulch with rotted compost or other organic material. This helps to conserve water and suppress weeds. Feed the bushes sulphate of potash in the late winter, and if the plant looks like it needs a bit of pampering, give it some bone or blood meal, also in the late winter or early spring. The gooseberry shrub does not need too much watering, but if there’s a drought, it should be watered thoroughly every two weeks. Do not let the soil of gooseberries grown in pots dry out completely.

Gooseberries do not need to be planted with other gooseberries because they are self-fruitful. The shrub will start producing fruit about a year to three years after they are planted, and the fruit will appear on old wood. The pinkish-green flowers appear in early spring and sometimes linger even after the fruit has developed. Just pluck them off before you eat the berry. At the end of the season, prune away canes, shoots or damaged branches to allow air circulation, and encourage a large crop of fruit.

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