Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Growing Gooseberries

When we started setting up the smallholding, I planted a few soft fruit bushes. They were very small and took a while to develop. Among them were nine gooseberry plants. Three Invicta (green), three Hinnomaki Yellow and three Hinnomaki Red.

We have had a pretty good crop from these for the past two years, but one thing has become clear. We do not have enough soft fruits as, even with freezing, we run out of them halfway through the year.

So last year I decided to try something completely whacky. When the gooseberries were fully ripe I planted them, just as you would with seeds. I planted them about 2" deep (5cm in new money) in rows 12" apart, kept them watered during the driest part of the summer and left them to it. I've not heard of anyone growing gooseberries in this way before and I wasn't expecting any great results. However, in theory the gooseberries are fruits containing seeds so there is no reason why it shouldn't work, unless somehow the fertility had been bred out of them.

Well, by late August about 60% of them had germinated. I even had to thin some of them as multiple seeds from within the gooseberry had sprouted.

I pretty much forgot about them during the winter, as they were in a 'spare' bed a little away from the other crops. Weeds grew up amongst them and they sort of got lost.

But last week I remembered them while I was transplanting the more conventionally grown currant cuttings (black, red and white).

More conventional cuttings. I put these in at the beginning of winter.
They will be ready to transplant in early spring next year.
The weeds had died down over winter and the gooseberries had grown into decent sized little bushes with healthy root systems. I was really quite pleasantly surprised.

I have now moved them in with the older gooseberry bushes and already, in just their first year, they do not look out of place. I'd be surprised if I don't get a half decent crop on them this year. If I'd taken cuttings, I'd be looking at an extra year till cropping.
I also had enough new plants to dot others around the smallholding.

The new plants
looking at home with the more established bushes.

It seems that nature's way is best after all.

It looks like this year there'll be plenty of GOOSEBERRY FOOL!


  1. You won't find that propagation advice in the gardening books! Just goes to show- it is often worth a try.

  2. This sort of advice is reserved for April 1st!
    Check out the last 2 words of the post!!!

  3. Replies
    1. Sorry about that, I am prone to occasional bouts of mischief.


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