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Currants and Gooseberries

Currants & Gooseberries Varieties

Some states have restrictions on growing currants and gooseberries.
Prior to ordering, please contact your local Extension office or Department of Agriculture to determine if there are restrictions in your state.
DelawareNew Jersey Maine * Massachusetts * North Carolina * New Hampshire * New York
Rhode Island MichiganOhio * West Virginia * Virginia 

A genus of plants hardly known or grown in North America. We have heard of them as currants and gooseberries. They are a major fruit crop in Northern Europe and black currant juice is to the Europeans as orange juice is to us. They have not been produced widely in the U.S. for many reasons--the major reason being a federal ban on plants as they thought white pine blister rust could be eliminated by eradication of the alternative host (currants) this was not the case and the federal ban was lifted, however local bans are still in effect in some regional areas. This group of plants is experiencing the fastest growth of any offerings we have ever been involved with. The interest in back yard and commercial production has been amazing and we are increasing our planting stock supply this demand. Currants and gooseberries are widely used in jams, jellies, syrups, juices and wine, pies and pastries and other tasty treats. Some dessert quality gooseberries can be eaten fresh.

Currants and gooseberries are very hardy and can be grown in most northern production areas on well drained soil with good water retaining capacity such as clay loam. If your soils are sandy you will need to mulch and irrigate. Your new planting should be made into weed-free, deeply-worked soils with a pH between 6 and 7.

Plants should be planted in rows 9 to 12 feet apart depending on equipment used. Some growers do use plastic mulch for the establishment years to reduce weeding. Currants are spaced 2 to 4 feet apart going down the row as you will be working for a solid hedge row of plants when the planting is mature. Gooseberries are planted 4 to 5 feet apart going down the row and will maintain a single crown culture throughout their production life. When planting new plants, prune back to leave only 1 or 2 buds above the ground on each existing stem. In the second year, after planting prune out all weak and damaged canes and also any low growing canes. For detailed pruning of established plantings we suggest reading the Currants and Gooseberries Culture Guide.

Well maintained plantings can produce bountiful harvests for many many years so be sure to plant your new planting in an area that will be fit for the long run. The unique flavor and aroma of currants and the novelty of gooseberries will continue to make these plants a great selection for the active gardener and marketer looking for something new and different. Order early as our newest and most unique varieties are in limited supply. Currants and gooseberries prefer full sun but will grow in partial shade.

 

PRUNING BLACK CURRANTS

A) In the spring of the first year: following planting, prune back all shoots to 1 or 2 buds.

B) Second spring: following the severe spring pruning, new vigorous shoots have grown from the base of plants during the last season. Select 4 to 7 vigorous stems and remove.

C) Third spring: cut out weak, damaged or diseased shoots as well as shoots in excess of 10 to 12. Keep 3 to 4 two-year-old stems and 4 to 8 one-year-old stems.

D) Fourth spring and subsequent years: prune out to ground level damaged, weak or diseased shoots. Remove all three- year- old stems,thin out to 4 the two-year-old stems and to 4 to 8 for the one-year- old stems.