How to Grow Currants and Gooseberries
Choose a sunny location, but avoid southern exposure and southern-facing slopes since intense sun may injure the plants. Currant and gooseberry plants will tolerate partial shade. Plant currants and gooseberries in good, well-draining soil which contains at least 2–3% organic matter. Planting on a slight slope will facilitate air circulation. Dormant, bare=root plants should be set slightly deeper than they were in the nursery. Cover the plug with ½ inch of soil and do not prune.
Maintain adequate moisture levels, especially immediately following planting. Plants should receive one to two inches of rainfall or the equivalent per week, throughout the growing season. Gooseberry fruit will sunburn more easily if the soil is too dry. Planting on a slope facilitates water drainage. If you use overhead irrigation, irrigate early in the day so the plant will dry before evening. This practice will help impede diseases. Drip irrigation is the most efficient irrigation method and healthiest for the plants.
No fertilization is required during the planting year. In the following years, apply 5 ounces of 10-10-10 per plant. Apply the fertilizer in the spring, or apply half the amount (2 ½ ounces) in the spring and apply the 2 ½ balance in mid to late summer. Don’t fertilize after July 1. Currant and gooseberry plants respond well to organic matter amendments.
CURRANT AND GOOSEBERRY PLANTS QUICK REFERENCE
- Three to four feet between plants
- Rows should be at least six feet apart
- Choose a sunny location, but avoid southern exposure
- Planting on a slope facilitates drainage
- One to two inches of rainfall or equivalent per week
- Maintain adequate moisture, especially following planting
- Gooseberry fruit will sunburn more easily if the soil is too dry
- None is required during the planting year
- In following years, five ounces of 10–10–10 per plant in spring or split with half in spring and half in summer
- pH: 6.0 – 6.5
- Cultivation by scuffle hoe or manual weeding is needed
- Mulch will assist with weed control
- Straw, sawdust, or woodchips can be applied at two to four inches
- Contact a local extension before using chemicals
- Black currants have different pruning needs from red currants and gooseberries. See pruning guides for specific techniques.
- Black currants produce better with two or more varieties.