What is Gooseberry?
Gooseberry (Ribes uva-crispa) is a hardy stiff stemmed deciduous shrub. It is part of the Grossulariaceae family and is native to Europe. It can be difficult to grow gooseberries in Australia unless you live in a frost zone as it really needs a below zero winter to fruit at its best. Gooseberries like a Winter chilling to facilitate flower/bud development and growth. The foliage is small and green and the flowers are pink, yellow or green. Usually a Summer fruiting plant, different varieties can produce fruit any where between late Spring to early Autumn. Fruit is usually large green, yellow, white. red or purple colour depending on the variety. The fruit is produced on last seasons wood so light annual pruning after fruiting is recommended. Gooseberries require a full sun position in your garden with well drained soils. The spot should be protected from hot afternoon sun and strong winds. It is self pollinating so you will only need one plant to produce fruit. Grow the canes against a wall or fence or support with a trellis. If grown in rows, allow 1.5m between rows. Harvest just before the berries reach full ripeness. You can leave them longer on the plant however they will be sweeter to eat but less effective for cooking.
Benefits of Growing Gooseberry
Gooseberries are tart to eat and are best for cooking. They make wonderful jams jellies and dessert pies. Gooseberries make an excellent laxative and have been used as a cleansing agent.
How to Grow Gooseberry
Cool, temperate. arid.
Height: 1m, Width: 1.5m
When To Plant Gooseberry
Plant in Winter.
They likes a rich, well drained soil. Before planting mix through well broken down animal manure, blood and bone or complete fertiliser into the soil.
How To Plant Gooseberry
Plant in full sun, 1-1.5m apart with the plant crown at soil level. Use a wall or fence or trellis for support.
Gooseberry Plant Care
For optimum fruit production canes need to be kept well watered. They will benefit from mulching in Spring to conserve moisture in Summer and keep their roots cool.
As growth starts apply a complete fertiliser and compost.
In Winter (when the plant is dormant) prune the canes that bore fruit down to the ground and tie dormant canes to the support. These will fruit the following year. Remove any dead or diseased growth. Any branches growing towards the center or low growing shoots at the base of the bush should also be removed to allow good air flow and sunlight to reach all parts of the plant.
Gooseberries do not like competition from weed plants so keep weeds and grass away from the plant base.
During fruiting time place a net over your canes to prevent birds from eating your berries.