Currants and gooseberries are hardy perennial shrubs that thrive best in well-drained, cool, moist soil. The tart berries produced by the shrubs are commonly used in jellies, jams and baked goods such as gooseberry pie. For best results, fertilise both currants and gooseberries annually, after they start bearing fruit. Fertilising the shrubs results in vigorous growth, healthy berry production and dark green leaves.
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Things you need
- Stable manure, green manure, mulch or commercial fertiliser
- Garden spade
Work a generous amount of well-rotted manure or compost into prepared soil six months to a year before planting currants or gooseberries. After the initial treatment, delay fertilising until after the plants produce berries.
Measure the correct amount of fertiliser for the shrubs. If using stable manure, green manure or mulch, use ½ bushel per shrub per year. If using commercial fertiliser, use ¼ to 0.151kg. per shrub per year of 10-10-10 or 12-12-12 fertiliser. These numbers indicate the ratio of nitrogen to phosphorous to potassium.
Apply fertiliser in early spring, while the shrubs are still dormant. Spread the fertiliser around each shrub in a band from the canes to a foot past the branch terminals.
Work the fertiliser lightly into the soil using a garden spade.
Tips and warnings
- If you use compost as fertiliser, apply it in late fall, since compost releases nutrients more slowly.
- If using straw or sawdust as mulch, use twice as much fertiliser.
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- University of Minnesota Extension; Currants and Gooseberries in the Home Garden; Doug Foulk; July 2008
- Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service; Currants and Gooseberries; Richard A. Hayden et al; April 2001
- Connecticut Cooperative Extension System; Suggested Fertilizer Practices for Brambles, Currants and Gooseberries; Dawn Pettinelli