How to grow blackcurrants
Find out how to grow a delicious crop of blackcurrants, in our practical guide.
Blackcurrants are easy to grow. Bushes establish and fruit with relatively little effort and will crop plentifully for many years. You may find you have more fruit than you can use immediately but the berries freeze well, so you can enjoy the fruit all year.
You’ll get the largest harvest and sweetest fruits from bushes grown in a sunny spot. However they’ll still produce a reasonable crop when grown in light shade. They relish a little additional watering during dry spells and some feeding and mulching from time to time. They rarely suffer much in the way of pests and diseases.
Blackcurrants can be planted as bare-root bushes (you can also plant pot-grown bushes all year round). During wet or very cold weather, dig a trench for bare-root plants and firm soil around the roots for protection till conditions improve. If you’re short on space, you can grow blackcurrants in large containers – a half barrel or similar – but you’ll need to make sure the plants don’t go short of water.
You Will Need
- Blackcurrant bush
- Well-rotted manure or garden compost
- Mycorrhizal fungi
- Bucket of water
- Watering can
To prepare bare-root plants for permanent planting, prune off damaged and excessively long roots. Soak roots of plants in a bucket of water for 20 minutes to make sure they are moist.
Dig a hole large enough to accommodate the roots and add a couple of forkfuls of organic matter into the planting area. Add a sprinkle of mycorrhizal fungi to encourage root growth.
Position the roots in the hole and backfill with a mix of soil and compost, firming it in place with your heel. Aim to plant the union between the roots and stems just below the soil.
Water the bush in well. Water plants regularly in dry weather. The size of your crop will increase as the plant becomes established. Pick the fruits when they are fully black. Freeze if you don’t want to eat them immediately.
Prune blackcurrants in winter, when they are dormant. Fruit forms on young wood, so cut out the older, fruited stems.
Blackcurrants are easy to grow, and are great for making jam, puddings and cordial. Buy one blackcurrant ‘Ben Hope’ bush for just £7.61, saving 15 per cent, when your order by Sunday 9 February, 2014.
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