Blackcurrants

Blackcurrants

Blackcurrants grow easily. They produce dark purple bunches in mid-summer. Rich in Vitamin C, blackcurrants feature a slightly ‘tart’ flavour. So, you can use it for cordials, jams, and pies.

If you want to grow blackcurrants and don’t have enough space, grow them in containers.   

Growing Blackcurrants

Apply two handfuls of high potassium general fertiliser per square meter/yard in mid-spring. Vitax 4 is one of the best available fertilisers.  

Apply mulch to the plants. It will not allow the weeds to grow well. 

Don’t hoe at the base of the bushes. Hoeing the bushes at the base of the3 plants could cut off the developing shoots. 

Water the plants when they start growing.

Pruning Blackcurrants

The time to prune the bushes starts in late autumn and ends in late winter. Dormant blackcurrants benefit from pruning. 

How does pruning benefit your plants? Well, pruning amputates the older wood, leaving the young wood. This is because the fruits grow best on younger wood. 

  • Make sure there are 6-10 healthy shoots on the pants after removing the week shoots. 
  • Cut 1/3rd of older wood in the fourth year. You can use a good pruning saw or sharp loppers. This encourages the development of healthy wood.
  • Remove any shoots that are pointing towards the ground.

Blackcurrants Grown in Containers

Repot the blackcurrants grown in containers every 2-3 years. The best time to repot the container is in late winter.

Remove the old shoots.

Replace the soil around the plants with fresh John Innes No 3 compost.

Feed the plants with liquid in summer.

Feed the plant with freshly prepared compost and general-purpose fertiliser.

Planting Blackcurrants

The best planting conditions for planting is a moisture-retentive and well-drained soil. Besides, it’s essential to plant them in a nice sunny and shady site. Moreover, we recommend you buying certified stock from a reputable nursery, either local or online.

In this way, you can get rid of the virus issues.

Blackcurrants are available in the market in two forms:

  • Bare-root stock: the roots of the plants will be exposed. You can plant them starting from autumn to early spring.
  • Containerised plant: the roots of the plants will be in containers. You can plant throughout the winter. 

Here’s a step by step process for planting:

  • Clear all the perennial weeds from the soil.
  • Feed the plant with well-rotted manure.
  • Apply 85 g of general-purpose fertiliser per square meter.
  • Dig the hole in the soil and spread the plants’ roots.
  • Plant the blackcurrants in the depth of 2.5 inches. Deep planting is essential because it helps in the development of vigorous shoots.
  • Place the soil around the plant and firm it well.
  • Water the plants generously to settle them in.

Prune the shoots when they reach 1 inch. Of course, while pruning, you have to sacrifice the fruit of 1st year. But pruning will help the shoot development. Don’t prune the plants grown in containers too hard.

Planting in Containers

  • If you wish to plant the blackcurrant in containers, make sure the container has a diameter of around 18-20 inches.
  • Place a crock over the pot’s drainage hole, as you do with any other pot planting.
  • Apply multi-purpose compost. Make sure you have applied the compost with 1/3rd of grit added to it and mixed in well.

Harvesting Blackcurrants

Based on the variety, your fruit would be ready to harvest from early summer. However, you’ll observe less uniformity in the ripening of old varieties. You will observe that the truss at the tops will be ready to harvest first. In such a scenario, you have to pick the currants one by one.    

However, some other varieties, such as “Ben Connan,” “Ben Lomond,” “Ben Hope”, and “Ben Sarek”, are easy to harvest. Once the fruits turn black, you can use a knife or secateurs to cut the fruit trusses.   

It’s better to use this fruit within a few days once you harvest it. You can also freeze or cook them. Besides, making smoothies, jelly or jam is also a good option.

blackcurrants

Common problems

Birds

Birds, especially those pesky pigeons, can cause damage to the crop. They can quickly gobble up the seedlings, fruit, buds, leaves, and vegetables.  

Remedy

  • Cover the plants with fleece or net.
  • Bird-scaring or scarecrows could also help.

Blackcurrant gall midge

These are tiny white maggots that eat the tips of blackcurrants shoots. They don’t allow the shoots to develop.

Consequently, the leaves and shoot tips die off.

Remedy

  • Remove the infected leaves if the attack is minor. However, picking off too many leaves will ultimately decrease the yield.  Sow varieties resistant to blackcurrant gall midge. Such varieties include “Ben Sarek” and “Ben Connan.”

Big bud mite

The blackcurrant bushes are prone to infestation by the mites.

Remedy

  • Pick off the affected buds of lightly infested plants.
  • Discard the plant, which is infested heavily. Make sure you have picked the fruits first, though.
  • Always buy certified plants from the nurseries. One such certified and mite resistant variety is “Ben Hope.”

Gooseberry mildew

It appears on the stems and leaves as white fungus and powdery grey. Besides, it also infects the fruits, leading to problematic ripening. Finally, poor circulation of air is the cause of Gooseberry mildew.

Remedy

  • Remove the infected leaves and stems
  • Ensure that there is a reasonable distance between the plants

Here are some great recipes from Tin and Thyme

For more information or assistance with this article, or if you want to add something that you feel is relevant, we would love to hear from you via the Contact Us page.

07/28/2021 | Fruit | 0 Comments

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