Gooseberries grow easily in the UK and thrive in different soil types. Sunny sites are their favourite. You can grow stems as cordons, bushes or along the wall. Not only this, you can even grow them in containers.  

Growing Gooseberries

  • Add organic matter into the soil. Bark chips and garden compost act as the best organic matter for gooseberries. This step is essential because it helps the soil retain moisture. Water the plants every 14 days in dry weather conditions. 
  • Monitor the watering schedule of gooseberries grown in containers because they struggle in dry weather. You really should prevent them from drying out. 
  • Feed the plants with one handful of high potash fertiliser in each square metre/yard in early spring.  
  • Please don’t feed them with nitrogen. Nitrogen boosts the growth of sap, which ultimately invites gooseberry mildew.  
  • Prune and train the gooseberries in order to get better and larger fruits.

Planting Gooseberries

Early spring and late autumn is the perfect time to plant the bare-root gooseberries. However, you can plant the plants grown in containers at any time. 

For planting the gooseberries, choose 2-3 years old bushes which contain 4-6 inches clear stem and 3-5 main branches. 

The spacing conditions of the gooseberries depend on the cultivar. For instance, you must ensure that bush plants are 4-5 feet apart and cordons are 12-15 inches apart. 

You can plant the cordon by tying them to a bamboo cane with a 51/2ft dimension. Then, secure the cordons with the help of horizontal wires. Ensure a distance of 2-4 ft between these horizontal wires. 

Harvesting Gooseberries

June is when you can harvest the under-ripe fruits to make sauces, tarts, pies and jam. Moreover, you can harvest the remaining fruits in July and August when they are ripe.  

Ripened berries are very soft. So, you have to be careful to harvest them. Then, store the extra fruits in polythene bags and freeze them for later use. 


Common problems

Gooseberry mildew

This mildew results in the development of white fungus on stems and leaves. Even the fruit may get infested with it, leading to ripening problems. 


  • Remove the infected leaves and stems immediately and dispose of them
  • Ensure the air circulation through bushes by planting them at enough distance

Gooseberry sawfly

The larvae of the gooseberry sawfly look similar to the larva of the caterpillar. The pale green larvae defoliate the plants. It usually damages the plants in mid to late spring. Moreover, they reside over the plant for their three-generation. In a nutshell, gooseberry sawfly prevails the plants through the summer. 


  • Keep monitoring the plants from mid-spring onward to identify their invasion immediately. We would suggest that you should examine the bushes and under the leaves. 
  • Remove their larvae manually.


Vegetables, leaves, buds, fruit and seedlings are the parts the birds eat the most. So, you must take preventive measures to save your plants.


  • Bird-scaring or scarecrows helps prevent the birds’ attack. 
  • Use net or fleece to cover the plants.  

Check out 17 gooseberry recipes on the Delicious website.

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08/06/2021 | Fruit | 0 Comments

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