Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Beginners guide to growing Blackcurrants.

Blackcurrant bushes are the easiest of the soft fruits to grow and nearly always yield well. The fruit suits many uses – jams, jucing, pies, preserves, yoghurt, freezing etc that you can never have too many. Blackcurrants should be an essential of any fruit planting programme. They are very hardy and usually grow well anywhere, including a partly shaded site if necessary.
They should be grown as normal bushes; they are generally unsuited to cordon training. They can however also be grown as a standard - a normal 'bush' grafted onto a 3.5 - 4' stem. This makes harvesting easier with no bending and can make a nice formal feature for the kitchen garden or a large pot.
Dress the soil with sulphate of ammonia or bonemeal before planting & make sure it is well dug over. Space the bushes 5’ apart, less for a compact variety like ‘Ben Sarek’.
Is easy; simply cut all the stems that have fruited that summer, right down to the ground, in the Autumn. This leaves the new growths to fruit next summer.
The newer ‘Ben’ prefix varieties are by far the best and combine useful added frost resistance together with quality fruit in abundance. Ben Connan is noted for it’s extra large berries. Ben Tirran is useful because it is later & etends the picking season into August. Ben Nevis is quite possibly the most prolific of all. Ben Sarek is a lovely compact grower; space just 3’ apart, suitable for growing in containers if need be, and can even be grown as a hedge planted at the optimum distance.

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