How To: Grow Gooseberries From Seed
Growing gooseberries is rewarding for many years to come and have many health benefits. Gooseberries are considered to be one of the best plants for beginners in the art of gardening. They are easy to grow, they offer you a lot of fruit, and they make a nice bush for decoration in your garden.
Even though they’re easy, there are a few steps you can’t skip in growing them. In this article, we’ll go through the seven steps in growing gooseberries that will help you grow these berries easily in your garden.
Details for Growing Gooseberries
September to March
June and July
Temperature to Plant
50 – 70 F
4-5 ft apart
5 to 6 hours per day
Slightly acidic (6.0 to 6.8)
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Table of Contents
Seven Steps to Growing Gooseberries
Gooseberries do best in slightly acidic soil, with the right amount of moisture. It’s good to plant them in a soil which is constantly moist, because if they get too much water after a period of drought, the berries may swell too fast and burst.
In the UK, the weather is perfect for growing gooseberries because of the damp atmosphere; however, in slightly warmer climates, they’ll also do well if they have enough shade.
You need to make sure that you accurately test your soil to give your plants the best chance. This Apera kit has ±0.1 pH accuracy, see the star ratings over at Amazon.
Even though it’s a lot easier to grow a gooseberry from another plant’s cuttings, we are going to tell you how to use the seeds.
It’s quite easy actually: all you have to do is soak the seeds in a little bit of hot water to increase the chances of germination and dry them before you put them into the soil. Put each seed at a depth of 0,25 inches and water copiously.
If you have a cutting from another plant, all you have to do is bury the cutting one to two inches deep and water it generously when you first plant it. Cuttings should be around eight inches in length. It’s easy to get one; just go to the closest garden center and ask if they would be kind enough to provide you with one.
Time of Year
The best time to plant gooseberries is from late autumn to early spring. These plants do not really require specific temperatures, other than avoiding planting them in the summer when it’s too hot outside. As we mentioned before, the UK weather is perfect for them since they require damp soil and a lot of moisture in the air – this could be the case in your region.
You can also buy potted gooseberry plants all year long, but they’re way more costly than getting a cutting or seeds, which you can also get from their fruits.
The best way to germinate your seeds so that they have a great start is with a germination kit. Seeds that are grown this way produce greater results. Check the specs of the MXIC over at Amazon.
As gooseberries aren’t too demanding, you can plant them either inside a pot or in open soil. Just use a mixture of manure and fresh soil to help the seeds or cuttings to germinate, in a proportion of 1/1.
Fast Growing Gooseberries
If you are planting them in open soil, beware of leaving enough space for the gooseberry plants to grow, as they grow quite fast and it’s easier to leave a bit of space for them other than having to transplant them.
Gooseberries don’t need much water, but their soil should be constantly damp. If your weather provides for a damp soil during winter and spring, you’ll have no issues. However, if you need to water them, take care to water them sparsely every few days to prevent the fruits from bursting from too much water at once.
Gooseberries do not need weeding unless you buy them potted and they have dry leaves at the bottom. Other than that, you can let them grow as they wish so you should pick a place where they can grow freely.
About pests, there are a few you should be aware of, like the Gooseberry Sawfly. To prevent them from harming your plant, you should look around the soil to be aware of any larvae. Without the need to use chemicals, you can wait around spring when their eggs are laid on the plant, look for the eggs and remove or break them. That should avoid the need for any more measures against this pest.
You should also be aware of what’s called the American Gooseberry Mildew. It will show up as what seems to be a white powder covering the new shoots. This white powder causes the leaves to dry and curl up.
You should nonetheless prune your gooseberry plants by cutting the dry or brown leaves.
The best way to deal with this is by pruning the shoots and branches affected by it. If you prune it beforehand, make sure to leave space at the center of the plant so that air will circulate effectively to avoid mildew.
The harvesting time for gooseberries depends highly on the weather. In the UK, gooseberries will be ready for pick up between late June and early July, but it will also depend on the type of gooseberry (since there are several different species of gooseberries, some sweeter than others and in different colors).
There are several ways to store your gooseberries, but the best ways to use it include conserving it with a large amount of sugar and some orange juice. If you’re using green gooseberries, which are the most common, then a fruit conserve or jam is the best way to keep your gooseberries since they’re usually too bitter to be eaten fresh.
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One of the issues people have is that their crops produce all at once. The best way to overcome this is with a dehydrator so you can store your food for years. The best one on the market is the Excalibur with a 10 year guarantee, see it at Amazon.
You can also freeze your gooseberries for use in sweets afterwards if they’re sweet enough: however, don’t forget to rinse them thoroughly in freshwater before freezing them.
Growing Gooseberries is Easy
As you can see, gooseberries are quite easy to grow and will decorate your garden quite nicely. That’s why many gardening beginners choose them to first populate their garden – they’re quite easy to plant and to grow, require almost no attention and they’ll give you a huge amount of fruit.
You should pick the yellow or red varieties of gooseberries since they are sweeter: however, if all you have available is green gooseberries, do not worry.
They’re still nice to make conserves with or a nice marmalade. I hope have enjoyed following this step by step guide on growing gooseberries, have fun with this latest addition to your garden!