Position – Plant your gooseberries in full sun, if possible. They do tolerate partial shade but cannot survive in heavy frosts. Shelter your bush from strong winds. This berry is fairly drought-hardy.
Size – A mature bush will grow to a height of about 1.5 metres with a similar spread. So, give your new plants plenty of room to grow.
Soil – Loamy to sandy, well-drained soil is optimal for a healthy gooseberry bush. It should be kept moist and have a pH level of between 5.5 and 7.0. Sandy soil mixed with a little organic compost or potting soil is sufficient.
Just Berry Plants stocks volcanic rock dust with its organic minerals and trace elements. These keep your soil healthy and increase important micro-organisms in it.
Mulch – Organic compost and mulch like straw, wood chips or grass cuttings help to keep the moisture in the soil and the weeds away. Do not put the mulch close to the stems or branches, though, as it may cause them to rot.
Watering – Keep the soil around your bush moist during the growing season. It can tolerate drought but will not fruit during a drought.
Pruning – Most pruning is completed in winter when the bush is dormant. Cut out all dead and diseased wood and shoots growing too close to the ground.
Fertilising – Apply organic balanced fertiliser at the end of winter to give the plants a good start to the new season.
Pests – Gooseberry plants can be affected by cutworm and caterpillars. Watch out for these as they are airborne pests and can be treated with an organic pesticide.
Harvesting – Gooseberries are ready to pick from early summer onwards. Handle the soft plump fruits gently and wear thick gloves if the thorns become unbearable. Gooseberries are at their mouth-watering best immediately after picking. You can keep them fresh in polythene bags in the fridge for up to a week.