What does gooseberry mean
Care of gooseberry bushes
In early spring, gooseberries need a nitrogen-reduced fertilizer that is as concentrated on potash as possible, because plants that are supplied with too much nitrogen get powdery mildew much more quickly than slightly “hungry” gooseberries.
Mulching in the root area suppresses weeds and keeps the moisture in the soil, but the mulch material must not reach the trunks, as this can lead to rot. In dry weather in spring and summer, the gooseberry bushes must be watered regularly so that they do not dry out. In order to harvest the berries that are as beautiful and large as possible for fresh enjoyment, you can thin out the curtain before ripening - this is known as green picking.
As a preventative fight against gooseberry powdery mildew, you should shorten the shoot tips. Thanks to successful breeding work, there are now also yellow, green and red gooseberry varieties that are more resistant to this dreaded disease. Fungal infestation can usually only occur if these varieties are immediately surrounded by heavily infested shrubs and the weather promotes infection. If the bushes are particularly rich, half of the fruits are picked when they are already unripe and they are canned. By picking them out, you can achieve a better development of the remaining fruits.
Cut the gooseberry bushes
So that gooseberry bushes always bear plenty of fruit on the 2- and 3-year-old wood, the oldest shoots are cut back close to the ground every year in early spring. In addition, you remove weak and crossed growing shoots as well as dead wood. Even shoots that grow flat too close to the ground are cut out, because when they bear fruit, the soil contaminates them and is no longer suitable for consumption. Leave about seven to eight fruiting shoots - that's enough. In addition, a few young shoots are left on the gooseberries, which should replace older ones in the coming year. This is cut by about half in order to prevent any powdery mildew infestation.
Pulling gooseberry high stems
Gooseberry high trunks receive a support post that must reach into the crown. It is hammered into the planting hole before it is actually set. After planting, tie the high trunk to the stake. Coconut, jute and bast are harmless materials and are particularly suitable. Do not tie too tightly in order to prevent later cutting into the trunk and to be able to catch the settlement of the soil. Check the binding during the growth period and renew if necessary.
The crowns should be loose in their structure. 3–4 strong shoots are sufficient for building the crown. When pruning, these are cut back to 3–4 buds. In any case, the top last bud must face outwards in order to achieve an even crown structure. All (wild) shoots of the gooseberries that later appear below the crown or come out of the ground must be constantly removed. This works best on gooseberry bushes by digging up or uprooting them. The latter option should be carried out with a strong jerk so that no buds remain at the root base that would otherwise soon sprout again. But be careful: the gooseberry doesn't bear its name for nothing, so we urgently recommend wearing sturdy gloves!
Gooseberries are ready for harvest from the end of June to the end of July. The right time has come as soon as the berries change color from poison green to yellow, in red varieties to purple-red and feel soft. Overripe fruits burst and taste a bit floury and bland. The gooseberry harvest time extends over two to three weeks, so the bushes have to be picked several times at intervals of a few days. So that the fruits are not damaged, the berries are pinched off together with the stem: This is how they keep in the refrigerator for a few days.
Ideally, the gooseberries that you want to store should be processed into compote and jam immediately after harvesting or canned in jars. Stems and remains of flowers must be carefully removed. You can also preserve gooseberries in the freezer. However, the thawed fruits are slightly mushy and are only suitable for compote or as a topping for cakes and no longer for eating raw.
Gooseberry - Possible Pests, Diseases, and Other Problems
A particularly feared pest on gooseberries is the gooseberry spider, whose caterpillars devour a bush in a very short time. Aphids can also occur, but they are usually not a major problem. Fungal diseases include gooseberry powdery mildew, and leaf spot diseases sometimes cause problems. The first signs of diseases and pests on gooseberries are first treated by suitable measures such as pruning or collecting the pests. If this does not lead to sufficient success, you can fall back on suitable pesticides approved for the garden. If powdery mildew occurs shortly before the harvest, you should of course wait until after the harvest to combat it, so that the gooseberries remain edible! In order to avoid powdery mildew infestation, you should fall back on powdery mildew-resistant varieties when buying and not fertilize the plants with too much nitrogen. In winter and early spring, birds, especially bullfinches, like to peck at the gooseberry buds. When the fruits are ripe, other birds also like to nibble on them - a net can prevent damage to the plants and thus excessive harvest losses.
Do gooseberries need a pollinator?
Gooseberries bloom quite early in March to April and are therefore sensitive to late frosts. Their inconspicuous, yellow-green flowers are usually singly or in small clusters together. Because the male pollen often develops before the stigma of the female flowers, you should, although the plants are theoretically self-fertile, plant at least two different varieties with different flowering and ripening times together to ensure pollination and thus a rich harvest. The downward sloping flower is pollinated by bees and flies.
Gooseberry bushes and tall trunks from gardener Pötschke
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