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Blackcurrant (Ribes nigrum)   Edit Report inappropriate crop

Arguably more troublesome to grow than the other soft fruit - early flowering varieties are susceptible to late frosts and they are affected by a wide range of pests. However, they are more tolerant of wet soils and are ideal in more acid areas. And, nothing quite compares with the tart sweetness of blackcurrant jam.

They are less amenable to training that their cousins, the goosebery and red/white currants so are normally grown as a bush, which can reach 1.5m high by 1.5 wide. The key to success with blackcurrants is planting them properly - 5cm below the depth at which they were previously planted. This, along with regular pruning of older stems right back to the ground, will ensure a constant supply of the one to three-year-old growth that will produce fruit.

Likes and dislikes
pH5.5 - 7.0
Previous cropdislike
Previous autumnok
Before plantingprefer
Full sunprefer
Partial shadeok

Dormant bare root

plant plant

Between plants: 150cm
Between rows: 150cm

Dig a hole slightly wider than necessary to spread out the roots and slightly deeper than necessary, to ensure the crown is 5cm below soil level. Backfill with soil enriched with plenty of compost or manure. Cut down all stems to the first bud above ground level - 2.5-5cm.

harvest harvest

Blackberries are ready a week or so after they have fully coloured. Harvest by cutting whole strings from the plant - berries picked individually will not last.

prune prune

From the second year after planting, cut out dead, diseased or weak stems, and those which are crossing the centre of the plant. Cut up to a third of the remainder back to ground level, to make room for, and encourage those which will bear fruit in two season's time.

Top tips
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Weed suppressing (simonsmithster - 10:34 17/01/2014) Report inappropriate tip
Perennials like currants need acid soil and damp but not wet conditions. I grow on the downs alkali thin and dry. Every year I get old bicycle boxes from bike shops and ask tree surgeons for a load of their chippings. Most tree surgeons are happy to give these away. I lay down the boxes and cover with chippings deep about 6 inches. Brilliant weed suppressing mulch and it disappears during the course of a year.
1 vote
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