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Currant, red and white (Ribes rubrum)   Edit Report inappropriate crop

Although redcurrants are widely available in the shops as a tart garnish on restaurant puddings, white currents, which are slightly sweeter are not as common. Like their cousins, the gooseberry, with which they share cultivation requirements and many of the same diseases, they are remarkably easy to grow. They are happy with some shade, will grow on almost any soil and cope well in colder areas - just avoid waterlogging and frost pockets which could damage those early flowers. As they are self-fertile, there are no pollination worries even if you only have space for one.

They are generally grown as bushes - growth can be up to 2m x 90cm - but can also be grown as cordons - 1 to 3 upright stems like the tines of a fork. While bushes generally give a greater yield per plant, cordons take up less room and make picking fruit, and the inevitabe pests, easier. With bushes, the aim is to produce a goblet shape to allow plenty of air to circulate, reducing the chances of mildew.

Note that pot-grown plants can be planted all year round.

Likes and dislikes
pH6.0 - 7.0
Previous cropok
Previous autumnprefer
Before plantingok
Full sunprefer
Partial shadeok

Dormant bare root

plant plant

Between plants: 150cm
Between rows: 150cm

Plant in a pre-prepared hole with the nursery soil mark at soil level. Spread out the roots as far as possible and backfill with soil and compost - avoid rich manure as it may encourage mildew-susceptible sappy growth. Firm in well, water and mulch to suppress weeds. If the plant has not already been cut back by the supplier, cut back all main branches by about a half for a bush. For a cordon, trim the main upright by half and the side branches (laterals) to the bud nearest the stem.

harvest harvest

Pick whole clusters of fruit (not individual berries) while they are fully coloured and shiny.

prune prune

Cut out dead and diseased wood. For bush-grown plants, cut back new growth of main branches (leaders) by about half and cut back side-shoots from those main branches to 5cm. Aim to prune out any branches which cross the centre of the plant, leaving it goblet-shaped. For cordons, cut back this year's growth of the vertical branches to 15cm. When they reach the desired height, limit this to one bud's distance. Side branches should be trimmed right back to about 2.5cm.

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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