I am always surprised that gooseberries are not more widely grown. Perhaps it's the thorns or maybe it's a memory of eating a cooker or an unripe desert variety. However, not only are they one of the earliest and most delicious soft fruit, they are also very tolerant plants - tolerant of just about any soil, partial shade, cooler climates and will carry on bearing fruit (albeit many fewer) if left unpruned. They can be productive for up to twenty years, reaching about 90cm high by 1.5m wide. As they are self-fertile, there are no pollination worries even if you only have space for one.
They are generally grown as bushes but can also be grown as cordons. 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. Cordons are 1 to 3 upright stems like the tines of a fork.
Note that pot-grown plants can be planted all year round.
|pH||5.5 - 6.5|