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If planted out as new this year aim to cut out any branches growing inward.  What you want growing next year is a plant which grows and allows lots of air to flow through the centre.

Just prune off the tops of other branches this year, it will take at least 2 yrs for your new plant to come into it's prime, taking this year as yr 1.

Fishy65

OK thank you to you both. So basically its encouraging the plant to send its new growth outwards while keeping the centre uncluttered. The new growth these last two months has been predominantly upwards in one long shoot.

pansyface

Yes, that's normal. By cutting it back in the winter you will encourage others to sprout. Gooseberry bushes are often rather floppy, sprawling things so the more cuts to upward pointing buds the better. Outward ones are good because, as you say, it keeps the centre open and less liable to mildew.

Gardenmaiden

I've got two red gooseberry bushes. I had sawfly on one the first year but nothing this year, loads of gooseberries. Definitely plant on the ground, and trim in autumn/winter to a goblet shape (which I will be doing) so the fruits are easier to get to.

 

Fishy65

I've got reds too Gardenmaiden  Can't wait til next year

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Dordogne Damsel

I know I must sound like a philistine but I have 6 gooseberry bushes edging my potage. I have made enough jam to sink a ship, we have eaten gooseberry fool all summer and I have frozen the rest for gooseberry crumble come winter and now am wondering if I ought to rip half the bushes up to make way for something more inspiring. 

First of all I hate picking them, hands get ripped to shreds and secondly they are taking up a lot of space. Do you think there is a reason they were planted as a border to veg patch? Happy to keep them if they serve a useful purpose, but really. have definitely had more than enough gooseberries for this year. And, before anyone suggests I share them with neighbours, I don't have any - could maybe set up a jam stall on the local market though. Did find a lovely recipe for gooseberry chutney - that is lovely but really 6 bushes.....

pansyface

Well, it takes all types to make a world, I suppose. I have six gooseberry bushes and I enjoy growing them and eating the fruit. The picking is a bit of a bore, as is the topping and tailing, but nobody makes me do it.

Obviously, the previous gardener  of your garden liked gooseberries. If you don't then pull them out. It's your garden. Make it suit you.

Fishy65

Lol Damsel,your post made me chuckle.There's me just starting out with two young bushes and you're knee deep in them. Have you thought about leaving some for the birds? I'm sure they would be delighted to help you out 

Dordogne Damsel

Have found a short cut to topping and tailing PF, if you freeze them and then shake them vigorously in the freezer bag they top and tail themselves.

Also Fishy, I have left some for the birds but they don't seem too keen . Now I'm afraid when you walk by that part of the garden it smells a bit like a brewery as they lie fermenting on the ground, not sure that is good gardening practice. I am going to dig them all in and cover with straw, seems that what previous owner did looking at amount of left over straw. 

Not sure I can bring myself to pull them out, they are so healthy looking and have produced so much fruit, maybe by next year I won't be feeling quite so gooseberried out - might be able to find some more recipes - perhaps gooseberry wine .... 

pansyface

Thank you very much for that tip,DD. 

I had never heard about it before.

Will give it a go next year

Fishy65

Hi DD - hmm,if your birds aren't keen maybe I don't need to buy protective netting after all?

Yes I was going to say,gooseberry wine sounds good to me even though I'm more of a beer drinker myself 

I've been reading this thread and I wonder if anyone can help me/ I have a gooseberry bush growing in a pot, it's three years old. Last year it flowered and had about 10 fruits. This year there were lots of flowers and lots of bees round it but I only had about three fruits set. Anyone know why this is?

Pam M

BobTheGardener

Hi Pam,  Gooseberries are a hungry plant and fare much better in the ground.  If grown in a pot, make sure it's a large one and use John Innes No 3 compost with well rotted farmyard manure mixed in rather than a multi-purpose compost which will run out of food in 6 weeks or so.  If gooseberries are starved of nutrients the first thing they will do is drop flowers/immature fruit, so lack of food would be my best guess.

Thank you. I'll try to find a space in the garden. Failing that I'll re-pot it and include lots manure.

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