Growing gooseberries through the year
Gooseberries aren’t fussy when it comes to soil type, but they do prefer it to be well drained and contain plenty of well-rotted manure or garden compost. Full sun is best, especially for dessert types, but they're very tolerant of shade.
Spring or autumn is the best time to plant bare-root gooseberries. Space them 1.5m apart with a gap of 1.5m between the rows.
Gooseberries grow well in large containers of soil-based compost. Mulch the surface to keep weeds at bay.
Tending the crop
Feed bushes in early spring with sulphate of potash (follow packet instructions) and a generous mulch of well-rotted manure or compost. Water well during dry spells.
Pruning is easy. In July or August, simply cut back this season’s soft growth to two or three leaves from the base. To prevent mildew, keep the centre of the bush open.
Although usually grown as bushes, gooseberries can also be trained as single upright stems or ‘cordons’, as well as fans on walls or fences. This makes the fruit easier to pick from the thorny stems.
Preparation and uses
Net bushes when fruit starts to ripen to protect them from birds.
Gooseberry plants are susceptible to mildew. Choose resistant varieties and avoid planting in shallow, dry soil. Cut out affected shoots.
From mid-spring, look out for gooseberry sawfly larvae, which will quickly strip a bush. Pick off and squish or use a biological control.