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Currants and gooseberries to grow

Soft fruits can be used in fruit compotes, stews and sauces. Discover varieties to grow, in our guide.

Late autumn to early winter is the perfect time to plant soft fruits such as gooseberries, redcurrants, whitecurrants and blackcurrants. If you plant a selection of these compact, easy-to-grow shrubs, you’ll get harvests over a long season.

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Choose a sunny site, either on the veg plot, in a border or against a south- or west-facing wall. Dig a generous hole, fork plenty of garden compost into the base, then stand the plant in the hole. Back-fill around the rootball with soil, firm down, then water in well. Continue to water regularly.


Blackcurrants

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Ben Connan’ – a compact plant, so it’s an ideal choice when space is tight. It produces large tasty berries.

‘Ben Hope’ – resistant to mildew, this variety produces a heavy crop of delicious fruits.

‘Ben Sarek’ – this variety produces an abundant harvest of large juicy berries from mid-July, on a neat, compact bush.


Gooseberries

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‘Invicta’ – a heavy-cropping variety that’s very resistant to mildew. The fruits are great for freezing and for making into jam.

‘Martlet’ – the bright red dessert berries are delicious and ripen in midsummer.

‘Rokula’ – these early ripening, dark red fruits are sweet enough to eat uncooked. The plants are compact, resistant to mildew and high yielding.


Redcurrants

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‘Redstart’ – bears bright red fruits that begin ripening in the second half of August.

‘Laxton’s Number One’ – a heavy cropper producing big, glossy berries with a particularly good flavour.

Jonkheer van Tets’ – one of the earliest to ripen, from early July, this variety has large, bright red fruits that are juicy and delicious.


Whitecurrants

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‘Blanka’ – the heavy crop of large sweet white berries, borne in abundant long clusters, ripens during August.

White Grape’ – the fruits have a sweet flavour and are almost white in colour.

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White Versailles’ – a popular mid-season variety, it has pearly white fruits with a fine, sweet flavour. It crops reliably and well.