Black Currants - Gardening Tips and Advice
Blackcurrants are great for beginners as they are easy to grow although they need generous feeding and careful pruning to get a good crop
Where to grow
Blackcurrants like sheltered site, full sun or partial shade with rich, fertile, well drained soil, slightly acidic soil but it is not cruicial.
Plant bare-rooted bushes from October to March. Container grown (pot grown) bushes can be planted at any time depending on conditions. Planting distance – 1.5m (5ft) apart. Prepare the planting area by digging a hole approximately twice the diametre of the rootball or pot. Amend the planting area with some compost and mix well into the soil. Plant using the old soil mark (if visable) about 2 inches below the surface. Replace the soil by gently healing it back in and you can add some fertiliser at this time - rootgrow - is recommended. Water well. If planting November to March cut back all the shoots to within 2-3 buds (about 5cm) from soil level after planting.
Pruning and training
Pruning should be done between November and March but not until two years after planting. After two years, in winter, remove up to one-third of the oldest stems which have almost black bark and look different to new pale shoots. Do not keep any branches more than 4 years old.
Ongoing Care and Harvesting
Regular weeding is important. Hand weeding is recommended. Be careful if using a hoe not to damage the roots which can leasd to suckers being produced. Watering is once again very important during spells of dry weather.
In March apply a good fertiliser such as Growmore as Blackcurrants need a regular feeding cycle. A good fertiliser high in potassium would be good when the fruits are swelling. Cover the bushes when the fruit is beginning to ripen to keep the birds away. Snip off entire strigs when berries are plump and shiny.