How to Grow Great Gooseberries

comments (32) August 15th, 2009

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Lee_Reich Lee Reich, contributor
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Hybridization has improved the flavor of gooseberries, and as a result, they are regaining popularity. Gooseberries can be picked underripe and cooked, or enjoyed ripe, right off the vine.
Gooseberry forms a medium-sized bush. The plants require winter pruning to keep them productive.
Infestations of gooseberry fruitworm can be controlled by applications of a microbial insecticide that contains Bacillus thuringiensis.
Hybridization has improved the flavor of gooseberries, and as a result, they are regaining popularity. Gooseberries can be picked underripe and cooked, or enjoyed ripe, right off the vine.Click To Enlarge

Hybridization has improved the flavor of gooseberries, and as a result, they are regaining popularity. Gooseberries can be picked underripe and cooked, or enjoyed ripe, right off the vine.

Photo: Linda Wesley

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Two ways to propagate gooseberries
The ease with which gooseberries propagate from cuttings depends on the variety. Generally, American varieties are easier to propagate than European ones. Take hardwood cuttings in early fall, even before all the leaves have fallen from the plants. The presence of a few leaves actually enhances rooting. Make cuttings about a foot long, but do not include tip growth, and bury them so that only the top bud is exposed. Mulch after the ground freezes, then remove the mulch in early spring.

For easier propagation of just a few plants, try tip layering. Bend a stem tip to the ground in spring, cover it with a little soil, and anchor it with a rock. Roots will form where the stem touches soil, and a small plant will be ready for transplanting either by that first fall or, with difficult-to-root varieties, the following fall.

Watch out for the thorns

  Picking gooseberries
  To harvest gooseberries, hold a branch back with one hand, and carefully pick with the other to avoid the numerous and vicious thorns.

In my garden in New Paltz, New York, I begin harvesting around the first week of July. I find it easiest to pick gooseberries in quantity by holding up a branch with one leather-gloved hand while I strip fruit with my other, ungloved, hand. Gooseberries are one of the few fruits usually picked underripe and then cooked.

But don’t let this overshadow the pleasure of eating the fully ripened fruit right from the plant. Once you gain appreciation for the fresh, ripe fruit, the goal becomes to seek perfection in flavor. Though opinions differ on whether ripe gooseberries taste best early in the morning, still cool from the night air, or at noon after being warmed by the sun, the fresh fruit is at its best plucked straight from the bush and tossed into your mouth. As Edward Bunyard said in The Anatomy of Dessert in 1934, “the Gooseberry is of course the fruit par excellence for ambulant consumption.”

October 2000
from Kitchen Gardener, issue #29


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posted in: berries, gooseberries

Comments (32)

timonrooster writes: useful information...
Posted: 3:39 am on August 20th
charisbaker writes: nice one
Posted: 2:00 am on August 20th
ballidhoot52 writes: Ultimate
Posted: 12:26 am on July 27th
lyunmoss writes: i love it
Posted: 5:52 am on July 26th
DonnaCox writes: nice one
Posted: 2:11 am on July 26th
Rohit Kumar writes: i like it
Posted: 6:02 am on September 15th
Dallinlarsen555 writes: I like it
Posted: 2:25 am on September 30th
Dallinlarsen222 writes: nice
Posted: 2:55 am on September 27th
Dallinlarsen4 writes: great
Posted: 1:26 am on September 17th
Dallin_larsen1 writes: Ultimate
Posted: 3:14 am on September 16th
Johnychamp writes: lovely gooseberries
Posted: 4:53 am on September 14th
DallinLarsen writes: very nice gooseberries
Posted: 2:05 am on September 13th
Parkevenew writes: i like it
Posted: 3:09 am on August 20th
matthewtweedie writes: I like gooseberries
Posted: 12:24 am on August 3rd
MacGarnett writes: cool
Posted: 1:44 pm on June 9th
Andrewlang writes: nice
Posted: 5:07 am on June 2nd
Kavinjose writes: creative
Posted: 5:54 am on May 23rd
jacobgravers writes: good one
Posted: 12:44 am on May 11th
Davidecristiana writes: i like goose baerries
Posted: 12:43 am on April 29th
alliancelimo writes: i love the information about gooseberries
Posted: 3:31 am on April 4th
DavidDRatliff writes: Thanks for sharing....Nice information..
Posted: 4:50 am on October 30th
RolandSharon writes: Thank u for updating with this information.........
Posted: 5:20 am on October 27th
RaymondBMeans writes: Perfect information... Such a nice article for Gooseberries lovers...
Posted: 1:31 am on October 26th
mickysingh writes: very nice
Posted: 5:53 am on October 23rd
mickysingh writes: nice

Posted: 1:04 am on October 20th
ajayind writes: i had gooseberries plant its nice
Posted: 2:25 am on October 16th
prophc writes: thanks for this information
Posted: 5:46 am on October 10th
Lissa53 writes: good work
Posted: 5:44 am on August 12th
dfreyer writes: i have had two plants for 6 years. The second year they each had one berry. Since nothing at all. What can I do to help them? I keep dreaming of Grandma's gooseberry pie.
Posted: 4:00 pm on September 16th
Daylily1940 writes: I could be wrong as its a long time since I lived in the Adirondacks (a large mountainous area in upstate New York) but I believe gooseberries are banned there because the serve as a host plant for pine blister rust. This fungal disease kills pine trees but it doesn't go from pine tree to pine tree but from tree to gooseberry or a current bush and then on to a pine tree. Since pine trees are big business in the Adirondacks everything is done to prevent this. You might want to check this out if you live in that area and are thinking about raising gooseberries or currents.
Posted: 8:10 pm on September 14th
mastermud writes: My goosberrie plants are the same size they were when I planted them 4 years ago, about 6 inches tall. Any ideas why?
Posted: 9:47 pm on September 13th
JadaE writes: Awesome! I posted a question about gooseberries a couple of weeks ago, and this is PERFECT! Great info...I think I'm going to try growing them for sure! :)
Posted: 11:37 am on August 18th
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