Gooseberries are a great addition to the kitchen garden. Once established they’ll give you a fab crop for many years to come without needing too much attention.
Choose a spot in the garden where you can give it about 1.5m space as they will grow to about 1m eventually. They can tolerate some light shade so don’t panic if it’s not bang in the middle of a sunny veg patch, and they’re fairly robust too so can tolerate windy weather. We would recommend testing your soil first – Gooseberry bushes need a fertile, neutral soil – a pH of 6.0-7.5 is ideal. You can buy cheap soil testing kits from most garden centres.
If you don’t have the right type of soil or don’t have space in the garden, you can always grow your gooseberry bush in a large container. Just make sure it has good drainage as they don’t like to become waterlogged.
Before you plant your gooseberry bush dig a nice deep hole and add plenty of organic compost. Once planted, water it in well and cut the stems back to 30cm. This will help the plant to concentrate its energy.
Keep the soil consistently moist during the first year. Adding a mulch around the base of the plant will really help to keep the moisture nice and level. In later years, you’ll need to water well on a weekly basis during prolonged dry spells, but other than that they should be fine.
Fruits will ripen for harvesting each summer in July and you won’t need to prune it for the initial 3-5 years while growth is vigorous. In later years, you just need to remove a fifth of your bush in winter, cutting out from its base the oldest and lowest wood. Apply a mulch every winter.
That’s it. It is so easy to grow but you can get a really great crop and make some yummy puddings.