Redcurrants are grown like gooseberries even though they are related to blackcurrants.
Redcurrants prefer a sunny site but can tolerate partial shade, they do thrive better in full sun which produces faster ripening and a sweeter taste. Plant in a hole the depth of the rootball and back fill with some compost and soil. Although they do like a slightly neutral to acidic soil.
Plant 5ft (1.5m) apart between the bushes and rows. Avoid frost pockets, plant in a sheltered site out of strong winds. In February add a balanced granular feed and some well rotted manure or compost around the plants. Water newly planted bushes in dry weather conditions, weed and hoe carefully around the base of the plant.
Prune the bushes by removing very old and diseased branches in winter. Redcurrants bear their fruit on old wood. Prune new growth back to 2 buds in early summer this keeps them compact.Prune established Cordons in early spring, cut new growth on the main vertical stem by a 1/4 to 1/2 from the last year growth.
Place container/pots on feet in winter so the roots won’t rot from any winter rain thus allowing any excess water to drain freely through the pots drainage holes. Feed redcurrants in containers every 2 weeks from late winter to early spring with a liquid fertilizer.
In spring replace the top few centimeters with a controlled release granular fertilizer mixed with potting compost. Re-pot every 3 years into the same pot but remove a 3rd of the roots and replace the compost with some John Innes no3.
Like gooseberries Redcurrants can suffer from gooseberry sawfly a pale green larvae, which cause severe defoliation of the plants. This pest can reduce the bush to bare stems.
Inspect plants from mid spring as this is when the damage starts. Remove Larvae by hand. Severe infestations can be sprayed with pesticides when larvae are first discovered.
Birds are a pest to all berry plants so cover with fine garden netting.
When the fruits are firm and juicy normally in the summer. Redcurrants can be stored in freezer bags and kept in the freezer. Make jams, pies and tarts using your home grown redcurrants.
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