Growing Gooseberries - Tips To Grow Gooseberry Bushes

Gooseberry Bush Full Of Berries
(Image credit: Vadim Zhakupov)

Gooseberry bushes are really cold hardy. Anywhere you have fruit plants that won't grow because of the temperature, you will probably have no trouble growing gooseberries. Let's take a look at how to grow gooseberry plants.

Growing Gooseberry Plants

When you are considering planting gooseberry plants, you need to prepare the soil well before putting the plants in. Gooseberry plants require a soil with a pH of 6.2 to 6.5. Your soil should contain at least one percent of organic matter that runs 18 to 24 inches (46-61 cm.) deep into the area you are going to plant in. Make sure your soil has been prepared by removing any weeds and rocks. You can use a fertilizer that contains chlorine. Muriate of Potash is a good choice. You should apply the fertilizer at least one month before you plan on planting your gooseberry bushes. When you are ready to put the gooseberry bushes into the ground, dig a large hole that can accommodate the root ball on the bush. Make sure you prune off any dead roots that might be found before placing the gooseberry plants into the ground. You will want to dig your hole slightly deeper than how deep the plants are planted in their containers. Make sure you place your growing gooseberries 3 to 4 feet (1 m.) apart. The rows should be 8 or 9 feet (2 m.) apart to allow enough room for the growing gooseberry plants to spread. You can grow your gooseberry plants as free standing bushes. Remember though, you can train your gooseberry bushes to grow on a hedgerow or as shrubs that resemble trees. Initially, you should prune your bushes back to simple canes with two to four buds on them. You can let four to five canes develop each year. What you want to end up with is 15 to 16 canes per gooseberry bush. Each bud will open to present about four flowers. They are self-pollinating and do not even require bees to pollinate. The wind can do the job on its own.

Harvesting Gooseberry Plants

The gooseberry bushes are one of the few bushes growing berries that are harvested just before peak ripeness. This is because at this point, where they are not quite ripe, they are somewhat sour and perfect for pies and tarts. When you make pies and tarts, you add sugar to the fruit, and the under-ripened fruit is better for cooking. As soon as your gooseberry plants have berries that are just about ripe, pick away!

Kathee Mierzejewski

Kathee Mierzejewski was with Gardening Know How in the very beginning, writing many of the site's foundational articles.