- click here for home page

The Country Enterprise Handbook
Analysing your assets|Land use|Vegetables|Soft fruit|Flower & herb growing|Orchard & vineyard|Woodlands Sheep|Beef|Pigs|Rabbits|Hens|Ducks|Geese|Dairying|Kitchen|Bees|Wool|Water|Home|Contact us

Growing soft fruits
...- Protection
...- Selling
...- Beds

Gooseberries are the first of the soft fruits mentioned that actually fight back when you pick them.

The other fruits may well leave stained fingers as proof of consumption but the humble gooseberry actually inflicts wounds. It is worth bearing in mind from the outset that if the plant is encouraged to grow openly you will have a much easier task at harvest.

As mildew is a problem in low-growing bushes, select ones that are growing on a short piece of trunk. Plant it so that the stem is above the ground. Gooseberries like being planted in November but will survive if planted with care any time up until February. Cover the surrounding soil with straw to a depth of one foot in May. The first berries will appear around Whitsun. If you pick the biggest of the berries then the other ones will have more room to grow and receive more nourishment.

With really large dessert varieties, the berries must be allowed plenty of room. The most delicious of all the gooseberries are the giant deep red ones, just at the point of bursting with sweet juice.

Gooseberry jam for some reason is rarely a fast seller. Although it is quite delicious as is gooseberry curd, this like all the curds does not keep well and can only really be sold to delicatessens, smothered in 'sell by' dates. The aggravation is probably not worth it. Making for your own consumption certainly is. It can, of course, make your reputation if you are selling cream teas. A plate of fresh scones, a bowl of home-made clotted cream and small pots of lemon, orange and gooseberry curd Mmmmmm.

Taking the gooseberry into catering for lunches or buffets leads to gooseberry pies, gooseberry sauce with fresh mackerel and possibly glazing the top of small round raised pies with a thin layer of bright green gooseberry jelly.