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Blackcurrants - Planting

UK Garden Centre - How to plant Blackcurrants

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It is important to plant in clean ground, for it will be difficult to clear afterwards without harming the roots. Two-year bushes are the best to plant and as the cuttings root easily, they are inexpensive. To give worthwhile pickings, two or three plants each of three varieties should be grown – an early, mid-season and late to spread the crop so there will be fruit from early July until October. Healthy plants should bear well for twenty years or more.
Plant at any time between November and March when the soil is clear of frost and is not waterlogged. Plant the more vigorous kinds, e.g. Wellington XXX 150-180cm (4-5ft) apart. For the smaller garden, plant Laxton’s Giant and Amos Black for succession. These will also usually miss the frosts. They require deeper planting than other soft fruits. Insert the roots about 12-15cm (5-6in) below the surface, spread them out, add the bone meal and cover with soil, treading in the plant.
Before the end of March, cut back all shoots to about 7cm (3in) of the base. This will encourage the plants to form, during the first year, more basal shoots upon which the crop is borne the next season. For the next two or three years, no pruning is necessary. Then prune to keep the plants free of too much old wood, for all of it will bear fruit; hence the weight of fruit increases each year.
Blackcurrants produce their new growth from base buds. To increase the stock, young shoots (one-year-old) are removed in October when the leaves have fallen and the crop has been gathered. Both young and old plants will benefit from a mulch of peat, garden compost or strawy manure given each year in April. This will suppress weeds and maintain moisture in the soil. Until the plants are about four years old, grow strawberries in rows between them to make full use of the ground.
Do not pick the fruits until they have turned black as only then will they be sweet and juicy. To pick, hold the bunches by the string (stalks) and carefully pull away the fruits with the other hand, taking care not to squash or bruise them.

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