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Gooseberries are a versatile soft fruit, they usually produce white currents but red varieties can also be found. They can thrive in many soil types so are an ideal addition to any garden. These easy-to-grow fruits ripen in the summer. Here’s all you need to know about harvesting these fruity gems.
With summer approaching gooseberries are back on the menu.
This delicious seasonal fruit is popular in many British desserts.
These soft fruits can thrive in most soils, they can be grown as bushes or cordons or even in containers.
But when are they ripe?
From June the first gooseberries in your garden should be ripe enough to pick.
Not all gooseberries will ripen at the same time.
The upside to this is that you will be provided with these currents throughout the summer.
The early fruit will be ready in June while others won’t be ready to harvest until August, giving you a good gooseberry supply over three summer months.
For the most common variety, the white gooseberry, make sure the fruit has changed turned from green to white before harvesting.
How to harvest
Fully ripened berries will be very soft and are prone to bursting when you pick them.
Make sure you handle the fruit with care and pick them gently.
To make sure your gooseberry plants continue to produce fruit across June, July and August you will need to thin the fruit.
Pruning continuously will be key to prevent gooseberry bushes from turning into a very thorny shrub.
Problems with gooseberries
Like us, birds are very fond of gooseberries, especially pigeons, to protect your ripening fruit cover them with netting or fleece as soon as the gooseberries start to develop.
Scarecrows and bird-scaring mechanisms can work for a while, but birds soon get used to them and so they quickly become a useless defence.
You may be overwhelmed with too many gooseberries ripening at once, this should not be a problem as they are perfect for freezing, simply pop the excess fruit in a bag and place it in the freezer to ensure you can have a plentiful supply of these berries later in the year.
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