These are a few of my favourite things | Out of my shed
- It’s great to see varied growing techniques in different gardens and I found these Hinnomaki Red Gooseberries, trained as cordons, very inspiring.
A lot easier to harvest than from a bush, these upright fruits would be wonderful to grow in tight urban spaces and I’ve already ordered a few to experiment with in my own garden.
- Cordons are a single main stem, tied onto parallel wires stretched between posts, and trained vertically. This is a good method of cultivation for the small plot.
Plant single, vertical cordons 30cm (12in) apart.
Stretch two wires – one at 50cm (20in) and one at 1.3m (41⁄2ft) – between two posts and tie vertical canes to the wire where each gooseberry is going to be planted.
In late winter, feed with a thin mulch of well rotted manure. Avoid feeding the plants with too much nitrogen because this can encourage sappy growth, which is prone to gooseberry mildew.
On planting, prune back the tip by a quarter, cutting to just above a bud. Remove all sideshoots that are 15cm (6in) from the ground or below, plus any suckers. Cut back all young side shoots to one or two buds.
Year two onwards: cordons
1. From early June to mid-July, cut all young side shoots to five leaves and tie the growing tip to the cane as it extends.
2. In late autumn or winter, after leaf fall, prune back the same side shoots to one or two buds. Cut back the tip by one-third.
3. Once the cordon reaches 1.7m (5½ft) in height (the top of the supports), cut back the tip to five leaves from last year’s growth in the summer, and then back to one-three buds from last year’s growth in winter.
An average yield of 3-5 kg can be expected from a bush; 1-1.5 kg from a cordon.
How to Grow Gooseberry Bushes
Ribes uva-crispa 'Hinnomaki Red' | Right Plants 4 Me
- Another edible success was growing potatoes on top of grass. Following my visit to Charles Dowding’s ‘no dig’ farm, I experimented with a few Charlotte potatoes in April, planting directly on top of fresh grass and covering with about 6 inches of recycled municipal compost.
- The no prune (well almost) method of tree training! | Out of my shed