Redcurrants

Redcurrants are so easy to grow from seed. My first plants were grown from seed given to me and since then, I’ve been growing them from seed collected from my existing plants.

You don’t get much bang for your buck growing redcurrants, by which I mean yields are small and if you haven’t got the room, there are other, more productive berries to grow. I grow them because I’ve got the room and the bushes seem pretty hardy.

The flowers are tiny; I have no idea what pollinates them; maybe they’re self-fertile. The berries grow in pendulous little clusters called sprigs :

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They ripen unevenly :

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Eventually the whole sprig is ripe :

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Surprisingly, the birds have never shown any interest in these bright little fruits. Most of my plants are planted in the grey water line beside the main path. As I’m passing, I pick off the ripe ones and eat them then and there. They rarely make it into the kitchen.

I read that the whole sprig should be picked at once, taking care not to damage the point of the branch from which it grows. Apparently, new sprigs grow from the same point every year and if that point is damaged no fruit will appear there next year. Or ever, maybe. And when I pull off single ripe ones, sometimes the whole sprig comes too. And there are birds and there are birds. One year I’m going to find some inquisitive bird will take an interest. So I’d like to be able to pick whole sprigs when at least some of them are ripe. Will the unripe ones ripen inside?

I Googled, but couldn’t find an answer. So I picked (read carefully snipped off with scissors) a whole lot of sprigs, with ripe and unripe berries and put them on the kitchen bench. A couple of days later and they’d all ripened. So that’s all right then :

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5 Responses to “Redcurrants”

  1. notsomethingelse Says:

    Nice. My only red currant, planted last year, was, until a month or so ago, just a stick. It now has a little cluster of leaves but is mostly still just a stick. It has one more year to prove to me that it can be something more than that.

    I will get more plants, both black and red, because I like the idea of snacking on berries and I had a really fine black one at my old place. Meanwhile I am trying to be patient.

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  2. narf77 Says:

    I took a stack of cuttings from a friend who had sold her house and was movings currant collection. I ended up with most of the cuttings striking and have blackcurrants, white currants, red currants and jostaberries but NO idea which is which. They appear to be very hardy and I am going to plant them right around the inside of the fence around the house as an edible hedge. I am very surprised nothing eats them as they certainly look appetising. I know that jostaberries taste AWFUL so I can see why nothing eats them. I figure if they all taste disgusting, the animals can fill up on them before they hit my fruit trees 😉

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    • foodnstuff Says:

      I had a blackcurrant years ago but it died. I was new to this self-sufficiency thing and didn’t realise how dry the ground was or that heavy clay wasn’t to its liking.

      Don’t know anything about jostaberries. Will Google.

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      • narf77 Says:

        These babies (cuttings) have been stuck in the glasshouse in pots with no water (been VERY busy with our course this year) and I only just remembered them after reading your post this morning! Steve headed out to see if they were all dead but they are all well and truly alive and growing like topsy. I think they are very hardy. Jostaberries are a cross between blackcurrants and black and white gooseberries. They are almost impossible to kill to be honest. My daughters took over our house in the city and haven’t watered the garden in 5 years and the jostaberries keep growing like topsy. They cut them off at ground level whenever the electricity meter man complains and they grow back with a vengeance. They have a very strange taste. We call them “meat berries” as they have a sort of tangy meaty taste and they get left for the blackbirds in the city apparently ;). I want to grow them as hedges as they do particularly well here. Where my friend was growing them they represented a good proportion of her structured hedges.

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  3. fergie51 Says:

    Thanks for reminding me! I planted one somewhere and should go and see of it’s done anything. 🙂

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