Currant affairs

A day in the fruit cage beckoned this week.  The blackcurrants  have responded well to a complete cut back and renovation that we gave them in late 2019.  A wealth of sturdy fresh stems have been thrown giving us a good opportunity to create a healthy well balanced bush that will fruit well next summer.

After removing any crossing, dead, diseased or dying, stems, of which there were very few, all the stems in the congested centre were removed.  Our aim was to create an open goblet shape that would reduce the incidence of disease by allowing air to circulate freely.  Any stems below 45 degrees were also removed as these tend to drag in the soil when laden with fruit.

Unlike red and white currants  blackcurrants fruit best on new wood; yields start to drop off on stems older than about 3 years so take out a proportion of the older wood each year to keep the bush permanently ‘young’.  If in doubt as to whether you have  black, white, or red currants simply rub the stem. Red and white currants smell of very little but blackcurrants have the unmistakeable smell of the fruit and the enticing promise of the summer to come.