What a grand way to grow Gooseberries ‘up a stick’ (or Cordon). Trained like ballerina apples this Gooseberry variety London was grown as one vertical trunk. Gooseberry London has very large oval fruit with a smooth skin. The flavour is good and is normally a spreading bush but it makes few branches. It is renown as heavy yielding as can be seen below from a 1st June photo below.
- Two rows one meter apart were created by 3 very stout posts 4’6″ above the ground and a similar distance apart. Vine wire was strung between the posts to create a rigid support.
- Two cordon plants supported by their own cane were placed between each post (4 per row).
- The Gooseberries grew 5-6 feet tall and were pruned to have only one main vertical stem. Other growth is pruned out in March to channel energy into fruiting.
- Despite some Saw Fly damage the quantity and quality of fruit was exceptional.
- Double cordons can also be grown in a similar manner
This style of growing makes picking much easier as there is little bending and there are far fewer prickles to get under your skin (or tear it to shreds for that matter). My Gooseberries grown as sprawling bushes are giving a good crop this year but I like the economy of space and the benefits of this training system so I will give it a try.
- Gooseberry shrubs can be raised from new wood cuttings 6-10″ in length. September is the recommended time but I seem to get cuttings even from summer prunings.
- Gooseberries are tolerant of cold windy weather and poor growing conditions but dislike shallow chalky soil.
- Too much nitrogen feed makes gooseberries prone to mildew attack but a manure water feed will help fruit to swell and prevent cracking.
- November planting is advisable as fruiting is early in the season but if the soil is too heavy and not well drained March planting will suffice.
- Gooseberries enjoy partial shade and can be used as a windbreak so they are doubly useful fruit trees to grow.
- For something a bit different try growing Gooseberry Langley Gage with a small transparent berry of exceptional sweetness.