How to Plant: Currants

If you are a home gardener and want to grow something which will adorn your garden and at the same time will be useful to you (rather than being just showy), consider currants! They are a beautiful fruit (and its flowers too) to look at, as well as being an excellent source of home grown produce for using in your own recipes. In this blog, we’ll be covering all the areas of planting currants, from varieties, planting instructions and aftercare to make your gardening jobs easier.

Celebrated for their high vitamin C content, currant berries make an excellent addition to your fruit garden and to a healthy diet. There are many reasons to grow them; firstly, they are extremely easy and hassle-free to grow, so you require not much knowledge of gardening; secondly, they give you a large yield of a highly nutritious food item that will enhance your garden’s looks with delightful colours. With their main varieties being black, red and white, these are sweet and sour flavourful fruits that come in the following varieties (typically classified by their colours).

Blackcurrants

Blackcurrants are known for their strong flavour that makes the perfect addition to recipes for juices, pies, jellies and so much more.

Blackcurrant Wellington XXX

Blackcurrants are self-fertile plants, so we recommend planting blackcurrant plants close to each other, like our Blackcurrant Wellington XXX. This popular choice was established around sixty years ago and is a perfect addition to any gardens big or small, all you need is some space on the patio for a pot. A traditional variety, our Blackcurrant XXX produces heavy crops of fruit annually to give you an abundance of produce year after year.

Redcurrants

The humble Red Currant Berry have really proven to be an enduringly popular choice among fruit gardeners. Red currants are typically used for making jellies, juices, purees and more. They are usually self-pollinating plants but, in some conditions, benefit from cross-pollinating with another variety, like another red or white variety.

Currants Red Lake

Our Currants Red Lake are a vigorous species due to their prolonged periods of blooming and ripening. This is a simple to grow variety producing heavy crops of red berries year after year. An ideal choice for both experienced and amateur gardeners; our ‘Red Lake’ is perfect for harvesting your own produce for that summer vitamin boost.

 

White Currants

White currants are a variety of sweet, succulent berries with a grape-like flavour, perfect for serving fresh for a summer treat. Just like red currants, white currants are too usually self-pollinating but can cross-pollinate with other varieties. Perfect soft fruit additions to the garden for a bountiful and sweet April/May harvest.

Currant White Versailles

Currant White Versailles is an easy fruit to grow, making them a perfect choice for both experienced and amateur gardeners. Producing a heavy crop of white berries on trailing trusses year after year, this particularly sweet variety is a perfect choice for the cool conditions of the north of England, as they thrive best in cooler climates.

Planting

Here is our easy to follow guide for planting a garden full of currants for summer fruit.

  • Plant between Autumn through till Spring.
  • Use well-drained, weed-free soil enriched with well-rotted manure.
  • Plant in a sunny or at most a dappled shade position.
  • Plant with tip of stem at soil level and approx. 150cm apart and 150cm between rows.
  • Water well after planting and daily afterwards in dry weather.
  • Same planting process applies for potted plants.

Tutorial

In this tutorial, our resident gardening expert Jeff demonstrates how to plant Blackcurrant plants for delicious and healthy summer produce.

Tips

  • Train as an open centred, goblet-shaped bush – this allows light and air to flow freely around the branches and makes picking easier.
  • Add additional mulch every year to bring plants up to the proper depth.
  • Keep the soil moist by watering from the time they begin growing in spring until after harvest.
  • Add some fertiliser once a year in the early spring.

Aftercare

  • Remove fallen leaves and other plant debris before snowfall.
  • Prune anytime between October and March; this will improve sun exposure to the plant and help to maintain good air circulation.
  • Beginning in the fourth year, prune out the oldest wood annually.
  • Remove any weak new growth.

Planting Companions

Companion planting is an integral part of gardening for maximizing the use of your garden space, providing nutrients, shade or support, increasing crop productivity, attracting beneficial insects and there are many more perks. Since currants do well planted in shade, pairing them with other plants that prefer shade is the best choice for pairings.

For current companions, here are some of our top flower pairing choices:

Marigold Marvel Vanilla

Marigolds are a great pairing for currants as they help to keep pests away from their produce, like pesky hoverflies.  One of our favourite varieties is our Marigold Marvel Vanilla; this double flowering variety blooms creamy white flowers that would pair beautifully alongside currant bushes in beds and borders.

 

 

Apple Blenheim Orange

In a shady, unused spot, you can try planting your currant bushes under an apple tree, like our beautiful Apple Blenheim Orange. This excellent red flushed variety is a perfect addition for creating a fantastic edible garden. Our Blenheim Orange produces a heavy crop and makes an amazing accompaniment to traditional pie recipes and other delicious desserts.

Click here to view our full Currant range

Fruit & Veg: What to Grow in your Allotment this Year

AllotmentAs more and more people are actively taking an interest in looking after their health and the food that they eat, the UK is rapidly seeing an increase in the use of allotments in urban areas. These little pieces of oasis in built up, often highly populated areas offer a superb way of getting back in touch with nature, growing your own fruit and vegetables and creating an area which allows you relax and enjoy the peace and quiet.Allotments are often allocated to people by their local councils, and one of their key benefits is that they bring people together, allow people to enjoy a shared space and also to share ideas/tips. I love the thought, at the end of the week watching people locally escape to their allotment, getting stuck in and trying to create (and maintain) something wonderful. The maintenance can at times be time consuming and hard work (especially trying to keep on top of those dreaded weeds), but the rewards really can be worth the effort.


What to grow in the allotment this year?

Now summer is almost here, there is still the opportunity to get the allotment into shape and start to transform the area. Don’t worry if the area is small, you

Allotment 2

can still grow many varieties of fruit and vegetables in even the smallest of sections.Walking past the allotments near my house recently I stopped and began to chat to a local lady who had made such a lovely, open planned display of her own space. She had Strawberry plants growing in almost perfectly controlled rows, raised beds with Potatoes growing from seed, Blueberry and Blackberry plants growing in containers by a bench, Vegetables on show in garden shed (almost ready to come outside) and she also had a penned in area for her own chickens (seven of them no less).This got me thinking about what would be worth a try this year if you have the space available and here are some top suggestions and tips:

1. Grow some Strawberry Pineberry in multiple rows. Supplied as 7cm pot plants for easy planting, try growing in rows for a successful large crop. Each plant should be space around 40cm apart in a straight line, with around 60-70cm between each row. Strawberry Pineberry is a real novelty, with the look and feel of a white Strawberry but with a smell and taste more closely associated with a pineapple.

2. So if your garden needs a fresh look and feel then why not also make these changes productive by planting your very own Apple Trees. Their striking spring blossoms are a valuable bonus to the allotment, but ultimately it is the crop from this mini fruit orchard that is appealing. Plant your Apple trees in an area with has as much sun as possible, as the more sun they get the healthier the tree will grow. My personal favourite is Apple James Grieve, because of the juicy taste. Grow the varieties you like, that’s the best advice anyone can offer when growing fruit and vegetables.
Asparagus3. Asparagus are becoming all the rage in Britain and a beautiful vegetable to accompany most dishes.  Plant in a trench approx 5-6inches deep with the crowns covered by 2inches of fine soil. As the plants grow, the trench should be filtered gradually and should be level by the autumn. You can choose from three varieties to cover the full season, the early yielding Gijnlim, mid season yielding ‘Herkolim’ and the late season yielding ‘Backlim’.

4. Create your own Herb Garden in containers and pots.

By growing your own herbs you can easily improve your culinary skills and become more creative. Growing herbs is easy and low maintenance and because you can grow them in containers they can easily be moved around the allotment. Basil ‘Wild Magic’ really caught our eye last summer as a standout new variety to try. Not only is it extremely tasty and heavily scented, but it makes a fantastic ornamental plant with extremely dark green leaves tinged with purple and purple flowers throughout summer.5. Miniature Plum ‘Black Amber’ can be grown in containers or in the ground. Smaller than your average Plum trees, they are ideal for an allotment where space can be at a premium. Growing in pairs will add effective spring blossom in spring and dark-purple thick skinned fruit will pop up in late summer and early autumn. Miniature Plum Trees are a must for lovers of plum trees.

6. Blueberry ‘Pink Lemonade’ are another unusual twist to a popular soft fruit. Blush white flowers are followed by sweetly flavoured and good textured Pink Blueberries in August. A real garden novelty, equally effective as an ornamentalshrub with all year round interest.

Fig Ficus carica Panachée nr 3

7. Striped Tiger Fig is a reliable cropping dwarf fruit tree that produce unusually striped figs on miniature stems. They love fertile, humus rich soil or if planting up into containers you can use a loam based potting compost.

 

 

 

8. Goji Berry (The Miracle Berry), or Lycium Barbarum, to give it its full name can be introduce because of the incredibly high levels of vitamin C and antioxidants found within each berry produced. A very easy plant to succeed with, they will fruit from their second season onwards with a significantly higher yield year after year. A very popular, pleasant tasting fruit that can be eaten straight of the vine, with an almost herbal scent. Originating in the Himalaya, it can easily be added to breakfast cereal, yoghurts, fruit salads.

Click here to view our full range of Fruit and Vegetable range!