Maintaining bush plants in pots (or, a recipe for happy gooseberries)

I have a certain fondness for gooseberries, something that I think is shown by the fact that I’ve squeezed five bushes (two green hinnomakis, two red hinnomakis and a trusty old invicta) into my tiny space. They’re marvelous things, gooseberries, useful for everything from a liquor to liven up fizz through to pies. They’re one of those fruits that I think are a brilliant idea to grow in small spaces because they’re hardy but also grow an expensive crop so you’re maximising what you save on fruit as well as enjoying tastier produce. I grow my gooseberries in containers because of the size of the garden and they’ve done rather well (even if they were decimated by caterpillars last year). But one of the things that always concerns me about growing soft fruit in pots is the quality of the soil. Although I’ve got them in nice large and roomy wooden troughs, the soil does start to get that dull, brittle-looking quality to it every so often. So today’s job in the garden (wobbling perilously on my knee scooter because of my hateful lisfranc injury) was to prune back the long dangling spiky arms of the gooseberries and to work in some good quality compost to invigorate the plant as it starts to leaf again. Container planting is difficult at times because the soil can get really tired but working in well rotted manure and compost always works for me!

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We farm a three acre smallholding in Hampshire, England, having fled London in pursuit of the good life for our little family. We mess about with an assorted menagerie and try to be as self-sufficient as possible in meat and fruit and vegetables whilst enjoying our plot and an outdoors lifestyle with our son. I am the luckiest person that I know.

2 thoughts on “Maintaining bush plants in pots (or, a recipe for happy gooseberries)

  1. I've heard about gooseberries but have not yet tried one. They aren't too readily available at the stores around here – or at least not as far as I can see. I notice all of the green bottles – are they for watering the containers?


  2. Hi Margaret, yes, I use old tonic bottles as cheap drip watering bottles. Gooseberries are terrific little berries. They're wonderfully tart and make great pies. The bushes aren't actually that readily available here either, I bought mine as bare root stock two year old plants. What a shame you're not in the UK – I'd send you a punnet in the summer! They're really worth a try if you can find some!


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