Real Men Sow

My New Favourite Game: Taking Cuttings from Gooseberry Bushes

I have a new favourite game on the allotment.

The game doesn’t have a name at the moment (suggestions welcome!), but comprises of a poke around my gooseberry bushes to see if any have rooted themselves. It doesn’t feel dissimilar to a treasure hunt, and for me it’s one of the most exciting plot jobs.

Self Rooting
They root on their own, but I only realised this when I stumbling across a self rooting branch while weeding a manuring a bush. Discovering this was the first step for me on the way to learning how to take gooseberry cuttings. I’ve since found out that a bush can be encouraged to root, and an easy way to do this is trap a long branch against the soil with a large stone. I normally try to find a branch that is long enough to trap about half way down.

Potting Up a Cutting
Over time, the bud will start to root. Check back a couple of months after you’ve set it down against the soil to see how it is doing. If the branch has rooted, cut it away from the bush and dig out around the new root. You need to be very careful at this point, as the root will be delicate. Keep plenty of soil around the root. I then pot it up in some multi purpose compost mixed with some of my own compost.

Be Gentle!
Unfortunately, I am too much of a clutz for this gentle process, and often rip the root away from the ground. I was checking a branch this weekend, and ended up pulling it out. Fortunately, I found two more hidden away, ready to be potted up. I left them to mum this time.

Watch out when handling the branches though, as they are prickly and can easily draw blood.

In true Blue Peter fashion, the pictures shows some I made earlier. The one on the right is two years old now, and even fruited a single gooseberry last summer.

With gooseberry bushes about a tenner to buy, taking cuttings is another excellent way of saving cash on the plot.

I can’t get enough of gooseberries, and a few more bushes will be great. They’re tasty on their own, and make delicious deserts as well. Gooseberry jam is also my favourite jam, and they freeze well too, so a couple of productive bushes are super for turning produce into all year round gooseberry goodness.

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One Comment

  1. NeilApril 16, 2012 at 2:16 pmReply

    Ooh! Nice tip. I shall be rooting around by plants later in the week looking for said treasure.

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About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope. However, over a decade later, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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