The Ribes genus (ribes uva crispa)
(gooseberry, stachelbeere, stikkelsbær)
Gooseberries are underrated fruits – they excell in flavour, which actually shows tropical notes not found in any other fruit grown in the temperate climate found in Northern Europe.
They are very easy to grow, plants thrive best in cold climates, and their flavour is best developed here, too… Gooseberries will survive frost down to –35 degrees Celsius.
They can be grown in shady positions, against North-faced walls, but it would be best to grow culinary varieties here – dessert/snacking varieties are best grown in full sun to partially shade. Growing in shady positions also rises the risk of infection from mildew, but today mildew resistant varieties are available as are (almost) spineless varieties.
I remember we had a gooseberry plant when I was a child – I liked the sour taste of green gooseberries and when they were ripe they were eaten like candy… But the plant got sick and died (mildew) an awful sight that I still remember this very day, I was very sad…
My interest for gooseberries arose again when I noticed a small gooseberry bush that had arisen by itself in a hedge – simply amazing that a gooseberry plant is capable of growing in such a position deprived of light and space! Nevertheless it had a good handful of the prettiest looking yellow, hairy gooseberries of decent size and exceptional flavour.
This autumn I have tried to propagate the plant by taking cuttings – I really hope they will root, if not, there is still a chance next year as the plant probably still we be there next autumn, I only cut about half of the plant away…
Another promising self-sowed gooseberry plant was planted out last winter and this year it gave only a handful of very promising red fruit – strong flavour and sweet when fully ripened. It was late to very late and the fruits ripened over a long period, maybe a good snacking variety.
Furthermore 4 other wild growing plants in the garden have been replaced this autumn and been given a better growing spot, maybe a
Stikkelsbær-organisationer / klubber (Gooseberry Societies)
from Commercial Gardening, 1910.