Growing Red Currants
Red currants are lovers of light soil—sand, gravel or chalk, and are most unhappy in any that is at all cold and damp. They will, however, grow under apples, pears and plums quite successfully and so in the small garden can occupy that space in which few fruits or vegetables an be grown productively.
Red currants have a different habit from the black currant, the clusters of fruit hanging from the same spurs on old wood year after year. In this way it is possible to grow bushes with or without a small “leg” and train single, double and triple cordons.
Bushes should be planted 5 ft. apart, but of course, cordons can be as close as x ft., if only one stem is taken up.
This currant requires less organic manure and more artificial, particularly potash and phosphates, than the black form. Apply in the spring a little farmyard manure to each bush, about a forkful, as a mulch, and a dusting during the growing season of 2 oz. Sulphate of potash, 2 oz. Superphosphate and 1 oz.. Sulphate of ammonia.
Training in the early stages of the red currant consists of obtaining six or seven main branches placed at equal distances to form an open-centred basin-shaped bush. These main branches are then each treated as a cordon and closely spur pruned each winter. It is an advantage to cut the laterals to 4 in. in length before picking the fruits. This helps to swell the fruit buds at the base of the shoot for next year’s fruit. The leading shoots are cut annually to within 6 in. of the base of the current year’s growth.
Raby Castle, late bearer ; Fay’s Prolific, very large berry, easily broken.