BUSH FRUITS

(1) Blackcurrants should be set in the soil so that the bushes are 5 cm (2 in) deeper than they were at the nursery. Look for the soil mark on the stem before you plant. After planting cut all the branches down to within 2.5 cm (1 in) of soil level.

(2) Plant red and white currants and gooseberries so that they are not quite so deep in the soil as they were at the nursery. Look for the soil mark on the stem. Unlike blackcurrants which have lots of branches arising from soil level, these bushes are grown with a distinct stem, or ‘leg’ as it is sometimes called.

(3) When blackcurrants are established, about a quarter of the branches should be cut down to soil level annually in autumn to encourage new fruit-producing growth.

(4) The leading shoots of red and white currants and gooseberries should be cut back by a third to a half of their total length annually in winter. In late winter the side-shoots should be cut back to two or three buds.

(5) Figs are best planted in pots as the restriction of the pot on the fig’s roots encourages it to produce fruit. Sink the pot up to its rim in the garden soil clos;; to a sunny wall or fence and train the branches on wires at 23 cm (9 in) intervals from the ground to a height of 1.5 m (5 ft).

(6) Bush fig trees need little pruning apart from the removal of frost-damaged and twisted shoots in mid-spring. If you wish to train a tree to a fan shape, cut the branches to the desired shape in spring. At the end of early summer, cut off the ends of the side-shoots at the fourth leaf to encourage the formation of new and further fruit-bearing side-shoots. In midsummer choose new shoots which will grow parallel to the wall, and using bamboo canes as splints, tie them into the required positions.

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