Thursday, December 12

More prickly work

As well as tackling the thorny issue of rose pruning as described in a previous post, I have also been pruning the gooseberries. Although these are not as violent as the roses they do fight back when being attacked by a secateur wielding gardener. At least holding back until most of the leaves have dropped makes pruning a little easier.

The gooseberries provide us with plenty of fruit most years and in many ways it seems a shame to repay them by giving it the chop but I like to see it as being cruel to be kind.

So the gooseberries have gone from this ...
 to this ...
All the straggly twiggy growth has been cut out and any branches growing into the centre have been removed along with any that were too close to one another or crossing. The aim is to create an open bush (described as an open goblet by expert gardeners). This allows air to circulate and cut down the chances of a mildew attack. It also is supposed to make picking the gooseberries an easier and less prickly activity.

I've pruned the jostaberries in the same way - a bit easier as they don't have thorns. Allowed a free range these bushes would be enormous. Instead they have gone from this ...
to this ...
I've used a similar pruning method to that used on the gooseberries(not sure whether this is technically the correct pruning method for jostaberries - anyone know?)  I've also cut out any branches that were trailing on the ground and trimmed back any that were straying too far across the paths.

Update: If you also follow Martyn's blog you will know that we have now planted our honeyberries - although Martyn didn't mention the time I spent clearing the lavender edging. Below is a picture summary but you can read more on Martyn's blog here.
Martyn has also posted that we have planted more raspberries to replace those that died over last winter.
Read more on his blog here.

As you can see we have been busy bees so hopefully we will be all set now for a fruitful year next year.

22 comments:

  1. I know gooseberries can be rather prickly, to say the least, so I went for a thornless variety when we bought one in Swillington's closing down sale last year. It hasn't produced any fruit yet though so I'm hoping for some next year. I've just commented on Martyn's blog that you're going to be left without anything to do in spring, you're certainly making the most of this mild weather and getting lots done.

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    1. Still a couple more beds on the plot to tick off, Jo and we haven't started on the garden projects and then there is the decorating!

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  2. I always enjoy pruning....but not the thorns!!! You are making great progress, you will shipshape for spring!xxx

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  3. You have been busy. The plot looks so neat and tidy now. The media are getting all worked up again about the prospect of a grim winter, so if it happens at least you'll know you were ahead of the game.

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    1. I think we just have to wait and see what inter offers. Jessica but we do feel that we are getting on top of things

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  4. You seem to have done a good job of these gooseberry bushes. I will prune mine early next spring. Just now, they are under about 2 feet of snow!

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  5. You are lucky that the weather has been good enough for you to get out and do your pruning jobs - this time last year it would definitely have been a no-no.

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    1. It certainly was, Elaine - I think we stayed away from the plot from about November except to harvest when we could. Our weather is fickle if nothing else.

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  6. I have never seen real gooseberry here, I can't wait to see your gooseberry progress

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    1. Have you eaten a gooseberry, Endah?

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  7. Your first two pictures show how to make a really good job of savage pruning! I mean it as a compliment! Too many people seem afraid to touch their goose gogs - I don't mean just because of the prickles but because they do not know what to do.

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    1. Did you mean savage on mine or the bushes behalf, Roger? I do this every year - dread to think what they would be like without. Pruning is a bit of a scary thing though.

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  8. Dear Sue, Missing you and your allotment.
    Missing pulling fresh leek...Envy you ;).

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  9. I didn't realise gooseberries were prickly which also alerts me to the fact that I must never have seen a gooseberry plant in the flesh so to speak. Time to remedy that I think.

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    1. There is at least one variety that is supposed to be prickle free, Liz

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  10. I definitely have the prickly variety and my Morrison's twig will need to be shaped - it's a bit spindly at the moment so I need to encourage a bit of bushiness! You commented on my pruning post this week - that lesson in pruning gooseberries has stayed in mind and given me the confidence to prune. In fact, I so love a bit of pruning, I'm in need of restraint when I go out with secateurs and a pruning saw! You've done a great job - and I wouldn't worry about the jostaberries, can't see why the same technique wouldn't have the desired effect!

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    1. The jostaberries don't usually come to any harm, Caro - whether the fruiting is affected I'll never really know.

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  11. It's all looking great Sue. fancy popping over and sorting mine out for me..lol

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    1. Still plenty to do Tanya but when we are finished we'll give you a call :)

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