Fertilizing gooseberries: when, how and with what?
For the harvest to be productive in summer, the gooseberry needs sufficient nutrients. We show what you should pay attention to when fertilizing gooseberries.
The gooseberry ( Ribes uva-crispa ) belongs to the gooseberry family ( Grossulariaceae ) and is closely related to the red currant ( Ribes rubrum ). With berry bushes, one often has the impression that they produce a lot of fruit every year on their own. For your gooseberry to perform like this, however, it must constantly form new shoots and needs sufficient nutrients from the soil both for growth and for the formation of the fruit.
On nutrient-rich soil, your gooseberry may get by for a few years without fertilization, but at some point, the natural supplies will be exhausted and the shoot growth, yield, and fruit quality will continue to decline. So that it doesn’t get that far in the first place, we will tell you how you can optimally support your gooseberries in their development with needs-based fertilization.
Depending on the stage of growth, your gooseberry has different nutrient requirements over the course of the year. In this article, we will explain when, how, and with what best to fertilize your gooseberries.
The right time to fertilize gooseberries
For your gooseberry to thrive, you should make sure that it is supplied with sufficient nutrients right from the start. You should therefore choose a suitable location for your shrub before planting. Basically, gooseberries are relatively undemanding. However, they thrive best on medium-heavy, well-drained soils with a high proportion of humus. Lean soils can be improved by incorporating organic materials such as garden compost or rotted manure.
In general, the first, mainly organic, fertilization when planting is recommended in autumn. Organic fertilizer with organic long-term effects such as our Plantura organic universal fertilizer is perfectly suited to give your gooseberry an optimal start. This not only improves the soil structure but also enriches the gooseberry root zone with enough nutrients to ensure good starting conditions.
In the following years, you should do annual basic fertilization in early spring, because gooseberries need enough nitrogen for the shoots to grow. When fertilizing exclusively with compost, we recommend an annual application in late autumn, so that the organic material decomposes somewhat over the winter and the gooseberry can eat directly from new nutrient stores with the early budding. One or two more doses of compost will follow in early spring.
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In the case of fertilizers with a higher nutrient density such as manure or mainly organic fertilizers such as our Plantura organic universal fertilizer, this is not necessary, they are applied once in spring (March). They are particularly gentle on the plants, the soil, and the animals in your garden. You can give a second, smaller application of fertilizer in April to support the blossoms and fruit formation.
When are gooseberries fertilized?
- When planting, incorporate some compost or fertilizer with an organic long-term effect
- Annual compost doses in late autumn or early spring
- Basic fertilization with a mainly organic slow-release fertilizer in spring (March)
- The second application of fertilizer for flower and fruit formation (April)
The perfect fertilizer for gooseberries
A wide variety of fertilizers are available to supply your gooseberries with nutrients. In addition to organic and mineral fertilizers from specialist retailers, you can also use natural fertilizers, which are already used in most gardens and households.
Mainly fertilize gooseberries organically: application recommendation
Your own garden compost or rotted stable manure is wonderfully suitable for supplying your gooseberries with nutrients. However, as already mentioned, these natural fertilizers should best be applied in late autumn so that the nutrients they contain can take effect in good time for the beginning of the growing season in spring. In addition, it is advisable to cover the soil around the gooseberry plant with a layer of mulch made of grass clippings. The constant decomposition of the organic material provides your gooseberry with additional nutrients. In addition, the mulch layer keeps the moisture in the soil and suppresses the growth of weeds, which would rob the gooseberries of nutrients.
If you do not have any natural fertilizers available, organic fertilizer with organic long-term effects such as our Plantura organic universal fertilizer is the optimal choice. So that sufficient nutrients are available for your gooseberry over a longer period of time, there are many reasons for using a fertilizer with organic long-term effects.
What are the advantages of organic fertilizer with an organic long-term effect?
- Nutrients are gradually released for the plant via the decomposition by microorganisms from the soil
- Promotion of healthy, active soil life and sustainable improvement of the soil structure
- Particularly environmentally friendly because no chemicals are used
Organic universal fertilizer is mainly made from organic, animal-free raw materials that are leftover from the food, feed, and luxury food industries. Due to its composition, it is ideally suited for the long-term supply of nutrients to berry bushes. A high proportion of nitrogen promotes plant growth and leaf formation. Sufficient phosphorus and potassium also ensure abundant flowering and plenty of fruit as the year progresses. So that you supply your gooseberry with the optimal amount of nutrients, we have prepared detailed fertilization instructions for you below.
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Organic universal fertilizer mainly consists of organic residues and is therefore very resource-saving
Long-term organic fertilization: Instructions & dosage quantities for gooseberries
- When planting: work 80 – 160 g / m² (6 to 13 heaped tablespoons) of our Plantura organic universal fertilizer into the upper soil layers
- Water the inserted gooseberry bush well so that the granules can loosen
- Every spring (beginning of March) fertilize 90-140 g per plant (7-11 heaped tablespoons)
- A small amount of fertilizer for blossoming and fruiting in April provides your plant with optimal care again
Mineral fertilize gooseberries
Blue grain, liquid fertilizers, and the like are still popular as universal fertilizers in the garden. The nutrients contained here are in pure form and can be absorbed directly by the plant from the soil solution. Although this ensures a rapid burst of nutrients, the simple solubility of the nutrient salts also increases the risk of leaching into deeper soil layers, which in the worst case can lead to contamination of the groundwater. In contrast to mineral fertilizers, mainly organic fertilizers work more slowly, but they promote the life of the soil due to the constant decomposition and improve the soil structure in the long term.
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Fertilize gooseberries with home remedies
If you want to do something good for your gooseberries in addition to the annual basic fertilization, the administration of diluted nettle manure is recommended. This promotes nitrogen conversion in the soil and attracts useful soil organisms (for example earthworms), which help with the conversion of the organic material and at the same time loosen the soil.
You may have heard of the need to mulch gooseberries with comfrey leaves. The fact is that the leaves of the native wild herb contain a lot of potash and the vital nutrient is gradually released to the plant through the slow decomposition of the mulch layer. Potassium not only promotes fruit stocking but is also important for root formation and the resistance of the plant. If you want, you can also make liquid manure from the comfrey leaves and water the plant with it during the annual fertilization with compost. Note, however, that you should dilute the manure in a ratio of 1:10 with water before watering so that the plant does not get burned.
You can also achieve a similar effect as with the comfrey leaves if you sprinkle wood ash under the gooseberry. Ash is also extremely rich in potassium and also contains valuable trace elements and lime. The actual waste product that arises in wood-burning stoves not only acts as a fertilizer but is also fungus and rot-inhibiting so that infestation with plant diseases – such as the American gooseberry powdery mildew (Sphaerotheca more uvae ) typical of gooseberries – can be counteracted as a preventive measure can. Everything else you should know about planting, propagating, and utilizing gooseberries can be found in our comprehensive overview article.