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Video: Gooseberry: Beneficial Properties, Growing Conditions
Secrets of "North Russian grapes". Part 1
It should be admitted that many Russian summer residents love gooseberries. And how can you not love him, because our latitudes are not southern, which means that there is no exuberant abundance of fruits and berries. And the berries that are available, most often, are quite sour. Gooseberries, on the other hand, can be very sweet (it is no coincidence that the Dutch artist de Prein at the beginning of the 18th century called it "the North Russian grape").
By the way, gooseberries are close to grapes not only in taste, but also in the content of nutrients. True, the sweetness directly depends on the variety and, no less, on the conditions of its cultivation. It often turns out in practice that gooseberries bear fruit poorly, are small-fruited, get sick and do not produce tasty berries. And picking berries from thorny bushes, frankly, is a dubious pleasure, although, of course, you can adapt.
And by the way, at first in Europe, gooseberries were valued precisely for their sharp thorns, creating with its help beautiful, but completely inaccessible hedges. And only then the breeders drew attention to the fact that the plant also had fruits, and began breeding work. And in the 18th century, gooseberries have already become a favorite culture of the British, moreover, in England there was a fashion for growing unusual varieties of gooseberries, comparable, perhaps, only with the current passion of English gardeners for breeding giant parsnips. Weavers in the vicinity of Manchester united in clubs, which demonstrated more than 700 varieties of this berry bush at dozens of regular exhibitions. Now there are very few such clubs left, but the varieties have clearly increased (today their number has exceeded 1500).
The oldest of the English clubs is the Egton Bridge Gooseberry Society in Yorkshire, founded in 1800. It holds its exhibitions to this day - every year in August. We have known gooseberries since the days of Kievan Rus. In the XI-XIV centuries, it was actively cultivated in monasteries, in the 15th century under Ivan III, real gooseberry gardens were laid in Moscow, and in the 16th century, gooseberries began to be cultivated in gardens and on manors' estates.
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In search of the elixir of youth
Would you like to look younger? A tempting desire, frankly speaking, especially for the fair half. I can cite a recipe once practiced by ancient healers - these are ordinary fresh gooseberries, which were considered a real elixir of youth. With regret, of course, we will have to admit that no matter how useful the gooseberry berries are, they are naturally far from the elixir of youth. But you shouldn't despair. And it is better to try to pay close attention to this culture.
This unpretentious berry contains a huge amount of useful substances, including one of the rarest compounds - succinic acid (by the way, sold in pharmacies for decent money). It is a biostimulant that is now being actively studied and is already widely used.
One of the properties of succinic acid is the preservation of the elasticity of blood vessels, which is very useful for maintaining youth. Just keep in mind that succinic acid is found only in unripe gooseberries, and in ripe fruits it turns into citric acid.
And the pectins contained in gooseberry fruits help to remove toxic compounds (radioactive substances and heavy metal salts) from the body and also help cleanse blood vessels and strengthen the walls of capillaries. Therefore, gooseberries are very useful for diseases of the cardiovascular system. It is recommended for atherosclerosis and hypertension.
In addition, gooseberries are excellent intestinal cleansers and have a diuretic effect. Therefore, it is not surprising that gooseberry fruits are recommended for problems with the intestines, metabolic disorders, including obesity, for skin diseases, as well as for various headaches.
Gooseberry berries also contain biologically active hypotensive and capillary-strengthening, anti-sclerotic compounds and vitamins (a fairly large percentage of vitamins C, B2 and vitamin E of youth, there is vitamin PP and carotene), and:
- vitamin C is slightly less than in black currant;
- vitamin B2 is the same as in black currants and oranges;
- vitamin E is higher than in red currants, strawberries, oranges, cherries, cherries and pears.
Of the mineral elements, gooseberries are rich in potassium salts, and iron, iodine, copper, manganese, fluorine, and zinc are found from trace elements.
In addition, gooseberry fruits contain the so-called "joy hormone" - serotonin. Therefore, gooseberries are indispensable in a state of depression, and it will simply be useful for raising the mood.
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Under natural conditions, the gooseberry manages to survive on rocky slopes, practically devoid of soil. Apparently, therefore, in many horticultural reference books (especially if you take the books of the 50-70s) it is indicated that gooseberries are an unpretentious culture. And before powdery mildew came to us from the American continent, one might say that it was so, at least in terms of the growth of the bushes themselves.
But if you remember about berries, then everything is much more complicated - with poor care, even without powdery mildew, the berries will not be tasty even in the best varieties of gooseberries. So the statement about the unpretentiousness of this culture is very deceptive, and if you take into account the fact that the vast majority of gooseberry varieties are absolutely unstable to powdery mildew, then it becomes absurd in general. In general, the quantity, and most importantly, the quality of the berries, and, in general, the overall period of its active fruiting, will directly depend on how good the conditions you create for the gooseberry.
With good care, gooseberries bear fruit well up to 30 years. Entering fruiting in the second or third year, it reaches its maximum yield in the sixth or seventh year and annually presents the gardener with a large harvest of delicious berries. In addition, in many varieties, ripe fruits can remain on the bushes for a long time without losing their taste, which is very convenient, because the period of consumption of fresh berries is significantly extended.
Let's note the main aspects that should not be forgotten when growing this crop.
1. Gooseberry is a self-pollinating plant, but with cross-pollination the number and size of berries increases.
2. The roots of the gooseberry are located shallowly (approximately at a depth of 10-40 cm) and in some snowless winters they can freeze slightly (in young bushes they freeze under -3 … -10 ° C). Therefore, mulching the bushes with humus (half-rotted manure, peat and other organic materials) in late autumn will be a very good prevention. On the one hand, this is a top dressing, which will still need to be done, and on the other, protection against freezing.
As for the aboveground part, it is even less winter-hardy, in this regard, it is necessary to stop when planting only on zoned varieties. Otherwise, freezing of all branches or some of their parts cannot be avoided. The timely hilling of gooseberry bushes with snow to protect them from frost will not hurt either. Flowers and young ovaries can be damaged by spring frosts.
3. Although it is believed that the gooseberry is undemanding to the soil: it grows well only on well-aerated, loose fertile sandy loam and sandy soils, and does not tolerate acidic, waterlogged and cold soils at all. It can give a high yield only with annual application of organic fertilizers, to which it is very responsive, and with high-quality mulching.
4. Gooseberry - a very light-loving culture (more than black currant), although it tolerates partial shade, but in this case it blooms less often, gives smaller, weaker colored sour berries, is more sick.
5. Absolutely cannot stand strong thickening: in such conditions gooseberry bushes develop worse, their resistance to pests and diseases weakens, berries ripen at a time, poorly stained, their quality deteriorates.
6. Gooseberry does not tolerate waterlogging of the soil, does not tolerate high (closer than 1.5 m) from the soil surface of the standing groundwater. In low wetlands, it grows poorly, is strongly affected by fungal diseases and is damaged by pests, becomes covered with lichens and often dies. At the same time, the gooseberry is very sensitive to a lack of moisture, especially in the period from flowering to ripening of berries, with prolonged drought in summer, it sheds its leaves, does not form growth and flower buds.
7. Low places, high open spaces and closed hollows are unsuitable for gooseberries, where frost damage to flowering plants is possible. Therefore, it is best to place the bushes in the middle and upper part of the slopes or in elevated areas protected from the winds.
8. It should be borne in mind that gooseberries are very picky about potassium. With its lack, the edges of the leaves dry out, the fruits become less tasty and even fall off, and the plants can subsequently suffer in winter.
Correct fit is the basis for success
Gooseberries are propagated, as a rule, by layering, lignified and green cuttings and dividing the bushes. In our conditions, the most accessible and least laborious method is conventional horizontal layering.
Since the gooseberry bushes start growing early enough in the spring, the autumn planting of these plants is preferable. However, in late autumn in the Urals, planting any berry crops, as practice shows, is very risky. Therefore, when breeding gooseberries, I lay a new plantation in late August or early September. This, I admit, is somewhat unusual, but the plants have time to adapt perfectly in a new place before the onset of real cold weather, which, in fact, is required. True, I use my own planting material, which I transplant with a large clod of earth. As a result, plants hardly notice the transplant.
When planting, it should be borne in mind that although gooseberries are self-pollinated crops, when pollinated by other varieties, the yield, as a rule, increases. Therefore, it is more profitable and even more interesting to have several varieties on one plantation. But if that doesn't work out, don't be discouraged. If you create ideal growing conditions for this culture, then you can get such large yields without cross-pollination that the branches will bend to the ground.
Planting pits are usually made 35-40 cm deep and 40-50 cm in diameter, then they are filled in half with high-quality humus. Sprinkle humus on top with the removed top fertile layer of soil and carefully place the plant, ideally straightening and placing its roots in different directions. Then the remaining fertile soil is laid, compacted and the seedling well watered. In this case, it is advisable to add a solution of humates to the water (humic acids help the plant to endure stress more easily and quickly adapt to a new place).
As a result, young plants should be planted 5-6 cm below the level of the root collar. The deepening of the bushes during planting leads to the formation of a strong root system both due to the development of the existing one and due to the appearance of additional roots, and to the formation of new strong shoots, which has a positive effect on a stable and plentiful harvest for several years.
After watering, the soil must be mulched with any suitable material, for example, bark or sawdust.
According to the theory, the distance between the bushes should be at least 1.5 m, but I plant them at a distance of 1 m from each other, creating an impenetrable hedge. True, I have my own cutting and shaping technology; with the classical approach to pruning, it is imperative to maintain a distance of 1.5 m in order to ensure sufficient illumination and the necessary ventilation of the bushes.
As for the above-ground part of the newly planted plants, then, in contrast to the generally accepted recommendations, I either do not prune at all, or cut out or prune weak branches a little. Although, most often, I try to get rid of weak branches even at the stage of rooting of the layers.
If you plant purchased plants with an open root system, then, of course, you will have to be guided by all the standard rules: when the root system dries up, you need to hold the seedlings in water or a clay mash for 6-12 hours and trim the aerial shoots. The length of the remaining shoots can be 10-15 cm (although the shoots can be longer, up to 20-30 cm) - it all depends on the quality of the planting material