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Video: How To Choose The Best Varieties And Grow A Good Harvest Of Black Currant. Part 1
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It is not for nothing that black currants are called the old-timers of the Russian garden - in Ancient Russia, it grew everywhere. It is well known from ancient chronicles that the banks of the Moskva River were completely covered with its thickets. And it is no coincidence that the old, now completely forgotten name of the capital river - Smorodinovka.
Even the fact that there are sayings and riddles about it among the people speaks of love for this berry. For example: “I was green, small, then I became scarlet. I turned black in the sun, and now I am ripe."
And among modern gardeners, black currant (Ríbes nígrum) is still one of the garden's favorites. As they say, a garden without black currants is not a garden. According to experts, currant berries contain more than 700 biologically active substances necessary for a person, as well as a complex of vitamins, essential oils and trace elements.
Gardeners are interested in this crop because of its simplicity of cultivation, high productivity and good winter hardiness. The currant owes its popularity not only to the healing properties of its berries, but also to their unique magnificent taste.
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Black currant has a high adaptability, that is, ecological plasticity - it easily adapts to various agroclimatic zones, as it is one of the most winter-hardy berries. It is known that wild species of black currant grow from temperate latitudes to the Arctic. Modern varieties obtained with the participation of these species are able to withstand severe frosts. They can be cultivated in the middle and northern regions of Russia, from Belarus to the Pacific Ocean. However, due to the attraction of "savages", the taste of some varieties in recent years began to fade into the background.
You also need to know about two serious drawbacks of black currant varieties - this is a frequent damage to flower buds due to an early spring temperature drop, as a result of this, the current harvest is sharply reduced; and the instability of most of its varieties to kidney mites. To obtain consistently high yields, resistance to mycoses (powdery mildew and anthracnose) is also important. So far, scientists have not been able to obtain a variety characterized by complex resistance to these biological harmful objects. But the successes of a number of scientific breeding institutions are remarkable in obtaining berries weighing up to 8-9 grams!
Now in the State Register of Breeding Achievements, approved for use, there are about 120 varieties of black currant of various early maturity. There are varieties that have been on the register for over 20 years. To extend the ripening period and obtain berries for food and processing, gardeners need to plant several varieties with different ripening periods in their garden plot.
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Black currant varieties
The sweetest (ie, containing the maximum amount of useful sugars and the minimum amount of acids) include the "old" and widespread strong-growing variety Belorusskaya Sweet. Its name speaks for itself, guaranteeing good taste characteristics (with which I also agree) of yellowish-green berries with pink touches that do not crumble for a long time. However, the leaves of plants of this variety are moderately affected by powdery mildew and spotting.
It is also worth noting that according to the results of many years of research by specialists from the All-Russian Research Institute for Breeding of Fruit Crops, the rating of the sweetest varieties of black currant is headed by Otnichnitsa, Nina and Bagira. The early-growing winter-hardy variety Bagira (VNIIS named after IV Michurin) has sweet and sour berries. This variety is resistant to heat and drought, relatively resistant to powdery mildew and bud mites. However, I want to note that I noticed: in a thickened state, he is still somewhat susceptible to this disease.
Many gardeners praise the medium-late winter and frost-resistant variety Vologda of the All-Russian Selection and Technological Institute of Horticulture and Nursery. It is characterized by dry separation of berries (self-fertility more than 38%). Due to its late flowering (compared to other varieties), it escapes frost, ensuring regular fruiting. The cultivar is relatively resistant to powdery mildew, but susceptible to rust, and, as I have noticed, is quite affected by bud mites and terry.
When applying large doses of organic fertilizers, plants form many large leaves and shoots that shade the middle of the bush, which reduces the yield. But thanks to these properties, the plants of the Vologda variety can be useful to lovers of landscape design: they grow quickly, are frost-resistant, they have late leaf fall. Its plants are distinguished by prolonged growth, which is why they often go under the snow with unfolded foliage, therefore they can well be used for group, curb, single plantings and informal hedges of medium height.
Variety Yadrenaya (Research Institute of Horticulture of Siberia named after MA Lisavenko in Gorno-Altaysk) is considered the largest of all existing black currant varieties. Its berries reach a diameter of 2.5 cm even in dry summers. In the middle lane, the fruits are smaller. Its fruits became famous for their weight up to 8-9 g (in some cases, much more). However, there is information that in other zones the variety does not manifest itself as well as at home. Perhaps, being a variety of an intensive type (it needs very careful care - regular feeding and watering), with a lack of attention from the gardener, this variety forms fruits that are not so large and more acidic (however, its tasting score is 4 points).
A significant drawback of this variety is that the skin of the berry is thick. But it is an extremely productive variety: up to 5-7 kg of berries can be harvested from one bush per season. The variety is prone to berry overload during the ripening of the crop and therefore requires regular rejuvenating pruning. Powdery mildew variety Yadrenaya is not affected, but not sufficiently resistant to anthracnose and kidney mites.
An early variety Lucia with high self-fertility (49%) is promising. In the second year after planting, its average yield is 3 kg per bush. The berries are very large (3-5.5 g) with a thick skin (dry separation) with a sweet and sour taste (score - 4.3 points). The variety is resistant to powdery mildew, and is very slightly affected by anthracnose, septoria, bud and spider mites. By the way, the Yadrenaya variety is considered the best pollinator for him.
Also, amateur gardeners may be interested in the fruits of black currant varieties Sokrovische and Zhuravushka of the same Altai selection.
Rounded, with a thin skin, berries in a highly winter-hardy and productive early variety of Pygmy (South Ural Research Institute of Fruit and Vegetable and Potato). They are slightly smaller in weight than the Yadrenaya variety (2.3-7.7 g), but they taste so sweet (score - 5 points) that you can eat them for a long time without leaving the bush. The bush is completely covered with fruits, which is why the branches must be reinforced with horizontal trellises, otherwise they may break under their weight. The variety is resistant to powdery mildew and anthracnose, moderately susceptible to septoria and kidney mites.
The mid- early variety Rusalka with very large (2.3-7.5 g) and tasty thin-skinned (score - 5 points) berries may well be included in the number of varieties recommended for the home sector. Although it is very yielding, almost immune to powdery mildew, the gardener should be aware of its disadvantages: the plants must be protected from white spot (septoria) and kidney mites.
Deserve serious attention from the gardeners of the black currant varieties of the breeder A.A. Astakhova (All-Russian Research Institute of Lupine) - Selechenskaya-2, Gulliver, Nara, Sevchanka, Perun, Golubichka, Dar Smolyaninova, Izyumnaya and Dobrynya.
Thus, the early variety Selechenskaya-2 is characterized by ecological plasticity, i.e. good adaptability to different agro-climatic zones. Its sweet, very large (3-5.5 g) berries are characterized by high palatability (score - 5 points).
The Izumnaya variety forms large (1.9-3.2 g) berries, which, according to their taste, are estimated by experts at 4.7 points. In addition, they are able to stay on the bushes for a long time. It is resistant to abrupt changes in the external environment (drought, spring frosts), to powdery mildew and, as is believed, to kidney mites. However, among summer residents, information has recently appeared that the variety is still moderately susceptible to this pest. However, it should be added to this that when this pest accumulates in the mass on cultivated medium-susceptible varieties, such an "infectious" load can negatively affect the relatively resistant varieties cultivated next to the former.
The serious disadvantages of this variety include the poor rooting of woody cuttings during reproduction.
The medium-ripening variety Dobrynya with sweet and sour (4.8 points) aromatic berries of good size (2.8-6 g) is notable for high productivity, but moderately resistant to spring frosts, drought and kidney mites.
It is also worth mentioning the highly self-fertile (49.7%) black currant variety Binar (in memory of Pavlova) from the VIR them. NI Vavilov with sweet and sour (score - 4.4 points) berries weighing 1.2-1.4 g. Its serious disadvantages include the shattering of berries at full maturity.
A very productive variety Veloy (of the same selection) has long spread in the European part of the country thanks to large (up to 5-6 g), tasty berries that do not crumble from the branches for a long time. VIR specialists classify these varieties as resistant to powdery mildew and kidney mites.
Read How to choose the best varieties and grow a good harvest of black currant. Part 2
Alexander Lazarev, Candidate of Biological Sciences, Senior Researcher, All-Russian Research Institute of Plant Protection, Pushkin
Photo by the author and Natalia Butyagina