Black current is regarded as one of the highest fruits for vitamin C, these fruits are delicious and they are easily grown summer stalwart. All you need to grow this fruit is space and reasonable ground, and they can even grow in partial shade though they will not be as sweet. One of the best varieties is Ebony, this variety is an early cropper, producing delicious and unbelievably sweet, large fruits. The Ebony variety has good mildew resistance and is self-fertile and very reliable.
Where to Grow Blackcurrants Plant
The soil type: This plant will really do best in a moist free-draining fertile soil, though it will still produce a good yield in a less than perfect position.
Location and Position: Make sure you pick a spot in full sun for the blackcurrant plants.
When to Grow Blackcurrants
The Bare rooted Black current plants can be planted any time in the dormant season (from November to March). The containerized Black current plants can be planted all year round.
Growing Blackcurrants in Containers
Blackcurrants plant can be easily grown in large containers with minimum diameter of about 50cm with added grit and plenty of drainage material in the base.
How to Care For Blackcurrants Plant
Water requirement: You need to keep the blackcurrant bushes well-watered during their first few months and then again during the growing season if the weather is dry. Immediately the fruit starts to change color, make sure you protect them from birds by covering with netting.
Harvesting blackcurrants: You can harvest the blackcurrants by taking off each of the bunch of the berries with a sharp pair of scissors. You can pick the berries when it’s dry, the wet currants will go moldy. They can be kept in the fridge for about 3 days and they can also be frozen. For jelly, you can pick them when they are a little bit unripe as there is more pectin in the fruit and the jelly should set much better.
Pruning the plant: You can select about 4 or 5 of the oldest branches that are ripe and ready to pick, and then prune them out as low to the ground as you can sit and pick the fruit in the comfort of your garden chair. The new branches of the plant will shoot from the base again and fruit for you next year.
You can also revisit the bushes in late winter and remove any weak, diseased, or crossing stems. Aim for a goblet shape in other to allow light and air to get into the whole bush, this is actually easier to see when the plant leaves have fallen.
After pruning the plant you can apply a thick mulch of well-rotted compost (this is especially important with blackcurrants as they really require more nutrients) – Feed them with a general fertilizer in the spring.
Blackcurrants are very easy to propagate. In early winter you can cut off a healthy young shoot of about pencil thickness that is about thirty centimeter long. Trim just below the leaf node. Post it into the ground around fifteen centimeter deep in a shady spot where it can make roots in its first year, then transplant them into the sunny kitchen garden the following winter.
Pests and Diseases Control
Aphids on blackcurrants: Aphids are small green and white flies that suck the sap of the young leaves and also exude honey dew which can result in sooty mould. These insects feed on the underside of the leaves leaving a tell-tale blistering on the surface. Though, the insect will not cause major damage to the plant. You can easily squash them when you see clusters appearing, and this will now attract the cavalry of ladybirds, lacewings and birds to come to your aid.
Scale insects on blackcurrants: The scale insects cling on to the older branches and feed on the sap. They can be scrape off with a fingernail, or you can prune out and destroy the affected branch in other to allow the younger one to grow in its place.
Blackcurrant reversion virus: Blackcurrant reversion virus is actually a disease that is thought to be spread by the big bud mite. The disease causes the whole Blackcurrant plant to revert back to its wilder form, with much smaller leaves and fruits. This particular disease can easily be avoided by buying certified virus free stock.