Last year our gooseberry bushes suffered serious American gooseberry mildew, but I made a plan to tackle it. This February, RB and I each took our masakuni shears and cut back all the old wood in both our currant and gooseberry bushes. The result was nice, open, goblet shaped bushes, ready for production.
With spring here, the area has suddenly burst to life with grass and perennial weeds, which reminded me it was time to mulch. You can barely see the bushes in these photos!
The competition from the grass and weeds is no good, as the bushes will be fighting a losing battle for water – in the image above the gooseberry bush is totally obscured by weeds.
So we gave the area a good trim, and then mulched with our big heap of composted leaves. Mulching provides 3 key functions: it suppresses weeds, helps retain moisture, and provides a dose of nutrients to the plants.
I am hopeful that this will help give us an abundant currant and gooseberry crop this year. And if the American gooseberry mildew comes back, then I will resort to pulling them all up and planting more resistant varieties.