Growing the Best Red Currants
Red currants, those vibrant and tangy berries, are a delightful addition to any garden. These small jewels, known for their distinctive flavor and versatile uses, are a joy to grow.
Planting and Location
To successfully grow red currants, choose a suitable location. These deciduous shrubs thrive in temperate climates with well-drained soil and partial sunlight. Select an area with good air circulation to prevent diseases. Planting in early spring or late autumn is ideal, allowing the shrubs to establish before the harsh extremes of summer or winter.
Soil and Preparation
Prepare the soil by incorporating organic matter, ensuring proper drainage. Red currants prefer slightly acidic to neutral soil with a pH between 5.5 and 7.0. Dig a hole twice the size of the root ball, place the plant, and backfill with soil. Water thoroughly to settle the soil around the roots.
Care and Maintenance
Regular watering is essential during the growing season, especially in the first year. Mulching helps retain moisture and suppress weeds. Pruning is crucial to encourage airflow, sunlight penetration, and optimal fruiting.
Fertilize red currants annually in early spring with a balanced fertilizer. Avoid excessive nitrogen, which can lead to lush foliage but fewer fruits. Follow the recommended dosage on the fertilizer packaging.
Harvesting and Uses
Red currants typically ripen in early to mid-summer. Harvest the berries when they are fully colored and slightly firm to the touch. These tangy gems are excellent for making jams, jellies, sauces, and desserts. They can also be enjoyed fresh or frozen for later use.
Several red currant varieties offer diverse flavors and growth characteristics. ‘Red Lake’ is a popular choice with high yields, while ‘Jonkheer van Tets’ is prized for its early fruiting. ‘Rovada’ stands out for its large berries, and ‘Gloire des Sablons’ for its exceptional taste.
Here is a list of some very popular varieties of red currants:
Jonkheer van Tets
Gloire des Sablons