Gooseberry belongs to the Grossulariacee family, Ribes genus, grossular species.
It is a shrub from 0.6 to 2 meters high.
Branches and branches have robust spines, about 1 cm long. The flowers, inserted individually or in groups of 2-3, are generally self-fertile.
The fruit is a large spherical or oblong berry (larger than that of the other Ribes, 10 to 25 mm in diameter), slightly tomentose.
The color of the fruit varies from pale green, yellowish, pink or violet, depending on the cultivar.
The peel is transparent and allows you to glimpse the seeds and vascularization of the pulp. An abundant residue of the perianth persists desiccated at the Alpice, which is annoying for consumption. Generally the fruits are single or two in number. The taste is not always welcome, it is sweet and fragrant, lacking in acidity when fully ripe.
Gooseberry cultivation dates back to 1700; from England the selected cultivars soon spread to other European countries, especially in Germany.
It prefers medium-textured, deep soils, rich in organic matter, but also bears clayey and moderately calcareous soils. The optimal pH is 6.5 (tolerance limits 5.5-7.5).
Pollination: 3-4 days of cold weather with an overcast sky can adversely affect pollination. It is important that humidity is relatively high.
Water availability is especially important in the period preceding flowering and in the fruit swelling phase.
Gooseberries (website photo)
European cultivars, which derive from Ribes grossularia, are more sensitive to alloidium and less rustic than American ones.
The cultivars available are numerous, all of foreign origin, but which adapt well to our conditions.
Gooseberries: Careless (English, with large green berries); Poorman (American, with red fruits, not very large, suitable for mechanical harvesting for the canned fruit industry); White Smith (English, with yellowish berries); Winham Industry (English, with large, oblong, purple-colored fruits); Leveller (English, with large, yellow fruits); Pax (thornless variety, medium vigor, medium-large fruit with good flavor; it is resistant to alloidium).
Blackcurrant x gooseberry hybrids (characterized by medium size and absence of thorns, the fruits have a better flavor than blackcurrant): Josta (Dutch, very vigorous, with purple berries, of medium thickness); Jostine (very vigorous and productive); Jogranda (less vigorous, with large attractive berries).
In pre-planting, an abundant manure fertilization and possible phosphorus and potassium are necessary.
Gooseberry shrubs are less vigorous than currants, therefore the number of threads in the espalier breeding increases to 5 or 6 with the first thread only 30 cm from the ground and the other spaced about 25 cm apart. The new shoots must be tied several times during the growing season.
As with all small fruits, a first mulch is usually used (at the time of planting) using non-woven sheets arranged along the row; subsequently weed control is carried out using plastic sheeting or by using soil mulching techniques with organic materials.
Harvest period: June-August for gooseberries.
Harvesting is rather rapid, since the bunches are disarticulated at the base of the peduncle (yield: 10-20 kg / hour / man). The maturation also lasts 3 weeks, then the harvest is carried out in 2-3 stages, as the fruits are kept for a long time on the plant when it has reached maturity.
The fruits can be destined for the fresh market, even if they are generally used by the food industry for the canning and packaging of jellies and fruit salads.
Gooseberry enjoys diuretic and mild laxative action. Popular tradition recommends it to those suffering from rheumatic pain and gout; the juice is used for gargle in inflammation of the oral cavity.
Most of the varieties are sensitive to alloidium, especially those with red fruit. Almost all varieties of gooseberries are sensitive to sulfur (powder and wettable). The product produces a phytotoxic action on the plant which causes the vegetation to stop and the leaves to fall. To combat loidium, specific synthetic antioid products must be used.