Gooseberries (Ribes uva-crispa) grow in the garden as a shrub or tall stem. With the right care, they form many tasty and healthy berries. Of course, the location has to be right for this. But for a vital, long-lived and robust plant, the right fertilization, which is used at the right time and covers the high nutrient requirements of the gooseberry, counts above all.

The right time

Gooseberries need sufficient nutrients during the growth phase in order to be able to form many large fruits. It is best to fertilize once in the spring and once during the summer. Later, no more fertilizer should be given, this only ensures that long, thin and soft shoots are formed and the plant becomes susceptible to pests or diseases.

Note: the first time the gooseberry is fertilized when planting. At the same time, some compost is put into the planting hole.

The right fertilizer

Many different fertilizers are suitable for gooseberries. For example, there are special berry fertilizers in garden shops. But this is not necessary. Classic household remedies such as compost, stable manure, nettle manure, etc. also work.
Ribes uva-crispa is one of the heavy consumers, which means that the selected fertilizer should provide all the necessary nutrients over a long period of time.

1. Stable dung

In the trade there are cattle dung in pressed form to buy. A garden owner who knows a horse or sheep farmer who gives away his manure for free is lucky. Manure must always be left for a period of time before use. Working it into the surface of the earth is difficult, but nutrients are released over a longer period of time.

2. Compost

Kitchen and garden waste can be composted even if there is no large garden. So-called compost bins are even suitable. Once the compost has been converted, it can be easily spread around the shrubs and raked in superficially.

3. Mulch

A layer of mulch not only fertilizes the Ribes uva-crispa. It also keeps the shrubs moist over a longer period of time, so that watering does not always have to be done even in dry weather. Weeds are also successfully suppressed with a mulch layer. Lawn clippings or leaves from deciduous trees are suitable as mulch. In the fall, the foliage under the berry bushes is not removed, it rots on the spot, additionally fertilizing the plants. The leaves should only be removed if the Ribes uva-crispa was sick, for example had powdery mildew.

Note: Leaves of oak or walnut are not suitable, they rot with difficulty and contain growth-inhibiting tannins. Bark mulch from conifers is also not suitable because it acidifies the soil too much.

4. Nettle manure

This home remedy is easily made. Plants are used for this that have no other use in the garden and, in addition to fertilization, it is also suitable for strengthening the shrubs against diseases or pests. It’s easy to use:

  • Dilute nettle manure 1:10 with water
  • Water berry bushes with the solution

Nettle manure is one of the fertilizers that work particularly quickly, but the effect does not last long. Other plant manures that are used as home remedies against diseases and pests and at the same time fertilize the gooseberries: comfrey, garlic, borage or dandelion.

5. Horn buckles

This fertilizer is made from animal horns and sold in gardening stores. It can easily be worked into the root area. The shavings rot and then provide nutrients for the plants. The effect lasts for some time, but does not kick in immediately. Horn shavings are also suitable for potted plants or as an addition to the compost.

6. Rock flour

It is not an organic fertilizer in the strict sense. Nevertheless, it can’t hurt to give the gooseberries a handful of rock flour from time to time to replenish the minerals in the root area.

frequency of fertilization

Gooseberries are usually fertilized at the beginning of a growing season. So at least once a year. Depending on the location, additional fertilizers are necessary. If the soil is very poor or if you keep the Ribes uva-crispa in a bucket, you should fertilize weekly. The volume of soil in a bucket is too small to provide sufficient nutrients over a long period of time.

Fertilization schedule for gooseberries outdoors

  • when planting: work in manure or compost with some rock dust
  • Cover the root area with a layer of mulch
  • in spring: application of compost and rock flour
  • in summer: water with diluted nettle liquid manure
  • Stop fertilizing from autumn, only continue to renew the mulch layer

Fertilizer plan for potted plants

  • when planting: mix the substrate well with rotted manure or compost and rock dust
  • mulch soil surface
  • water with diluted nettle manure
  • Work in horn shavings on the surface every two weeks
  • mix in rock flour from time to time

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