I could smell the blackcurrants as I was pruning the bushes back. Beautiful smell with slight sharpness, but still sweet warmth in the snow. Fresh, sweetness. They are FEBRUARY JOBS TO DO ON THE ALLOTMENT (whoops! it’s early March already)
In the pictures above: Gooseberry Bush (left) Raspberry with Autumn Fruit (right)
Spring Pruning it’s called! Who would have thought that with two or three days with snow you would do work on your allotment? Well, this time it was not my suggestion! I have signed up for an Organic and Allotment Gardening training course over the next four months, and I am ready to learn! Today we were going to learn about pruning fruit bushes and with expert guidance from Tim Foster decided to go ahead. He usually does all his pruning in February and now it has tipped March, hasn’t it? It needs to be done. Today was fresh, but pleasant and the practical training was so helpful that I after the session went down to my own allotment to check on all the mistakes I had probably made when pruning in Autumn. And I was actually going to do something about it! So whilst the kids could use the plastic bag trick for “sledging” (check my Instagram or twitter for videos!) a very defined path at one end of the allotment, I could get on with the work!
I have been told that my great-grandmother used to have gooseberries (stikkelsbær) in her garden on a sunny Norwegian hillside. The season was short (Summer from June-early August), but it paid off. The gooseberries are delicious. Individual gooseberry pies are a favourite dessert in our house. And I have become so fond of the ones had during this first season. When it comes to pruning it I take a less traditional approach of pruning like an apple tree; to(wards) something… I will not go into details on how to prune on this blog as I am very new to this, but I appreciate any advice and comments on my approach!
Before and after pruning the gooseberry bush (above)
Gooseberry pruning is not flawless and some blood was spilt over it! Even though I am doing it “the apple pruning way” which mean I am only removing bigger branches and not cutting off up to half the length on each new growth, traditionally done.
My small Apple Tree doesn’t need much pruning in the future, but I decided to give it a go this year. Always pruning to something! (the bud here is maybe not really outward facing hmmm)
You recognise the blackcurrant bush from the white buds, whilst the very similar redcurrant bush has black buds. I aimed to open it up from the middle, removed quite a few older and dead wood and noticed lots of young shoots from the ground.
Dead ends waiting to be removed.
Not all of my three blackcurrant bushes were doing very well. I probably cut back a bit more than the 1/3 of the buch that I am supposed to. I decided to put some manure on two of the weakest ones. The manure I have will be fine this spring, but has really too much straw content still. This will degrade with time and it is nutrious even if it doesn’t quite have the right texture.
I try to only do organic planting and growing on my plot. This is a very important aspect of my learning journey and ambition for my allotment.
A small redcurrant bush that I planted last spring. Exciting!
This was a refreshing morning routine! #outdoorlife #liveterbestute
#joesbakery saves the day!
And these lovely crocuses!