Growing a Jostaberry
Growing a Jostaberry.What is a jostaberry? It’s actually a cross between a gooseberry and a blackcurrant. It’s a big plant and requires a lot of space. Even with pruning, allow a 2 m x 2 m by 2 m. The good thing is, it’s thornless and self-pollinating. Here’s my jostaberry plant on the right.
A Jostaberry is very easy to grow. I bought my plant from a nursery and all I have to do is trim it up every autumn.
If you aren’t sure if your bush is a Jostaberry or Blackcurrants, then a good test to do is; crush a few leaves in your hand. Jostaberry leaves have no scent, (it has just a normal ‘leafy’ smell). On the other hand, Blackcurrant leaves have a distinct blackcurrant smell.
The Jostaberry is more disease resistant. And is resistant to American Gooseberry Mildew, blackcurrant leaf spot, gall mite, and the White Pine Blister Ant.
The fruits are the size of a very large Blackcurrant, and are high in vitamin C. It flowers early so the bush can suffer from frost damage – you might have to protect the bush if frost is forecast and the Jostaberry is flowering.
Plant the Jostaberry in fertile, well drained soil. It can take 2 to 3 years to produce a good crop of fruit, but it will reward you with an abundant amount of large fruit eventually.
The fruit is ripe when it turns to a dark blue-black – the fruit will also have a slight ‘give’ to it. Lift the branches and pick the berries. The fruit doesn’t ripen all at once, so you have to keep an eye out – so that you get the fruit and not the birds.
Remove any weak and branches that cross in the early Winter. This is easiest when all the leaves have fallen.
It’s also a good idea to shorten any new growth in June. This will prevent the bush from getting too big. This will also encourage fruiting buds for the following year.
Jostaberries can be used in jams, pies, crumbles and ice creams, jams.
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