TopVeg – growing veg,fruit&herbs

May 17, 2011

When to pick gooseberries

Filed under: fruit — Tags: , , — TopVeg @ 9:14 am

When to pick gooseberries depends on the variety.

Picking usually starts in late May – before the gooseberries are fully ripe.  The first picked gooseberries are hard and tart; these are used for cooking crumbles, pies and tarts.  If the gooseberries start to fall of the bush, they need picking.

Picking some gooseberries early will thin the crop, and allow those remaining on the bush to grow larger and ripen. They will get softer and sweeter as they become ripe.

gooseberries-on-bush

gooseberries-on-bush

Dessert gooseberries are particularly large, soft and sweet when ripe and change to a pinky colour.  They are usually ready in late July or August and can be eaten when picked, without cooking. But it is worth picking a few desert gooseberries in late May , which can be cooked, so that the fruit is thinned out.

The gooseberries will not all ripen at the same time, so gooseberry
bushes have to be picked several times to harvest the ripe gooseberries.

*Leveller  is a popular desert gooseberry which is ready in August.
*Leveller  has thin skins.

invicta-gooseberry

invicta-gooseberry

Invicta  is a green-berried gooseberry variety, grown for cooking. It
has mildew resistance, & ripens in late July/early August.

thorns-gooseberry-invicta

thorns-gooseberry-invicta

Invicta is a very prickly variety so it is worth wearing gloves when
picking Invicta gooseberries. 

 The answer to ‘when to pick gooseberries’ is from late May, but pick
gooseberries several times, to allow the smaller fruits to get bigger.

July 9, 2010

Common gooseberry sawfly

Filed under: fruit, pests&diseases — Tags: , — TopVeg @ 7:07 am

Common gooseberry sawfly (Latin name – Nematus ribesii) is the most common pest of
gooseberries. The larvae of the gooseberry sawfly strip the leaves of gooseberry and red & white currant bushes anytime between May and September.

stripped-branch-gooseberry

stripped-branch-gooseberry

The pale green caterpillar-like larvae are about 2cm long, with black spots and black heads.

gooseberry-sawfly-caterpillar

gooseberry-sawfly-caterpillar

The female gooseberry sawfly lay eggs on the underside of leaves low down in the centre of the bush, so the young larvae are not noticed until they have eaten their way to the edge of the bush. The affected plants have hardly any leaves left, become weak, and are not able to
produce a good crop of fruit in the following year.

leaves-eaten-gooseberry-sawfly

leaves-eaten-gooseberry-sawfly

Control

It is important to inspect bushes regularly from mid-April, to look for the sawfly larvae. If they are seen pick them off by hand.

Suitable insecticides can be used on the young larvae. Always read the label and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Common gooseberry sawfly can appear any time during the summer, so keep an eye out!

June 11, 2009

Gooseberry Fool

Filed under: fruit — Tags: , — TopVeg @ 8:02 am

Gooseberries have done well this year and we have picked some of the bigger fruits.  This recipe for gooseberry fool from Waitrose is very easy, particularly as it uses ready-made custard!

ripe-gooseberries

ripe-gooseberries

350g gooseberries
1 tbsp water
75g caster sugar (or to taste)
284ml carton double cream
200g cold, ready-made, fresh custard

Method

  1. Cook the gooseberries in a saucepan with the water over a medium heat. Simmer  for 5-10 minutes  until the gooseberries are very soft.  Purée in a blender then press through a sieve to remove the pips. Stir the sugar into the sieved purée, and leave to cool.
  2. Whip the cream until it holds soft peaks, then fold it loosely into the custard. Loosely fold in the gooseberry purée so the fool has a marbled texture. Serve chilled, in small glasses.

This gooseberry fool would make a good pudding for a special occassion.

March 14, 2009

Gooseberry and Elderflower

Filed under: fruit — Tags: , — TopVeg @ 2:29 pm

Elder-flowers combine well with gooseberries.

 

gooseberry-&-elderflower

gooseberry-&-elderflower

Add  elder-flowers to the gooseberries as they cook, to allow the
unusual flavour of the elderflower to blend with the gooseberries.  Make
sure there are no insects in the flowers  by placing the elder-flowers
in water, to let the insects escape and come to the surface of the
water.  Then the water and insects can be poured off.

flowering-elder

flowering-elder

The gooseberry and elderflower combination works well with:

    * gooseberry and elderflower jam
    * gooseberry and elderflower ice-cream
    * gooseberry and elderflower pies, tarts and crumbles

    *Gooseberry and elderflower drinks

Gooseberry and elderflower is a classic combination of flavours

February 23, 2009

American Gooseberry Mildew

Filed under: pests&diseases — Tags: , , — TopVeg @ 7:17 pm

strong>American Gooseberry Mildew (latin name – Sphaerotheca mors-uvae) is a common fungal disease of gooseberries and blackcurrants. Red and white
currants may also be attacked.

Signs of American Gooseberry Mildew in Gooseberries:
A powdery, white coating appears on new shoots, spreading to young
leaves and, eventually, the berries. Later these patches form a
felt-like mat and turn brown. Leaves curl up and fall off. The
gooseberries are small and may be covered with brown felt.

American Gooseberry Mildew occurs:

* in crowded plants
* humid conditions
* areas of coastal fog
* when the soil around the roots is dry
* where irrigation is by overhead sprinkling
* in crowded plants

Life cycle of American Gooseberry Mildew
The fungus overwinters in dormant buds. These produce infected shoots in
spring which spread the disease by releasing wind-blown spores.

Prevention and control:
* select a suitable planting site which is sunny and not humid
* allow plenty of space between bushes
* prune to keep bushes open and airy
* avoid too much nitrogen-rich fertilizer which will produce soft
shoots, more susceptible to infection
* cut out and burn infected shoots in July & September
* water to keep the soil around the roots moist
* use a mulch

mulch-on-raspberries

mulch-on-raspberries

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* grow mildew resistant varieties such as Invicta
* chemical control - spray with a sulphur fungicide - but check
that the chemical is safe on the variety by spraying a small area
and waiting for 24 hours to see if the leaves start to curl.
Spray just before flowers open, after fruit set and again 2-3
weeks later. Spray flowering crops at dusk when bees are not
active. Do not use in full sun. Read the label and follow the
instructions.

June 5, 2008

Check Gooseberry Leaves for Sawfly

Filed under: pests&diseases — Tags: , , — TopVeg @ 2:25 pm

 

gooseberries

gooseberries

Now is the time to check gooseberry bushes for Sawfly

June 19, 2007

Time to Pick Gooseberries

Filed under: fruit — Tags: , — TopVeg @ 6:01 am

The Invicta Gooseberries have started to drop off the plant so they were picked. The 3 year old bush yielded 7lb of gooseberries.

invicta-gooseberry

invicta-gooseberry

There are two types of gooseberry varieties:

    * *cooking* gooseberries are often picked in the green or immature       stage, but when they have reached full size.
    * *desert* gooseberries are left on the bush until they become pink,  softer and develop a sweeter flavour.

Gooseberries can be picked from the plant:

    * individually or
    * stripped off the stem with the leaves (wear leather gloves) and
      separated later

The gooseberries have a stalk which attaches them to the parent bush. At
the other end is the remains of the flower.

So the gooseberry must be topped and tailed with scissors before eating.

ripe-gooseberries

ripe-gooseberries

June 11, 2007

gooseberry sawfly

Filed under: pests&diseases — Tags: , — TopVeg @ 11:24 am

Common gooseberry sawfly (Latin name – Nematus ribesii) is the most common pest of
gooseberries. The larvae of the gooseberry sawfly strip the leaves of
gooseberry and red & white currant bushes anytime between May and September.

The pale green caterpillar-like larvae are about 2cm long, with black
spots and black heads.

The female gooseberry sawfly lay eggs on the underside of leaves low
down in the centre of the bush, so the young larvae are not noticed
until they have eaten their way to the edge of the bush. The affected
plants have hardly any leaves left, become weak, and are not able to
produce a good crop of fruit in the following year.

Control

It is important to inspect bushes regularly from mid-April, to look for
the sawfly larvae. If they are seen pick them off by hand.

Suitable insecticides can be used on the young larvae. Always read the
label and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

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