Currant - Black
Blackcurrants are native to the colder regions of the Northern Hemisphere. Indigenous populations have utilised currants for many thousands of years. In Europe, cultivation has been practised since the 1500s, mainly used for its medicinal properties
Can be grown as a free-standing bush or hedge. Grow in the shade of other trees or on the south side of buildings and are easily squeezed into a small garden.
Blackcurrants are very high in vitamin C four times the Vitamin C in oranges. They provide significant amounts of vitamin E and carotenes and potassium. Blackcurrant seed oil is a rich source of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), a very rare essential fatty acid.
How to Eat
Magnus has a tart, sharp taste. They do sweeten when fully ripe. Can be eaten fresh but most commonly are made into jelly, jam, juice, ice cream, cordial and liqueur. In Russia it is common to infuse slightly sweetened vodka with blackcurrant leaves, making a deep yellowish-green beverage with a sharp flavour and an astringent taste. Blackcurrant berries can also be used to flavour vodka.
1.5-5kg from a single bush.
Generic Fruiting Time
Plant where protection can be given from afternoon sun, but the plants like the morning sun.
Shelter from hot drying winds, too much salty air damages their leaves.
Blackcurrants grow best in cool moist locations so plant on the southern side of your garden. Blackcurrants need 800 chilling hours for flowering and leaf production. There are sufficient hours in Auckland to achieve this.
Humus enriched, heavier soils that retain moisture without becoming waterlogged are best. Blackcurrants do best in slightly acid soils, similar to Blueberries, azaleas and rhododendrons.
Grow in rows, planting 1 -2 metres apart or as a hedge by planting 60 cm apart. Train up fences or wires for easy fruit harvesting. Plant in autumn then they will begin their growth in early spring. Plant them deep enough to encourage shoot growth below soil surface, mulch to suppress weeds and retain moisture.
Fertilise with 30g citrus fertiliser in early spring and mulch to retain summer moisture.
After planting, prune young bushes back to two buds above the ground and allow to grow, then do not prune for two seasons. Thereafter, prune to maintain size by removing old stems to a new low bud, removing at least 1/3 of the old cane. Aim to have 8-10 shoots per bush. No cane should be in place longer than 3 years. To encourage as much young wood as possible by cutting down old wood to new buds in Winter.
Black Currants are susceptible to American Gooseberry Mildew