Currant - Red
Native to the cooler regions of the northern hemisphere and its species are found in northern Europe, northern Asia and North America. Currants have been used for thousands of years. In Europe they have been cultivated since the 1500's.
A smallish bush which can be easily squeezed into a small garden as a hedging border or as a stand alone specimen. A mixture of red, white and black currants make a unique feature in your garden and in the kitchen.
Rich in Vitamin C and also contain traces of Vitamin B, Iron and Phosphorus. The darker the colour of your fruit the better it is for you.
How to Eat
Harvest the entire cluster of berries and freeze whole or eat fresh, make into jam, sauces or jelly. The red currant are more tart than the white.
4.5kg per mature bush.
Generic Fruiting Time
Plant either in full sun or a site with late afternoon shade.
Do not prefer marine or salty conditions. Wind hardy.
Needs 800-1500 chilling hours. The number of flowers and fruit set are reduced if there is a lack of winter chill. Saying this Auckland has enough chilling hours to set fruit.
They grow in various soil types but prefer heavier soils, rich in clay. Thick organic mulch is beneficial and helps keep the soil cool. They like a neutral ph. They are shallow rooting so regular moisture through the warmer seasons.
Space plants 1 metre apart for a hedge or about 2 metres for an individual plant. Plant and mulch well to suppress weeds and keep the roots cool.
An annual application of citrus fertiliser is plenty for currants, they are low feeders.
Train to a short main trunk. Year after select 4 main branches creating a vase shape with a open centre. Each winter, cut back these main branches quite hard and allow a few more to develop until you have a framework of eight main branches. Remove half their growth annually then beginning at the fourth year remove one of the main arms back to its lowest new shoot. Currants bear from permanent spurs and will bear for a few years. It is to encourage an open growth habit but to maximise wood in the 2-3 year age bracket.
Currant Borer moth may cause whole branches to die. Cut back and burn. Will also need to be sprayed. See garden centre. Bird netting to keep the birds at bay.