|Ben Connan blossoms
UMN Currants & Gooseberries.
Virginia Cooperative Extension Specialty Crop Profile: Ribes (Currants and Gooseberries)
University of Kentucky Extension - Gooseberries and Currants
UMN White Pine Blister Rust, Polish study 1999
USA Gardener recommends pruning the canes back to 2 buds for transplanting
Organic Black Currant
Currants, Gooseberries, and Jostaberries: A Guide for Growers, Marketers by Barney, Hummer
Martha Stewart's blog
|Ben Sarek and Ben Hope
Currants only fruit on wood produced the previous year.
After planting, cut the shoots down to leave about 2 buds above ground level. This will encourage a strong root system to develop. Do not cut away any shoots the following winter.
In the third or fourth winter, cut some of the old wood out of the bush and any crossing or crowded shoots, to make room for new shoots the following year. As a general rule, it is best to cut out a third of the old wood each year, making the cut as close to the soil level as possible.
Currants are self-pollinating.
Keep the bushes well watered especially the first year, and mulching is beneficial.
|Chernaya Lisovenko autumn transplants|
Please view state restrictions if you live in Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, New Hampshire, Ohio, and Rhode Island or West Virginia.
Cold Hardy Fruit Trees and Products for Sale
All Ribes varieties listed below typiocally grow 3-6' tall. Plants below may be shipped either as large "plugs" - i.e. 2.5" - 3" wide in a peat "plug", which transplants very nicely, or bare root, with XL indicating a 2-3 year old bare root plant. We normally prune back a lot of the top growth so the new bare root plant puts more energy into getting its roots re-established. Some plants we grow ourselves, others we bring in from other propagators. Please Contact us for wholesale pricing for > 20 plants/variety.
Ribes nigrum Ben series of black currants from the Mylnefield Research Station in Scotland, estimated to account for 50% of global production.
This is an early variety of black currant with large, deep black berries that was released by Mylnefield specifically for the fresh market. It is high yielding and shows even and uniform ripening. It has large, deep black berries with a pleasant acid/sweet flavour. Of medium size, its compact growth habit makes it suitable for both mechanical fruit harvesting, u-pick farms and the home garden market. Great for fresh eating, jams, preserves, canning but needs to be harvested good and ripe for best sweetness. Not as juicy as the other varieties. Ben Connan is a cross between Ben Sarek and Ben Lomond, yielding 187 Connan berries per 250 grams fruit vs. 206 smaller Lomond berries. Ben Connan yields 16,683.8 vs. 14,810 pounds per acre for Ben Lomond)
Ben Hope is widely planted commercially in Britain for several reasons. It is a tall, vigorous and upright plant with genetic resistance to black currant gall mite. Fruit is easy to mechanically harvest since the plant is taller and the fruit is at the right height on the plant. Yields are consistently high with medium sized currants (1 g) that are good for juicing. It has good resistance to both mildew and leaf spot. Ben Hope is also suited for the fresh market because of its larger berries and good flavour. Low winter chill requirements, ripens in mid-season.
Early ripening cultivar good for the fresh market with high yield and large berries. It forms a small, compact bush of medium vigour and would be suitable for the grower looking for high yield per unit area. Easy to manage and harvest. Not recommended for juice. The plant is distinctively shorter than most other black currants – about 3 feet high. Consequently the sturdy canes remain more upright even without trellis and with the extra heavy load they normally bear. While Ben Sarek has some of the largest berries of any black currants, the clusters are short and hang close to the canes. This last characteristic slows picking down a trifle, but their size and flavor make up for that. The berries have good flavor and tend to have a tough skin, the place where flavor and nutrients normally concentrate. The yield tends to be high and the crop tends to mature more uniformly than others, providing a concentrated harvest time. The plant is powdery mildew resistant. Ben Sarek was developed by the Scottish Crop Research Institute, where all the “Ben” series of black currants have been developed.
Medium-late ripening, high yielding (15,100 lb/ac) cultivar with pleasant tasting medium sized berries (1 g). Similar to Ben Hope but high winter chill requirements. It flowers a little later than other Ben series black currants so it has reasonable tolerance to spring frosts. Growth habit is upright and vigourous. Fruit is suitable for both juice and jams, for commercial and u-pick operations, and home gardens. Plants go dormant (drop leaves) earlier than other varieties.
A medium-late ripening selection from Europe, this black currant is a vigorous grower with colorful auburn leaves in the fall. Delicious larger berries suitable for fresh eating or processing. Has a slightly "fruitier" taste than the Ben series. Chernaya Lisavenko is a tasty and productive Russian black currant cultivar released by the Gardening Research Institute of Siberia in 1985. It was secured from the University of Minnesota in the late 1980s. Russians, Ukrainians, Polish and other eastern and northern Europeans love the berry for its authentic flavor. The plants are upright, vigorous, disease resistant and productive. The berries are suitable for all purposes - our propagator's favorite variety.
Consort - contact us regarding availability, but we recommend Titania, a child of Consort.
Medium-late ripening Tiben is known for its high yield, high levels of anthocyanins and vitamin C as well as
its even ripening, upright growth and resistence to mildew. In comparative yield studies it
was shown that Tiben recorded higher yields than 'Ben Lomond' (both medium-late).
'Tiben' ('Titania' × 'Ben Nevis') also had strong growth and a resistance to powdery
mildew [Sphaerotheca mors-uvae] similar to 'Titania' (from Organic Black Currant
Production Manual Moderately resistant to White Pine Blister Rust. Avg. height 56" (142 cm) and width 45" (118 cm) Fruit weight 142 g, flowers/truss 8.8 (inspection.gc.ca)
Titania is a vigorous Swedish variety developed in the 1980s, a child of Consort black currant, resistant to White Pine Blister Rust and powdery mildew. Avg. height 40" (103 cm) width 34" (87 cm) fruit size 81 g Flowers/truss 5.6 (inspection.gc.ca)
Belorusskaya, a Russian variety, is not well known but comes with excellent ratings from those who have tasted it. Disease resistant.
Minaj Smyriou/Minaj Shmyrev/Minaj Smyreu is from Bulgaria. An early ripener, its mild flavor and thin skin may be more appealing to some people than stronger flavored varieties. It is very productive and vigorous, requiring extra pruning. Resistant to White Pine Blister Rust.
Risager is another personal favorite of the propagator for fresh eating. Disease resistant.
Crandall Clove Currant Ribes odoratum Native to North America. Our propagator reports: "This is not (like a European) black currant except in color. It ripens much later, is bigger and sweeter without the black currant muskiness. The yellow flowers in spring are spicy sweet and the bush is large (5′-6′) and open and has lovely fall color. I just got this additional info from one of my customers: The Crandall selection was from a wild stand of ribes odoratum found by a farmer west of Newton, KS in 1888. He developed the strain, which had extra sweetness and larger berry size. The original stand is gone now and I don’t remember who sent me my original plant thirty years ago, but I got a better strain from Colorado about 20 years ago. Some Crandalls bear better than others and because they are hard to root, I suspect that some nurseries are selling seedlings." For more info see Missouri Botanical Garden Our variety is tentatively cold hardy at least down to zone 3.
Gloire des Sablons Pink Currant
Ribes rubrum Produces long clusters of beautiful pink fruit. Productive, vigorous plant.
Pink Champagne Mid- to late-season.
Pink Champagne is the result of a cross between red and white currants, is free of leaf diseases, and is the “champagne” of currants. The attractive, translucent, pink-blush berries are born on medium long clusters, are sweeter than reds, of high quality and flavor. Often consumed fresh, they make beautiful sparkling gourmet juice, jelly, jam, syrup, toppings and pies, and add an attractive sparkle to almost any salad. They may be blended for any purpose with white, red and black currants, gooseberries and other berries and fruits. This variety typically yields less than the average red and white currant cultivars.
Mid-late season Rovada produces heavy crops of large translucent berries born in long clusters. It can be eaten fresh or processed into sparkling red jams or jellies. Sweet-tart flavor. Not as tart as Red Lake but tarter than some other varieties. Very reliable, as it is late to flower, avoiding frosts. This enables growers to extend the harvest season for a month or longer if the weather is moderate and not too hot. Rovada was developed in the Netherlands by L. M. Wassernaar and released in 1980. While many sources say it is resistant to powdery mildew, the U of Kentucky says otherwise regarding WPBR or powdery mildew.
"Mid-season selection from Slovakia. Plants are very large, robust, and upright. Fruit are large and produced on very long strigs, often with as many as 25 to 30 berries per strig. Very high yielding. Good resistance to gray mold. Should be planted on at least five-foot row centers." (source: Virginia Cooperative Extension)
Sweet berry with minimal tartness.
Jonkheer van Tets
Very early ripening, JVT is vigorous, very productive, disease resistant, easy to harvest, and has attractive berries of excellent flavor. Midsize berries. Hardy, upright easy-picking bush. WPBR restitant, not powdery mildew resistant. JVT was released by J. Maarse, Netherlands, 1941. After more than 70 years, this early season variety continues to be the leading variety in Northern Europe and is fast catching on in the USA even though it has been reported to not perform as well in real wet climates or with continuous rains during harvest.
Red Lake "Mid- to late-season. Fruit are large, firm, light red, and sub-acid. Has high juice content and easy-to-pick long strigs. Plants are productive, upright, dense, and hardy. Susceptible to mildew. Has a low tolerance to frost. (source: Virginia Cooperative Extension) Our tartest variety. More info
A cross between Jonkheer Van Tets and Rosetta from the Netherlands, Rolan is a great producer, growing 3-5' tall with dense foliage. Excellent berries for fresh eating or preserves.
Roseta was developed in the Netherlands by the Waningen Agriculture University and has Jonkheer van Tets as one of its parents. The berries are large and are borne on long, loose fruit clusters. The plants are fairly vigorous and disease resistant. The maturity season is late, the same time as Rovada, enabling growers to extend their season when combining it with early varieties, such as Jonkheer van Tets.
Rotet is characterized by large berry weight and number of flowers per cluster, may be considered one of the best for fresh consumption.
Tatran, named after a mountain range of Slovakia, designates the place of its origin. Ribes grower/importer Paul Otten visited this 125-year-old horticultural research institute in Bojnice, Slovakia in 1993. Tatran has a Minnesota connection in that Red Lake, a red currant variety released by the U of M in 1933, is one of its parents. Released in 1985, these plants are tall, productive, vigorous, extremely cold hardy, producing large berries of good quality on exceptionally long strigs that ripen late in the season.
"A sister selection of ‘Detvan,’ with many similar characteristics. Plants are robust and upright. Fruit are very large and produced on long strigs of 25 to 30 berries. Very high yielding and resistant to grey mold. Should be planted at least five feet apart both within the row and between rows. Canes become very heavy with fruit and may need some support." (source: Virginia Cooperative Extension)
Late-season. Blanka is a disease resistant, vigorous, very productive plant with a spreading tendency. Because it blooms late, it escapes late spring frosts and matures late, thus enabling a longer season of white currants. Blanka’s translucent white berries are borne on unusually long strigs. Blending red raspberry juice with white currant juice makes an exquisite beverage. Fully ripened, sweet white currants also make delightful desert wines. Blanka was bred by J. Cvopa at Bojnice, Slovakia, and released in 1977. It has the same Minnesota connection that Tatran and Primus do, having Red Lake as one of its parents.
Mid-season. Pinkish white berries are medium sized, sweet, juicy, and rich-flavored. Resistant to powdery mildew, not resistant to WPBR.
Translucent white fruit with a sweet, intense flavor. The attractive plant is upright, vigorous, and produces good yields of high quality, flavorful berries. Primus is a very attractive plant as its leaves have a distinctive red tinge and young shoots are almost entirely red. Primus is a late-season white currant variety that was bred by J. Cvopa at Bojnice, Slovakia, and released in 1977. It has the same Minnesota connection that Tatran and Blanka do, having Red Lake as one of its parents. Resistant to White Pine Blister Rust and powdery mildew.
White Pearl White Currant
Ribes rubrum These currants produce heavy clusters of white, translucent berries with a pink blush. Deliicious in jams or jellies, they can also be eaten fresh.
White Versailles is upright, vigorous, disease resistant, and a heavy cropper. The fruit is born on long strigs, is large, juicy, light yellow, sweet, and of excellent flavor. It was developed by M. Bertin in France prior to 1883, so it has already celebrated its 140th anniversary – a testimony to its reliability under a wide variety of conditions – and is still one of the leading varieties in northern Europe, though Primus and Blanka from Slovakia are beginning to make inroads.
Ripening order: Invicta, Hinnomaki Red, Tixia, Black Velvet, Jeanne (others unknown)
Black Velvet R. divaricatum x R. hirtellium Very heavy yields of small to medium sized red-black berries on a vigorous bush. Mildew and disease resistant. Up to 6' tall. Listed as zone 4 but so far surviving our zone 3 climate.
Ribes hirtellum "Cross of American and European cultivars and is resistant to powdery mildew. It has
antique red teardrop-shaped fruit and is nearly thornless. It a late season variety with great flavor..." Source: Cornell Ribes Culture Review
Hinnomaki Red Ribes uva-crispa "Developed in Finland. Hinnonmaki Red fruit are medium size; skin is tart, but the flesh is sweet, aromatic and has very good flavor. Plants are short, moderate in vigor, and upright to slightly spreading." Source: Virginia Cooperative Extension Specialty Crop Profile: Ribes (Currants and Gooseberries).
Hinnomaki Yellow Ribes uva-crispa "Developed in Finland. Fruit is green-yellow and medium size; skin is tart, but the flesh is sweet, aromatic and has very good flavor. Plants are short, moderate in vigor, and upright to slightly spreading." Source: Virginia Cooperative Extension Specialty Crop Profile: Ribes (Currants and Gooseberries).
Invicta Ribes uva-crispa Early- to mid-season. Fruit are large and pale green with a bland flavor. This cultivar is often used for processing, where it provides an even color and flavor. Plants are large and very productive, and have numerous spines. Resistance to mildew (but not to other leaf spots) is good. Source: Virginia Cooperative Extension Specialty Crop Profile: Ribes (Currants and Gooseberries).
Jahn's Prairie Ribes oxycanthoides 4-5' tall, upright growth. "Disease resistant and produces high quality, dark red, dessert gooseberries. This plant was selected by Dr. Otto L. Jahn from a native population of the species growing in Alberta, Canada, in 1984. The species is native in the northern prairies of the U.S. and Canada. Cuttings were propagated, grown and field evaluated as RIB 139 from 1991 to the present. The cultivar is named in memory of Dr. Jahn, who was the first curator for the National Clonal Germplasm Repository in Covallis, Oregon." Source: USDA Ag Research Service
Jeanne is a disease and pest resistant, high quality, dark-red, dessert gooseberry cultivar. It is a late-ripening, dark red dessert gooseberry with an unknown mixed European/American gooseberry pedigree. JEANNE should be suitable for commercial gooseberry production or home plantings. The yield of JEANNE is higher than from most gooseberries, with production of about 1.5 kg/3+ lbs per plant. The leaves are highly resistant to powdery mildew. Even more in its favor, the leaves of JEANNE are also highly resistant to white pine blister rust. They have very few pesky spines. More info at USDA Ag Research
PixwellRibes hirtellum We wait until the berries turn dark blue/purple and they tasted deliciously sweet tart and weren't hard to pick even in the midst of some pricklies. Others say: "Early- to mid-season. Fruit are large and pale green with a bland flavor. This cultivar is often used for processing, where it provides an even color and flavor. From North Dakota. Plants are large and very productive, and have numerous spines. Resistance to mildew (but not to other leaf spots) is good." Source: Virginia Cooperative Extension Specialty Crop Profile: Ribes (Currants and Gooseberries).
"Mid- to late-season. Recent introduction, large cultivar, noted for semi-thornless character, and red fruit; vigorous and productive. Resistant to mildew." Source: Virginia Cooperative Extension Specialty Crop Profile: Ribes (Currants and Gooseberries).
Growing Notes: I don't remember who told me the following but for the record... gooseberries like a feeding of 25-ppm phosphorous, calcium nitrate just before flower, after flower, and 4 weeks later, 200 ppm magnesium, 80 ppm postassium (K-Mag is a good product), late August OK to apply
Red Josta Jostaberry Black currant x R. divaricatum
Very vigorous. Grows 5-8' tall and 4-5' wide. Cross between a gooseberry and black currant, high in Vitamin C. Disease resistant shrub, easy to grow. Produces delicious large, dark colored, sweet-tart fruit for fresh eating and processing, but takes a few years to produce and may not yield as high as currants or gooseberries. Pruning
Q: Do I need to add pectin to black currant jam?
A: No. Try this: 3 c. black currants, 2 c. sugar, 2 Tblsp lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, for about 20 minutes or unti it reaches 220 degrees F.
Q: What are gooseberries like?
A: (Jim) I find that most gooseberries are thorny and not a joy to pick, but the fruit is worth it. Not much way to get around thorns though. As for the flavor I've not tasted a bad fresh gooseberry yet. I had never had a gooseberry pie until last summer. Though it was OK I gotta say I prefer other fruits for pie. But fresh eating gooseberries are fabulous.