A couple of weeks ago I dropped Mr S off in Shepton Mallet to start his weekend away with friends exhibiting a large model railway layout. As I knew it was market day there, I went down to see what was on offer. There were only a few market stalls, but I spied one with plants. There were some bare-rooted fruit bushes, all well labelled, and with their root balls very nicely taped up in small bags with soil around them. I found the stall holder very helpful, giving me advice on the best fruit for the area.
These bushes had been grown in Norfolk. He had a variety of fruit bushes and trees. When I asked about the variety he would recommend for my small garden he suggested Ben Sarek and found me two very sturdy plants.
A few months ago I had been researching which varieties to grow and this is one of the recent introductions and is compact , and self fertile. What I like is that Ben Sarek is early fruiting, frost and mildew resistant, and has good yields of large berries.
Today the sun has been shining, it hasn't rained, and I felt the pull of the outdoors. After half an hour or so of weeding, my eye fell on the plants standing up by the water-but. Each plant has been carefully planted in a deep hole, and the soil as it was returned around the roots, mixed with well matured compost and fish, blood and bone. It was very nearly dark when I finished, but my little camera still coped with the low light.
In all my gardens and also when I had an allotment, I have planted blackcurrants. They are a fabulous fruit to have, and each bush can yield a few pounds. Even when I was without fruit for a season or two, I managed to find some lovely fruit for preserving. One of my favourite deserts although quite simple is poached pears and blackcurrants.
Mr S's choice preserve by far is Blackcurrant Jam. When we went together to pick some at a pick your own farm, he realised just how hard work they are to pick...and hence the price in the shops.
And now for the hard to bear pruning regime, which entails cutting these lovely little twigs with their promising buds down to about two inches above ground. I was really hoping to find some way of keeping some stems and hence fruit this season. I did leave a couple of bushes like this in my last garden, but the hard pruned ones did perform the best. Tomorrow I shall go out, and prune them hard, and as the stems look so healthy, will try rooting them for additional plants.
Here is to 2019 when I hope to pick the first blackcurrants!