Redcurrants are not as sweet as other soft fruits but they still have plenty of uses. They can be added to other fruit to make a lovely juice or fruit salad and they can also be used in tarts and jams. They have a high pectin content and so make a good addition to other jams as the pectin helps them to set.
They can be grown well in containers and if you have more than one you can gradually move them into the sun so as to obtain a long succession of fruit over the season. They will grow in partial shade but will be sweeter if they ripen in full sun.
Redcurrants are usually bought as one year old plants that will fruit in the second year after planting as they need to build up a suitable framework upon which the fruit will grow. The fruits grow at the base of one year old laterals.
Late autumn would be the best time to plant a redcurrant but it can be done any time of year really. Prepare a large pot with a humus rich soil and place the redcurrant in so as it is slightly deeper than in originally was in its old pot. At the moment our one is in an 20cm (8in) pot but I may put it into a bigger one next autumn.
The redcurrant we bought was a bit of a funny shape but I'm sure it will be fine. Here is is shortly after it's first pruning.
THE PRUNING on a redcurrant seems to be very important in order to promote good fruiting. Ideally, if you buy your plant before spring then you should prune it when you plant it up. I didn't do this and the redcurrant literally did not grow at all. When I pruned it the following year it suddenly transformed into a hugely vigorous plant.
For advice on pruning the redcurrant have a look at this post.
Here she is a month later with plenty of new growth. I have deliberately allowed another plant to cover the base of the plant as the roots of a redcurrant don't like getting too hot and a little shade might prevent this.
PROTECTION FROM THE WIND...
Here she is again, about 3 weeks later having suffered some wind damage. So far this year there has been about 1.5 feet of new growth and this was enough for the wind to catch hold of!
You can just about see that a couple of branches that are horizontal rather than pointing upwards as they should be. All the branches were like this when I came out one morning after a couple of days of high winds.
After this near disaster I read that the new shoots should be staked for a while as the junction between the main stem and the new growth is quite weak at the start. I managed to pull all the stems back up and stake them without much long lasting damage, however one shoot came off completely :(
So I put one stake into the pot and loosely tied most of the shoots to this.
My next post on redcurrants will be about the autumn pruning. In the mean time I might try making some redcurrant leaf tea...