The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Tip-layering gooseberries

Tip layering

The great thing about plants that tip layer easily is that you're likely to end up with extra plants with absolutely no work on your part.  Blackberries and black raspberries are probably the example you're most familiar with --- if you're not careful, long canes of each will curve back down to the ground and root at the end.  But, as I learned this year, gooseberries fit into the same category.

Rooted gooseberry

We've been working to get rid of weeds in our blueberry and gooseberry patch this summer, which meant repeated weeding and mulching until the unwelcome plants gave up the ghost.  During one round of mulching, I accidentally poured rotting wood chips on top of a few branches of my Poorman gooseberry.  Coming back around for a last weeding job in November, I tugged at these branches...and found they'd grown roots.  All I had to do was clip off each branch above the rooted section and pot it up to turn that into a new plant.

(By the way, Mom and Sarah, your gooseberries are waiting on your convenience --- don't forget to take them next time you see me!  They're at the southern limit of their range here, so choose them a cool, damp, partly shaded site.)

Gooseberry propagation

I could have put the little gooseberry cuttings straight into the ground, but I didn't have a spot picked out for mine and was a bit afraid such a small plant would lose its footing in the winter soil's freeze/thaw if I didn't mulch it extremely carefully.  So I slipped the gooseberry pots into the citrus growing area in Mark's room --- maybe he won't notice?

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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I have a Hinnomaki Red Gooseberry that I tip layered last year and rooted a couple cuttings. It seems to be growing really well even in our heat of zone 7 almost 8.

We have currants next to them though and they can't take the heat at all I limped some through this year by keeping them under shade cloth.

Comment by Brian Sun Dec 2 09:04:43 2012
Ooooo, so exciting -- thank you! Hopefully we can get together soon!
Comment by mitsy (aka, sarah) Sun Dec 2 10:23:10 2012

Do you have any tips for growing gooseberries? I have a large plant that I've had for 6 years and have yet to get fruit. I don't think I've ever even seen a blossom. The package said it was American Gooseberry and to plant it in sun. I have it in a huge planter that over the years I have moved from sun to shade and back trying to get it to fruit. Any advice? While I haven't gotten any fruit, I have gotten new plants off of it.

Comment by Ed Sun Dec 2 21:05:40 2012
Ed --- Some varieties of gooseberry are self-pollinating while others aren't. Since your plant sounds happy otherwise, that would be my guess --- that it needs a pollinator. The flowers are very inconspicuous, so unless you looked carefully in the spring, it could easily have bloomed without you noticing.
Comment by anna Mon Dec 3 07:55:36 2012

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