What Spring means to blackcurrants…

Mar 9, 2022

This month has been a busy one our blackcurrant farms! Spring brings the return of the warmer weather, and the fields of woody brown branches suddenly transform into fields of beautiful green. Spring is always a significant point in the year as life returns to the fields in abundance.

So, what have our farmers been up to as they prepare for the season ahead? Grower, Rosie Begg, tells us more…

‘Big budding’ the blackcurrant bushes has been a big focus recently; this is the process of removing the swollen buds that are hosting gall mites. Unfortunately, the mites carry reversion disease that will revert the blackcurrant bush back to the wild and stop it from producing fruit!

Hedge laying has also been a large project this month; the whole team has enjoyed learning the traditional craft of laying a hedge (and getting many compliments about learning and implementing a heritage skill whilst we do it)! We are aiming to rejuvenate the hedge by facilitating growth at the base. A dense base provides connectivity so that wildlife can use the hedges as a safe route to travel as well as using it as a place to forage and shelter!

At Gorgate Estate, Norfolk, we have had our soils mapped – we use this information to work out the nutritional requirements; we call this nutrition planning, although it has been harder this year due to rising costs!

On the farm, we took part in the Big Farmland Bird Count! I may have left mine until the last minute when storm Eunice arrived and there wasn’t too much to see… However, with our wild bird seed plots and supplementary feeding, we have seen more bird life than ever on the farm (just not in 80mph winds)!

Later this month all UK blackcurrant growers met up to discuss research, the future of farming and more! It’s great to share ideas and catch up face to face after many zoom meetings in previous years!

After sufficient chill time during the winter, we are very much looking forward to watching the bushes on the next stage of their journey towards harvest! Warmer weather, we’re ready for you!




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