The jostaberry (Ribes nigrum x uva-crispa) is a hybrid of the black currant and gooseberry, but is resistant to diseases that affect both of those. The firm black or reddish-black berries ripen in July. The fruit can be eaten fresh, used in jams and jellies, or frozen. The thornless branches of the jostaberry grow 4 to 6 feet tall, and 4 feet wide. Plant them 5 feet apart in rows spaced 10 to 12 feet apart. They are hardy in Zones 3 to 8.
Buy 2 to 3 year old jostaberry plants from a reliable local or online nursery. Choose plants that do not show signs of stress or disease, such as wilted foliage, or spotted or dying leaves. Examine the root balls of the plants for slimy or moldy areas, or roots that are compacted or growing in a circle in the pot.
Water the plants thoroughly with a water hose and leave them in a shaded to partially shaded area until you are ready to plant them.
Choose a location in a protected area with full sun and loamy well-drained soil for the plants. Drying winds can reduce the plant’s growth and the size of the fruit. Use a shovel to dig a hole about 6 inches deeper and wider than the plant container.
Use a hoe or rake to mix an equal amount of compost or rotted manure into the soil that was removed from the planting hole. Replace about 6 inches of the soil/compost mixture into the bottom of the planting hole.
Remove a plant from its pot and use hand pruners to cut all the branches back to 5 inches long.
Set the plant in the planting hole 1 to 2 inches below the soil line. Use your hand or foot, or the shovel to back fill around the roots with the soil/compost mixture. Tamp the soil down firmly around the roots and plant. Spread the excess dirt evenly around the plant.
Spread a 3 to 5 inch layer of mulch around the plant but do not mound the mulch up on the branches of the plant. Water the plant thoroughly with the water hose.
Things You Will Need
- Water hose
- Hoe or rake
- Compost or rotted manure
- Hand pruners
- The fruit of jostaberry plants tastes sweeter when both red and black varieties are planted together.
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