Atlanta Fruitman’s Blog

June 15, 2010, 6:18 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Ok, so it is not officially summer. I consider it summer when I can’t go outside and enjoy myself because of the heat. So by that measure I guess that the season started a week or two ago. Even the mornings now are oppressive. The air is wet but no rain is to be found. Of course if I do get out for any period of time I have to bath in DEET to get through the swarms. I guess it could be worse though.

Anyway, blueberry season is here.  I love going out and picking a few blueberries and mulberries for my morning granola. The blueberries are always dependable and tasty. These are a must for anyone who has an edible landscape. A few bushes can give you enough to add flavor to anything you cooking and last weeks if you get the right varieties. The wild mulberries were extremely heavy this year. I got caught up in other stuff and didn’t enjoy the free bounty. I should have some old sheets handy. Next year I will have some and hope harvest some for wine, jams or even a pie.  Mine in the yard are still a bit small for such a show. The bigger ones are Illinois Everbearing, so I will get a tastier than usual, though a smaller harvest for next 2 months.

A very pleasant surprise this year has been the currants and gooseberries.  That right, I said gooseberries in Atlanta.  These northern fruit have been fruiting pretty heavy this year.  The previous year, they would fall out before getting ripe, but I don’t know it is because I sprinkled a bit of wood ash around them last winter or was the long cold we had this year. I actually don’t know when these are ripe I don’t remember if they are supposed to turn dark purple or a lighter shade. They seem to be still holding to the bush as if they don’t want to be picked yet, so I will leave most of them on for right now. I might give them another week. I hope the birds don’t find ten before then.  I can tell you the thorns are murder, you can’t pick them fast, and you will need a good pair of gloves. The currants on the other hand, are easily picked but are small. They are doing well too.  I got a small crop from them, but I might be able to make a pint or half a pint of jam.  The currants are champagne currants – they are white with pick blush. I had forgot about that, and was waiting for them to turn red. Both currants and Gooseberries can do ok here, but you really need a little evening shade, and I think you may need to lime the soil a little more than usual. Another current that is well worth mentioning is call Clove Currant or Buffalo Currant. They are native to northern areas, but seem to do well here.  The flowers are showy and smell of cloves. I think these are more adaptable than other currant and gooseberries.  They seem to be ok with more sun and heat of the south. The leaf and fruit is the size and shape of a gooseberry with may more of a black currant flavor.  I cant say I have tasted a lot of each, so it hard for me to describe the favor. The fruit is almost jet back when ripe.   There are no named varieties of this fruit, which are a shame; I would like to see these planted developed more.

Gooseberries "Glendale" and "Orach 8"

Sample of blueberries (blue), clove currants (black) champagne currants (pink) and Gooseberries (burgandy)

2 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Where have you been? Have you considered growing pomegranates? How are your fruit trees doing this year?

Comment by Margaret

I’m desperate to find fresh currants . . . do you know where I might get some now??
In Sandy Springs.

Comment by Janice Hellmann

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