What is a good Goose Berry to plant in S-Iowa? Heavier soil, although I would put a good bag of Iowa-rich black dirt in the hole. I have some now, given to me that don't like southern Iowa. Hardly grow.
Poorman grows well here in Chicago. balance sweet/tart flavor, fresh eating quality.
I just ordered a Hinnomaki Red (from Indiana Berry) for here in eastern Wisconsin, so it is good to at least zone 5 same as southern Iowa or I would not have bought it. Give me a year and I'll tell you how good it grows, or try one for yourself at the same time as me. This is one of the best varieties for fresh eating, sweet center -- I have tasted it and was impressed which is why I am now going to try growing my own. I have high hopes that it will be great.
I love gooseberries! My soil is heavy clay on a hillside so I grow most of them in pots, and they do very well. For flavor and size I give Black Velvet and Tixia top marks. I have lots of Hinomaki Red both in ground and pots. Very nice also but a bit smaller with crazy thorns. I just put in Hinomaki Yellow and Whitesmith but haven't tasted them yet. The one I wish I hadn't planted is Pixwell. Very very small berries. I let the birds have them.
FWIW I have purchased plants from several sources. Gooseberries seem to survive bareroot transport easily. But for best selection I recommend Whitman Farms. Only place I could find the highly recommended Black Velvet, and it was worth it.
Pam in cinti
Here is a link that might be useful: Whitman Farms
I pulled my Pixwell. Fruit has bland flavor once ripe. Any other cultivar is fine.
You can also if local soils are giving you a problem container grow them. I have 2 gooseberries in 10 gallon containers that with a little fertilizer perform flawlessly.
I have my gooseberries in full sun, heavy, somewhat compacted, slightly alkaline soil. Black Velvet is thriving, Poorman is doing well, Hinnomaki Red is fine, and Hinnnomaki yellow is a little shrimp of a plant. All have very delicious, sweet berries. Black Velvet has produced the most, and largest size.
I'm considering adding Tixia, since I like large berries. I'm in Southern WI.
It's interesting that two people have commented on the size of the Black Velvet berries. I got a few in 2012 (not of noteworthy size) and a lot of medium to small berries in 2013. They also ripened unevenly, which was pretty frustrating. I didn't want to keep playing with the thorns, so I eventually just picked everything (even some unripe) and just made it into jam.
The Black Velvet bush is probably the most vigorous (tall and bushy) of the gooseberries I have planted, so maybe I just need to prune them a bit more. Thinning the berries is another option, but that would be painful, given the thorns. I think I'll try varying levels of pruning this spring- I have several Black Velvet bushes, so I can experiment a bit.
Hinnomaki Yellow- Good tasting and productive, though something ate most of mine. The few I got were very good. The both of my bushes are very weak growing and small.
Hinnomaki Red- Pretty good tasting with medium-large berry size on an average size bush.
Jeanne- Best flavor (quite sweet) so far, but very weak growing bush (similar to HY). Regrettably I haven't had a large sample yet, but this is the one type I'm thinking about getting more of.
Orus 8- OK flavor and a strong growing bush. It was also quite precocious. This year it defoliated early- leaf disease of some sort, not animals (not a problem the 2 previous years).
Invicta- These things are scary to look at with small thorns on the berry. I'm not sure I ripened them enough- it was one of several bushed where something ate all the leaves last year, so I picked them a bit early. Medium size bush with big berries.
I've got another half dozen types which I don't have enough experience to comment on (those listed above were planted in 2010 and 2011).
Another vote for Black Velvet! Need to be very ripe though for the best taste.