zone 9 - currant/ribes/aronia/blackberriey

vjeko(Croatia, 9)July 26, 2013

I've asked a few questions about these plants before but I'm not getting very far. I'm in Croatia on the coast/zone 9.

I know this may not be the best place for such berries/fruit as the temperatures during the summer can be a dry 35C - 38C. The soil doesn't have much humus, so I added sheep manure and worm compost on top as well as mulch of whatever I could find nearby and in the garden (oregano, grape vine leaves, straw). I know the amount of mulch is not sufficient - I'm trying to collect as much as I can.
I also added diluted apple vinegar. The plants grew when the weather was colder but now I'm wondering what I should do to promote their growth etc..

The aronia has fruit but it is very small. With the blackberry, it is a similar situation. It seems they are underwatered. The plants seemed to have stopped growing and some leaves are drying up/yellow.

When I water the plants I remove the mulch to stop decay/possible disease etc. I try to water the plants away from the "trunk" and maybe once a week or every 3/4 days in the evening or early morning. Sometimes, more frequently, I make a fine spray around the plant just to keep the soil moist,/alive with bacteria etc.. But it seems I still don't know what too little or too much watering means.Is it futile to grow this type of fruit here or is there something I can do to "persuade" the plants to grow (watering/feeding/mulch) ?

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peachymomo(Ca 8)

I've also been trying to grow currants in a warm dry climate, this year I moved them to a spot that tends to be cooler than the rest of the property and gets dappled shade all day and they are much happier than they were in the sun. I think that many plants that are adapted to cooler climates do better in hot climates if given partial shade. I also notice that the blackberries growing wild in this area tend to hold their fruits much longer in the shade, while the ones in the sun dry out very quickly.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 2:05PM
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vjeko(Croatia, 9)

OK, I'll stick at it then. I also thought about the idea of keeping them in a cooler spot, so I planted them on the west side of the house (my vegetable garden is there also) and I've strategically added a number of sweet sour cherry trees which would give shade once they've grown. Can you tell me how much and how often you water them in the summer and what about type/amount/frequency of fertilizer ?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 4:38PM
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peachymomo(Ca 8)

I water mine frequently because I have them in pots until I decide where I want to plant them permanently. When it's hot I water them every other day, when it's cooler I'll let them go 3-4 days between watering. I fertilize young plants very lightly, I gave them some organic granular fertilizer in early spring and I haven't given them anything but water since. I think regular watering and patience are the keys to success.

    Bookmark   July 26, 2013 at 6:55PM
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You might have been better off by incorporating your top dressings into the entire planting area months before planting. By just doing the top dressings, it could take some years for the soil to improve. Try hoeing some of your amendments into the upper soil, taking care to not disturb roots.

The only way to accurately gauge watering is to probe a few inches into the soil to see how well it is taking up moisture.

Blackberries don't care if they get their trunks wet; water the ground right up to the canes.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 3:17AM
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carolync1(z8/9 CA inland)

Clove Currant (such as 'Crandall') is the only currant I have been able to grow in our hot-summer, mild winter climate. They are on the north side of the house and get morning and evening sun in summer. They sweeten up enough to eat straight from the bush if you leave them for a few days after they turn black. An eastern exposure might be better. The plants are not as compact as they would be in more sun.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2013 at 11:16AM
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