This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The experience of some years enables me now to speak of some American varieties of Gooseberries as grown here in Rochester somewhat extensively.
The Downing holds a good place as a strong and very healthy grower, never, under any circumstances failing to produce a very abundant crop; without a trace of mildew and with very remarkably good foliage. The quality of the fruit I cannot call best.
Smith's Improved never mildews, is as large or larger than Downing, of better quality and equally productive; but the plant is not as strong a grower, needs higher manuring an some pruning; also is more liable to lose its foli age more or less before the fruit is past.
Hudson, raised by Joseph H. Ricketts, proves with me the finest in quality of all the Gooseberries I have ever tasted. In size it is larger than either Downing or Smith's Improved, and has never shown a trace of mildew; which, along with its style of growth, leads me to the conclusion it must have come from the seed of American or cross breed stock. The foliage is thick and glossy, but liable to drop some before the fruit is all past.
New Seedlings. I am this year fruiting a quantity of seedlings raised from several American varieties, with the following general results: Seedlings from the Downing follow the parent so closely that the variations are slight, one only-going back to a wild dark fruit, with thorns on the berry. Seedlings from Smith's Improved also, in most instances, are similar to the parent; but a few are colored, and one, a fine round, red berry, seems to promise excellence. Seedlings from Houghton vary somewhat in color, time of ripening, and vigor, but not much improvement in size.
Seedlings from Mountain are, I think, more interesting and hopeful than the others, because along with the large growth, comparatively thornless shoots, and immense crops, some of the seedlings show larger size, finer quality and earlier period of ripening than the old Mountain seedling. I mean to further test some of the more promising ones, hoping that this very cheaply grown fruit may one day be found to reach higher than it now does with those who are critical in their taste, and look for early Gooseberries to be as firm as Delaware Grapes.