This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
It is now about twelve years since this method of growing the Currants and Gooseberries has become general in Europe; since then it has rapidly assumed large dimensions, so that now they are quite an article of commerce with the nurseries there.
I first saw them at the Pomological Institute of Dr. Ed. Lucas, at Reutlingen (where I spent two years), in the autumn of '69; being immediately taken up with the idea, I wrote Dr. Sied-hof, my kind patron, about them.
He wrote, "Send me a dozen," and since has largely increased the number - now having about fifty in all.
He has imported about one hundred more for special friends of his in different sections of Hudson Co., N. J.; so they have been thoroughly tested. Not a speck of mildew during seven years.
This method of grafting naturally does away with and supersedes the old and tedious method of trimming up the plants on their own roots to the standard form and then have it ruined by the borer, as Ribes aureum is exempt from the attacks of the borer.
The stocks are grown by stooling, removed and potted in fall and placed in a frame till about the holidays, when they are brought into a cool house - say from 45° to 50°.
In about three weeks they have started sufficiently for grafting to begin. The methods employed are the common whip graft, without cutting the tongue, and the cleft graft for larger stocks.
Only perfectly well-hardened, woody stocks should be selected, all others "rejected.
Previous to grafting they are kept shaded well. After grafting, however, they are given the full light and a little more heat.
Bottom heat is not absolutely necessary, but of course, in a measure, is very beneficial.
Frequent sprinkling after starting from the graft is also very beneficial.
By pinching the tips of the stocks we obtain branched beads, and so are enabled to set several grafts on one plant.
Instead of potting, some firms just envelope the roots in a ball of moss fastened with wire. These are very handy for shipping.
They must at no time be kept too moist. Are saleable next fall as one-year olds.
The fruit we exhibited at the Centennial were not show berries, as the English grow them, for the plants were literally loaded with fruit.
We have measured berries 5 1/2 by 3 3/4 inches in circumference, weighing from 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 oz.
These statements are actual facts and may be relied on. If these notes will be of any use to you we shall be glad to have you use them.