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Taking cuttings for juicy berries next Spring



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In his latest Out In The Garden column, Mark Cox, of Baytree Garden Centre in Weston, tells us how to take cutting for currants.

Finding time to do anything at this time of the year is like juggling a boiling kettle... no sooner have you have caught the kettle then you need to throw it away again before the searing pain of third degree burns kicks in.

This is how my life feels at the moment as I flit from one near disaster to another.

Juicy currants
Juicy currants

Having nearly fallen through my shed roof last week whilst trying to re-felt it, I was determined to keep my feet firmly planted on the ground for whatever gardening conundrum I was faced with.

Thankfully for me gardening whilst skydiving has yet to be invented. Mr Caiker from Donnington, the posh end, emailed me to discuss his flowering currants and that’s not a euphemism.

Mr Caiker had four Ribes that were fully mature and from these canes he wanted to know how he could go about taking cuttings from them to make new plants in the spring.

Fortunately for me Donnington is only a few miles away so with plenty of light left I drove over to meet Mr Caiker.

I have to say I was treated like royalty when I arrived. There was a pot of freshly brewed tea on the dining room table and a packet of Jaffa Cakes layed in a circle on a separate plate.

Mrs Caiker was lovely too – she reminded me very much of Mrs Chapman from ITV’s Grantchester... I don’t know why, but she did.

Following a good look over each plant we decided where to take the cuttings from. The skill is to take cuttings from the main shoots which are about the circumference of your little finger and are really woody.

You need a good eight to 10 inches of strong wood before the tip of the cutting gets too whippy.

Carefully with a sharp pair of secateurs we took the cuttings. This for me is where gardening really is wonderful.

I took Mr Caiker’s spade and made a small incision in the soil about four inches deep, one spade width wide, simple.

Once you have your cutting in hand you have to remove the flexible growth from the top of the cutting to leave you with an eight to 10 inch stick.

This is where you need to either have a very good memory or just work methodically as you need to remember which end was the top and which end was the bottom of the cutting as it has to be planted correctly for the cutting to grow.

Into the four inch deep slit made with the spade I placed the first cutting, making sure that the bottom end of the cutting was the end that went into the soil.

Using my right foot, which for some reason is my preferred firming foot, I firmed the soil around the cutting.

Between us we were done in about 30 minutes.

Over the next few months the cuttings will develop new roots and from these cuttings new shoots will appear and from these shoots we will have new plants that in time will fruit.

Mrs Caiker promised me a slice of her homemade Victoria Sponge on my next visit in the spring.

Role on April!



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