[NAFEX] Gooseberries for TN?

Kieran &/or Donna holycow at frontiernet.net
Mon Oct 5 13:03:59 EDT 2009

    I don't have to go out and plant sweet cherries to keep the birds away 
from gooseberries, they are already there.  In fact, I was planning on 
planting the gooseberries under them.  Sounds like the only problem will be 
the bird poop on the gooseberries.  I'd wanted for years to plant the little 
soft squishy Russian style mulberries near the cherries to protect them from 
birds, but the cherry trees are about too big to reach anymore, and the NW 
slope they are on seems to ensure they freeze out most springs.  So looks 
like I'm doing it at all wrong, but at least they should enable me to grow 
gooseberries without too much bird predation.  Jap beetles are too busy out 
in the sunshine on the roses and smartweed to go looking for gooseberries in 
the shade.
    As for birds eating gooseberry buds, I think this must be the same 
phenomenon as the bullfinches eating fruit buds in winter in Europe.  The 
subject came up as happening here in the US on this list, but I don't 
remember what kind of birds were doing it.  I suspect that your place or 
your town stands out to the birds as an oasis of trees surrounded by grass? 
Whereas our place barely looks like a break in the forest.
    Blueberries have proved to be extremely easy for me to grow, given our 
very acid soil and my willingness to haul them a few buckets of water when I 
can spare it.  Even the little ones planted at the beginning of the 2005 
drought all survived except for the ones that came in peat plugs.  Yes, 
beware, only order bareroot if you have clay soil.  And you'll have to add 
sulfur every year, but that part's easy.  I heard from a friend that Dr. 
Huey rose rootstock, which hates acid clay soil and barely grows here, does 
extremely well in Nebraska.  so you may have to work a bit to produce the 
right conditions for blueberries.     Donna

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