Blackcurrant - berry for health
Based on historical sources it is known that in Russia already in the XI century. Information about it as a healing culture was first found in the herbalists and herbalists of the XV-XVI centuries. The history of Russian gardens of the Moscow state is closely related to the cultivation of black currants. Its wild thickets were found in abundance along the banks of the Moscow River. By the way, according to some oral folk legends, the most ancient name of the Moskva River was Smorodinovka. Numerous historical documents report that already in the beginning and middle of the XVII century. plantations of black currant occupied a large place in the gardens near Moscow.
Blackcurrant (lat.Ríbes nígrum) - deciduous shrub, a species of the genus Currant (Ribes) of the monotypic gooseberry family (Grossulariaceae).
Blackcurrant is one of the most beloved berries.. In addition to great taste, blackcurrant is very useful for the health of the body. Due to its healing properties, blackcurrant is often used in folk medicine for therapeutic and prophylactic purposes.
Blackcurrant is a relatively young culture. She was not known to the ancient Greeks and Romans.
Currently, the largest land area in the gardens is allocated for this culture.
The fruits of black currant are characterized by a valuable chemical composition - they are rich in vitamins, microelements and other biologically active compounds, sugars, organic acids, pectin, tannins, coloring substances.
The acidity of fruits of various varieties of blackcurrant varies in a very significant range - from 1.8 to 4.36%. The berries with the lowest acidity are Cantata 50, Pilot Alexander Mamkin, Belorusskaya Sweet and Minai Shmyrev. The same varieties, as a rule, also have a higher sugar content, which makes the fruit taste good.
Organic acids are mainly represented by citric, also contains malic, oxalic (very little), paracumar. Sugar contains more fructose, less glucose and sucrose. In berries up to 3% fiber. When berries ripen, the total content of pectin substances decreases and sugar content increases. Carotenoids in currant berries are very few. The content of the most active B-carotene (provitamin A) is 0.08-0.11 mg / 100 g wet weight of blackcurrant fruit.
The fruits are rich in vitamin E (0.72 mg / 100 g), surpassing almost all fruits and berries, with the exception of sea buckthorn, cloudberries, rose hips and chokeberry aronia. 100 g of fresh berries contains 0.86 mg of vitamin K.
Blackcurrant fruits and leaves are a valuable source of vitamin C. The content of ascorbic acid in berries varies and depends on many factors: variety, weather conditions of the growing season, plant age, degree of fruit maturity, agricultural techniques and some others.
Green fruits are richest in vitamin C; as they ripen, C-vitamin activity decreases and drops especially sharply when berries are overripe. Cloudy, cool summers with a lot of rainfall, especially at the end of June and the first half of July, negatively affect the content of ascorbic acid in berries.
Young leaves collected after flowering, contain up to 400 mg / 100 g of vitamin C, as the formation and ripening of fruits sharply decreases the C-vitamin activity of the leaves. After picking berries, only 1 / 9-1 / 16 of the initial amount of vitamin C is found in the leaves. Phenolic compounds of blackcurrant berries are mainly represented by anthocyanins, flavonols, leukoanthocyanins and catechins (with a significant prevalence of the first two groups).
Other vitamins - B1, B2, PP, B6, folic acid, pantothenic acid, etc. are contained in fruits in small quantities.. It should be emphasized that only pantothenic acid is in amounts that may have some practical value in the human vitamin balance (0.4 mg / 100 g). According to this indicator, blackcurrant is significantly superior to strawberries, raspberries, sea buckthorn, redcurrants, apples, pears, oranges, lemons, grapes, peaches and a number of other fruits and berries.
Blackcurrant berries are one of the most valuable sources of biologically active phenolic substances of capillary-strengthening, anti-sclerotic, anti-inflammatory, vasodilating (antispasmodic) action.
The leaves are even richer in these compounds. It was established that 100 g of fresh leaves contain the following amounts of phenolic compounds (in mg): flavonols - 980-2700, catechins - 574-3320, leukoanthocyanins - 504-1320. It is known that blackcurrant leaves are often components of the salting and soaking formulations of vegetables and fruits. They not only help preserve the natural color of raw materials, but also enrich products with phenolic compounds and vitamin C.
Currant bushes are sold both in pots and with bare roots.
Planting pits 40-45cm deep are prepared a few weeks before planting so that the soil can settle well. At the bottom of the pit they put a bucket of humus mixed with earth and 100 g of superphosphate.
In central Russia, it is better to plant currants in the fall, starting from the second half of September until the beginning of October. Spring landing is also possible. In order not to expose the plant to unnecessary stress during transplantation, it is necessary to plant in the spring as early as possible, as soon as the soil allows and until the plants have buds. It is most optimal for the distance between the bushes to be 1.8m. The landing pit should be of sufficient diameter to freely accommodate the roots of the plant.
When planting black currants, the correct depth of the plant should be ensured. The root neck of a seedling is buried by 5 cm. From this, the plant forms additional roots, and the bush becomes thicker. After planting, the soil is carefully compacted, watered abundantly and mulched with humus.
After planting, all seedlings are cut off, leaving only 2 buds above the ground. Such pruning may seem radical, but it contributes to the development of a strong root system and the formation of a well-branched bush.
The main care measures for currants are watering, weed control and pruning.. Watering is especially important during dry periods. Currants consume a lot of moisture during the beginning of the formation of berries and their ripening. So that weeds do not take moisture from currants, they must be destroyed.
With the beginning of fruiting, currants should be regularly fed with fertilizers.. In autumn, under each bush, 100-120 g of superphosphate and 30-40 g of potassium chloride are added. In early spring, 40-50 g of nitrogen fertilizers are applied. Following this, annual mulching is carried out with a mixture of rotted manure with peat. Such mulching not only fertilizes, but also helps to retain moisture and inhibits weed growth.
Pruning a fruiting bush is carried out annually, usually in late autumn or early spring. About 20% of the shoots are removed from the middle of the bush to keep it light and thick. Then approximately 15% of the shoots of the older age are removed, as well as all diseased and pest-affected branches.
Blackcurrant propagated by layering, lignified and green cuttings.
One of the most common breeding methods is layering.. The method of reproduction by horizontal layering is considered the simplest and it is used most often.
If the garden has a high-yielding variety, then using this method of propagation, in one year you can get powerful seedlings with a well-developed root system. For rooting, they shall dig a shallow groove near the bushes in advance. In the early spring, before the sap flow begins, annual shoots shorten 1/5 of their length in order to activate bud growth. Shoots with trimmed tops are laid on the bottom of the grooves, they are pinned to the ground with wooden or metal hooks and are not covered until green shoots grown from the buds reach a height of 8-10 cm.
To keep the branch well in the hole in the right position, in the center of the hole it is fixed with a wire hook. Then the hole is covered with soil and regularly watered during the summer. A necessary condition for the successful rooting of layering, which begins in July and is actively going on since the end of August, is the moist state of the soil.
By the autumn, the branch is well rooted and a full-fledged seedling with a powerful root system and thick 2-3 branches is obtained. In the same autumn, the rooted layering secateurs cut off from the uterine bush and transplanted to a permanent place.
The method of propagation of shrubs by horizontal layers allows you to get a large number of seedlings, because from a healthy strong bush you can take 5-7 shoots.
Propagation by lignified cuttings is also not difficult and accessible to every amateur gardener.
In this case, healthy, not damaged annual shoots with a thickness of a pencil are used. Shoots are usually cut in December, although they can be harvested throughout the winter. Store prepared cuttings in different ways. They can be dug in wet peat with sawdust and placed in a cool room where it is necessary to maintain a temperature of 0–5 ° C and ventilate. In another method of storing the cuttings after cutting for a short time, they lower the ends into water and then place them in a plastic bag. Packages are stored in the refrigerator.
Some gardeners do even easier: in a raw potato, make several holes along the diameter of the cuttings, insert them, tie the ends together, wrap them with a damp cloth, and then paper.
Cuttings are planted in the spring in the garden as early as possible on specially prepared beds with row spacing of 20 cm and with a distance of 15 cm in the row, and immediately after planting they put labels with the name of the variety. Labels are best made from food grade aluminum foil.
It is easy to write on them with a ballpoint pen, squeezing letters (it turns out rotting, indelible, non-wetting and not fading in the sun “eternal” label).
From mid-June to mid-August, berry shrubs can be propagated by green cuttings, but June cuttings take root better. For green cuttings, lateral shoots are used, which have completed their growth and formed the apical bud.
Cuttings in the garden can be planted both in autumn and early spring. For planting in spring, cuttings 18-20 cm long are harvested in October, i.e. in early winter, before severe frosts that can destroy the currant buds. They are taken from annual shoots growing from the root or grown on two or three summer branches. It is better to take cuttings from the middle of the shoot. Their thickness should be 8-10 mm. Immediately after cutting, both ends of the shank are dipped in molten garden var or paraffin. With this treatment, they do not lose moisture during storage. Then the cuttings are bundled into varieties, labels are carefully tied, wrapped first in slightly moistened paper, then in plastic wrap, buried and stored deep in the snow until planting. It can also be stored in a home refrigerator on a shelf under the freezer.
In the spring of next year, young plants obtained by propagation by lignified and green cuttings are transplanted to a bed for growing. Planting of plants can be carried out with the onset of warm days, in mid-April. A transplant in a later period is best done in cloudy weather. Plants are placed according to the scheme 40 x 50 cm, abundantly watered, and in sunny weather they are shaded.
Many amateur gardeners, when growing blackcurrant in homestead farms, not only apply the technology of the already known methods of propagation of this crop, experiment with new developments by scientists, but also use their own. Check them out, try to master, and when you see the results, remember the kind words of those who shared their experiences.
- Variety of medium ripening, universal. The bush is medium tall, medium spread. The berries are round-oval, black, with an average skin, sweet and sour, an average weight of 1.4 g. The variety is frost-resistant, disease susceptibility and damage by pests is weak.
- Medium ripening, universal purpose. The bush is overgrown. The berries are round, with an average weight of 1.7 g, black, shiny, with a medium-density skin, sweet and sour taste. The variety is winter hardy.
- Mid-term ripening. The bush is medium-sized, slightly spreading. The berries are round, black, with an average weight of 0.95 g, with a medium-density peel. The variety is winter hardy. Diseases and pests were slightly damaged.
- Universal purpose, early ripening. The bush is medium-tall, compressed. The berries are round, almost black, with a thin skin, sweet and sour, with an aroma, with a delicate taste, an average weight of 1.8 g. Frost-resistant, slightly affected by diseases and damaged by pests.
- Medium ripening, universal use. The berries are round in shape, with an average weight of 1.9 g, almost black with a thin skin, sweet-sour taste. The variety is resistant to low temperatures, relatively resistant to diseases and pests.
- Mid-term ripening, universal use. Berries with an average weight of 1.2 g, round, almost black, with a skin of medium thickness, sweet and sour taste. The variety is resistant to diseases and pests, including columnar rust.
- Medium ripening, universal purpose. Berries with an average weight of 1.9 g, round-oval, black. The taste is sweet and sour, with aroma. The variety is resistant to fungal diseases, relatively winter-hardy.
- Medium-late maturity, universal purpose. The bush is vigorous, medium spread. The berries are round, black, unfrozen, with medium-skinned peels, sweet and sour, with an average weight of 1.3 g. It is medium resistant to pathogens of anthracnose, powdery mildew, bud mites and moths.
- Medium ripening, universal purpose. The berries are round, black, with a thin skin, sweet-sour taste, with a delicate delicate aroma, an average weight of 1.3 g. The variety is resistant to freezing, highly drought-resistant. He was not affected by diseases and was not damaged by pests.
- Universal purpose, medium-late ripening period. The berries are round, almost black, with slight pubescence, sweet and sour, with an average weight of 1.4 g. The variety is frost-resistant, slightly affected by diseases, damaged by pests.
The main advantages of the new blackcurrant varieties are the convenient form of the bush, large-fruited, good taste of berries and resistance to pests and diseases.
- Selechinskaya 2- winter-hardy and drought-resistant. Resistant to fungal diseases, preserves leaves until late autumn. Productivity of 4–5 kg per bush. The bush is tall, erect. The berries are very large (2.9–5.5 g).
- Dubrovskaya - winter-hardy variety, relatively resistant to bud mites, medium resistant to anthracnose, immune to terry. Productivity of 3 kg from a bush. The bush is undersized, compact. Berries of medium size.
- Dobrynya- resistant to drought and spring frost. Immune to powdery mildew, medium resistant to anthracnose and kidney mites. The bush is dwarf, erect. The berries are very large.
- Perun- resistant to drought, frost; medium resistant to powdery mildew, anthracnose, kidney mite, aphids are slightly affected. Productivity of 3-4 kg per bush. The bush is medium-tall, semi-spreading. The berries are large with a strong aroma.
- Vologda - winter-hardy, resistant to powdery mildew, relatively resistant to bud mites, susceptible to rust. The bush is overgrown, the berries are large, not ripen at the same time.
- Katyusha - winter-hardy, resistant to anthracnose, relatively resistant to powdery mildew, susceptible to kidney mites.The bush is vigorous, slightly spreading. The berries are large, with a very dense skin.
- Mermaid- early fruiting. Winter-hardy. Resistant to powdery mildew and kidney mite, medium resistant to Septoria, slightly affected by anthracnosis. Productivity of 2.4–3.5 kg per bush. The berries are very large.
- Keen - winter hardiness is high. Relatively resistant to powdery mildew, rust, kidney mite, medium resistant to anthracnose. The largest of the late varieties (berries weigh up to 7.8 g), but in the middle lane the berries are not so large.
Pests and diseases
Currant kidney mite
It damages the kidneys mainly blackcurrant. Female ticks hibernate inside the kidneys. Affected kidneys in the fall can be detected in a rounded and slightly enlarged form. Early in the spring, during the period of kidney swelling, egg laying begins, which lasts for a month. After its completion, wintering females die. After 1-2 weeks, larvae hatch from eggs, which also feed inside the kidneys, 2-3 weeks after hatching, the larvae turn into females.
Control measures. With a weak population of plants with a tick before the buds open, the bushes are inspected 2-3 times, removing and destroying infected buds or shoots. The best time to combat the kidney tick is the period of their migration, from the beginning of budding to the end of flowering. At this time, at least 2 times are sprayed with 10% malathion (75 g per 10 l of water), colloidal sulfur (50-100 g per 10 l of water), if the air temperature is above 20 °. You can spray the infusions of walnut peel, tobacco, dandelion, garlic.
Gooseberry shoot aphid
Damages black and white currants. Eggs hibernate at the base of the kidneys. In the spring, during the period of kidney swelling, larvae hatch from eggs, which crawl to the top of the kidney and begin to feed on leafs that have not yet opened. At the beginning of shoot growth, the larvae feed on young shoots, leaf petioles, and on the leaves themselves. In the spring, aphids give 3-4 generations. Affected shoots bend and grow poorly or completely stop growing.
Instead of a normal shoot, a lump of twisted leaves with aphid colonies is formed. At an early stage of damage, the presence of aphids can be detected by the presence of ants on the shoots, which feed on the excrement of the pest. In summer, aphids migrate to weeds, and in autumn they return to currants and lay eggs.
Control measures. Bushes with the appearance of the first leaves are sprayed with infusion of tobacco, garlic, orange peels, nutshells. Treatments are repeated after 10 days. The curly tops of shoots with aphid colonies are cut and burned.
Damages the currant berries wherever this crop grows. Pupae overwinter in a cobwebbed cocoon in the surface soil layer, at a depth of 3-6 cm, under the currant bushes. Most of them are in a radius of 30-35 cm from the base of the bush. In the spring before flowering, the pupae move closer to the soil surface, turn into butterflies that fly out and begin to lay eggs at the beginning of flowering. The female lays eggs first in buds, then in currant flowers and later on young ovaries and leaves. After a few days, the caterpillars hatch from the eggs, take root in young ovaries, eating seeds and partially flesh in them for a month. Damaged berries are entangled in cobwebs, prematurely stained, rot, dry and remain hanging on a branch until the end of the harvest. The feed caterpillar descends along the cobweb to the base of the bush, penetrates the soil, pupates and remains in the form of a pupa until the spring of next year. For a season, the fire generates only one generation.
Control measures. High agricultural technology. Autumn digging of the soil under the bushes. Mulching the soil under the bushes with peat, humus, earth (layer 6-8 cm high). After flowering, you can rake the mulch. During the period of formation and growth of the ovary, collect the web-braided berries along with the caterpillars and destroy.
Blackcurrant berry sawfly
It damages mainly blackcurrant. False caterpillars winter in cocoons in the soil under the bushes. During the period of mass flowering, adults fly out. Females lay eggs one at a time at the base of the largest ovaries. Spawning false caterpillars feed on seeds inside the ovaries, filling the berries with excrement. Damaged berries have a ribbed shape, painted black ahead of schedule. False caterpillar feeds for 25-30 days. Before harvesting, she gnaws a round hole at the base of the berry, leaves it and goes into the soil. The berry is falling. During the season, the pest gives one generation.
Control measures the same as with gooseberry moth.
Common spider mite
Omnivore sucking pest. It damages not only cultivated plants, but also weeds, often accumulates on them. It especially damages blackcurrants.
Females hibernate in groups, mainly under fallen leaves, in a funnel formed by branches of a bush, under lumps of soil and under fallen leaves. Ticks can withstand very low temperatures - up to -34 °, and since there is no such temperature under the cover of snow, the females survive completely. In the last decade of April, on warm days, ticks move to currant branches and weeds.
They live, feed and multiply on the underside of predominantly mature leaves, and only with large accumulations they also damage young leaves.
A spider mite can be detected by the presence of a spider web on the underside of the leaf; light dots form on its upper side at the points of damage. With severe damage, the leaves become chlorotic in appearance, partially lightened, then brown, dry and fall off. Active propagation of the pest contributes to hot, dry weather. At the same time, the leaves fall off very early, by mid-July the bushes are bare, axillary buds start growing, which leads to freezing of shoots and loss of next year's crop.
Control measures. High agricultural technology of culture, destruction of weed vegetation are required. Autumn digging of the soil under the bushes with the incorporation of fallen leaves. The collection of leaves in the fall after they fall, and especially their careful selection from the funnel at the base of the bush. Mulching the soil under the bushes in a radius of at least 50 cm with peat, humus or simply soil with a layer of 6-8 cm. The mulching is carried out only after flowering.
Leaf gall aphid (red gall)
It damages mainly red and white currants, less often - black. Adult aphids are yellow.
Aphids winter in the egg stage on branches. In spring, during the first leaflet blooming, larvae hatch from eggs, which settle on the underside of the leaf and feed there. After 7-10 days, they turn into female founders, which hatch larvae, forming on the underside of young leaves colonies of aphids that suck the juice from plants.
The leaf blade grows in places where aphids feed, swellings (galls) are formed, and due to aphid secretions, the upper part of the leaf is painted first yellowish, then dark red. Damage due to galls is clearly visible. With a strong population of aphids, the leaves dry up and fall off, the growth of shoots and yield decrease.
When the leaves are coarsened, in the second half of summer, female settlers fly to weeds, where they feed and breed. At the end of summer, approximately in the second half of September, the females return to the currant again, lay wintering eggs, and then die.
Control measures. During budding, currants are sprayed with infusions of tobacco, garlic, yarrow against spawning larvae; spraying is repeated after 7-10 days. When spraying, the lower part of the leaves should be well moistened.
With a low number of aphids, it is necessary to cut and destroy populated leaves with aphid colonies. Destroy weed vegetation in the plantings of currants.
Yellow gooseberry sawfly
Damages red and white currants. The larva hibernates in a cobwebbed cocoon in the soil, under the bushes, at a depth of 2-6 cm or more. In spring, the larva pupates, and an adult insect flies out during the flowering period of the currant. Females lay eggs on the underside of the leaves in a chain along the main veins. After 7-10 days, larvae hatch and begin to feed heavily on leaf tissue, sometimes leaving only the main veins of the leaf. The larva feeds for 3-4 weeks, then leaves in the soil for pupation, and after 2 weeks a new (second) generation flies out. During the season, the sawfly can give 2-3 generations. The most harmful is the second generation. As a result of the destruction of the leaves, the berries are sour, crush and crumble.
Control measures. Autumn digging of the soil under the bushes. Larvae are shaken from the bushes to the litter and destroyed. Bushes are pollinated with wood ash early in the morning or evening on dew, sprayed with infusions of ash, tobacco, mustard, wormwood. Before flowering - against the first generation, after flowering - against the second generation, after harvesting - against the third, if necessary.
Damages currants. Caterpillars overwinter inside the shoots of currant for two winters. In the period of ovary growth, approximately 2 weeks after the flowering of currants, butterflies fly out. They feed on flower nectar, then lay their eggs in the cracks of the shoot bark, at the base of the buds. After 10-15 days, the spawning caterpillars gnaw through the bark and penetrate into the branches, making smooth passages with black walls, directed downward, 30-40 cm long. There the caterpillar winters, the next year continues to feed on the shoot core, moving even lower to its base. After the second winter, in the spring he gnaws a hole out and next to it turns into a chrysalis, then into a butterfly. Sometimes you can see the larval skin of a pupa sticking out of this hole.
Damaged branches lag behind in growth, this is especially noticeable at the end of flowering; flowering on these branches is late, the resulting berries are small, the growth is weak.
Control measures. In early spring, old and damaged branches are cut out. At the end of flowering, all currant bushes are checked and branches lagging in development are removed. The branches populated with glass are cut to the healthy part of the shoot or to its base, without leaving stumps. Cut branches are immediately burned. Spraying carried out after flowering against the ognevychka and sawflies, partially destroy the flying glass moths.
Currant shoot gall midge
It is dangerous for black and less often - red and white currants. The larvae penetrate under the bark, where they feed on the sap of the plant. As a result, the wood and bark of the shoots darken; drying wood cracks; shoots break easily, leaves on such branches and shoots above the damage site dry up, but do not fall.
Control measures. Digging in the autumn of soil under the bushes to a depth of 8-15 cm, and in the spring mandatory loosening. This agricultural technique allows you to destroy up to 60% of wintering larvae.
Mulching the soil under the bushes with peat, humus, loose soil with a layer of 6-8 cm in a radius of at least 50 cm. During the ripening period of the berries and after harvesting it is necessary to identify damaged branches, remove and burn them. Timely feed fertilizers, watering, cultivating.
Spraying plants and the soil beneath them before flowering, after flowering and after harvesting with karbofos (75 g per 10 l) or extracts of dandelion, yarrow, nutshell, ash, garlic.
Currant leaf gall midge
Damages black currants. Adult larvae winter in dense cocoons in the soil, to a depth of 5-6 cm. The emergence of adults in the spring coincides with periods of budding and the beginning of flowering. Years of mosquitoes lasts 14-20 days, especially active in the first 7-8 days.
Females lay eggs in groups of up to 50 on young, not yet unfolded leaves. After 3-4 days, larvae hatch from eggs. They scrap the flesh from the young leaves. The plates are twisted into a bundle, poorly developed, their color fades. After the larvae leave the soil, the damaged leaves unfold. They are wrinkled, with tears of tissue between the veins. The buds, which developed in the axils of such leaves, are smaller, the next year they give a weak flower brush or do not give a crop. With severe damage to young leaflets by larvae, the tip of the shoot dies. They cause the most severe damage to varieties with a long growing season.
Control measures the same as with the shoot gall midge.
Flower currant gall midge
It damages mainly blackcurrant. Larvae eats the contents of the bud. As a result, they increase in size, become spherical, pear-shaped or slightly flattened, painted yellow or reddish. The buds are not opened, and after the larvae leave to pupate in the soil, they fall. Early grades are most severely damaged.
Control measures the same as with the shoot gall midge.
Currants are often damaged by leaflets (pink, brownish, omnivorous, frosty, striped multi-colored, mesh flat). The greatest damage is caused by the rosette. Caterpillars feed on leaves, buds, pedicels, flowers, fruits.
Control measures. During budding, spraying with mustard infusion. Treatments carried out against the moth and ognevka before flowering and after flowering of currants will be effective against leafworms.
© Paul Albertella