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Growing Cape Gooseberry, also Golden Berry, Inca Berry

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28 Jul 17 George (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hello, I'm researching information on growing this plant and this site has the most, however after reading all the comments I am a little confused. could somebody clarify some bits please? 1) Most comments and tips agree on that the plant doesn't need any fertilizer but some speak about potassium and manure. If I use whatever is suitable for tomatoes will i hurt the plant or just get a lot of vegetable growth but no fruits? 2)Last year I grew 4 plants and managed to destroy two of them by over-watering (I had them all in pots so i guess draining was the issue). I live on a Greek island and the summer here is pretty hot while we get no frost during winter (the entire month of July passed with temperatures in the range of 30-43C). I grew two more from cuttings planted on the ground and they all seem to do well though I'm experimenting on different sun exposure. The plants I have in pots are under direct sun light for the most part of the day (10 hours min.) while the ones on the ground are under partial sun exposure (4-6 hours a day) though the latter are approximately 1m tall while the first are up to 2m. My problem is that I do not get any blossoms at all. There's plenty of them on the plants but they never get to grow into flowers, as soon as they get thick as a needle they seem to burn out. Do I need to water the plants twice a day or add fertilizer? Last year the plants were less than 1m tall and I got only a single flower which of course couldn't turn into fruit (but at least it was a flower :) ) so I thought I was off to a good start but obviously I'm doing something wrong.
10 Sep 17 John W (Australia - temperate climate)
Hello George Cape Gooseberries planted in the ground need little or no extra Nitrogen fertiliser otherwise they will grow too much vegetation with very little fruit. Just before or at flowering time you should add Phosphorus - I add half of the recommended amount every 2 weeks. Phosphorus increases the number of flowers. After the fruit starts to form I start adding small amounts of Potassium to the soil or watering with a liquid Potassium - the liquid Potassium is absorbed quicker. Potassium is responsible for making the fruit sweeter or with flowering plants ( roses etc.) the flowers bigger and more colourful. It is a very common mistake that Potassium makes more fruit and flowers - it's Phosphorus that does that. I have been growing Cape Gooseberries for at least 35 years this way so I know by experience and I have experimented with these fertilisers. I also grow not only the usual citrus (10 dwarf trees in pots and some in the ground), bananas, figs, but other fruit like Star Fruit, Dragon Fruit , Black Sapote and I always use the same fertilising procedure with very good results. I grow my Cape Gooseberries in the vegetable garden - 3 plants in a row with 4 x 1.8 metre stakes and thin rope wound aroud the 4 stakes to keep the plants from spreading out over the garden.
13 Sep 17 Janet (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi John, Thanks for all that info on cape gooseberries. I am amazed at how well the one plant I have grows so well but have been wondering how to support it. I will put in stakes and ropes as you suggest and apply potassium and phosphorus . I am about to establish at least two more from suckers. What an excellent berry to have fresh through the winter months! I will then, when all are fruiting, experiment with preserving. I hope I can find other fruit and vegies that grow so well here.
01 Aug 17 Carol (Australia - tropical climate)
Lack of flowers usually means the plant is short on potassium. A foliar spray every two weeks will make a huge difference. I have them growing in Australia in the wet tropics (winter 15 to 27C) now in part shade, in the summer they will be better in some shade and make sure they are moist all the time with good drainage
10 Sep 17 John (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi Carole Try Phosphorus for flowers or extra flowers and when the flowers appear then Potassium for better flowers and sweeter fruit - I have been doing it that way for 35 years with various common and odd fruit. I do this with all vegetables and fruit which form from flowers such as tomatoes, cucumbers passionfruit etc
31 Jul 17 Mike (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Search -- Full sun Shelter from winds and tolerates moderate salty marine conditions. Are frost tender and grows as an annual in colder regions. In warmer areas they will grow for several seasons producing seedlings to continue the plants. Frosts can burn the plants but will recover unless the frost was hard. Prune back after all frosts have passed. Cape Gooseberries will grow in a wide range of soils and pHs. Soil must be well draining. Plants will handle periods of drought but too much moisture could encourage fungal problems. Plant in early spring as this will help with an earlier fruit set, space 0.5-1.5 apart. In most situations Cape Gooseberries do not need any fertiliser. Unneeded fertiliser could result in lots of vegetation and little fruit. Pinch out new shoots to encourage bushy growth. Prune back hard in spring to encourage new growth for fruiting. Pests Very few problems unless the soil is too wet and causes fungal problems and rot. ------------------------------------------- if you are going to fertilise only put small amounts on. A 9L water can with a tablespoon or two of fertiliser - with a low N% with some P and K. Don't use the tomato fertiliser - far too much N. A suggestion - a little manure or compost mixed into the soil - compost or mulch around the plants will help cool the soil down in summer - also you will save water by doing this. With your high temperatures I would suggest you make a shade cover for summer - in Australia we have shade cloth - 50-70-90%. Find some cheap wood off cuts and make a frame - then nail the shade cloth to it. Or some black poly pipe about 25mm thick and make an arc over the plants. By the article the plants should only grow to a meter or so high.
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