Big bud on blackcurrants

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Question ...

About eight years ago I planted Seabrooks blackcurrants in an attempt to avoid reversion virus. This year I've given up the struggle and dug them all up.

I am on an allotment site where every second plot has ancient infected bushes growing. Out of 90 plus gardens, I've only seen about four bushes without the virus, and none of them were more than 60cm high. Are there any blackcurrants with immunity? If not, can you recommend a similar fruit that is not susceptible?

Answer ...

We know of a few blackcurrant varieties with resistance. Ben Gairn and Ben Finlay have shown resistance to reversion; Ben Hope is resistant to the gall mite that spreads the disease. However, resistance is not immunity and the level of infection on your site is very high. Ideally, all the plot owners should get rid of all the infected bushes, and start again!

For an alternative crop, you could try Worcesterberry. This produces a small black berry, with a similar flavour, but the bush is large and thorny.

If you would like further advice on your organic growing, why not become a member of Garden Organic? It costs as little as £2.75 a month, and not only gives you full access to our advisory service, but also free or discounted entrance to many gardens across the UK. Call 02476 308210 or email membership@gardenorganic.org.uk

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