Is there anyone out there breeding gooseberries? Seems to me like most every gooseberry cultivar from America was introduced in the 1800’s or early 1900’s. Jeanne was released from the NCGR, but there must have been a mix up somewhere because they dont know where it came from or what it’s pedigree is. Tixia is one of the newest ones I’ve seen, and it was originally crossed in Switzerland in 1990. Is there anywhere or anyone breeding currently in the US? I plan on starting to mess with backyard breeding of them when my cultivar bushes start producing in a year or two. We have wild ones growing everywhere in my location in SW MO. Droughts, floods, late freezes, humidity and fungus, nothing seems to slow down the wild ones. Taste and berry size could be better, but they’re still a big hit in my family.
I found this excerpt from well over a hundred years ago inspiring. I’ve got the space and the time to mess with breeding them. Hopefully a few other people do too. I sincerely believe there is a lot of refining that could still be done with this great plant.
What is your main focus for breeding, just taste and berry size? This is a very interesting topic to me.
Taste first and and foremost. The whole point of me growing any fruit at home is to get taste that I can’t get anywhere else. Next in importance is disease resistance, drought tolerance, and just general toughness. Next is lack of thorns. Next is vigor, or at least plants that can thrive in poor rocky hillside soil. Last is size. Size is very nice, but I personally don’t mind picking a few more berries if the taste is there.
I might be starting to. I only got a couple seeds from the cross I tried this year. I’m trying to breed for sawfly resistance. I have a sawfly resistant selection with tiny fruit that I’m trying to cross with a large fruited type.
I think part of the reason there has been less interest compared to say, blueberries, is that our government banned their use and tried to eradicate them from the wild to limit WPBR.
Now that they have been “decriminalized” in most places, I think they just need to be introduced to more people. The few I’ve tried I really enjoyed, and I am planning an order for more varieties this year.