Gooseberry is a species of (Ribes) and is native to Europe, Africa, and Asia. Gooseberries were introduced into the United States by the early settlers. The American gooseberry (Ribes hirtellum) is native to northeastern and north-central Unites States and adjacent parts of Canada. Native gooseberries are deciduous shrubs and they are fast growing to a mature size of 6 feet tall and about 3 feet wide. Some new cultivars may approach 20 feet tall. The annual growth of the gooseberry occurs in a single flush in the spring. The flowers are self-fertile and pollinated by wind and insects. Gooseberries like morning sun and part-shade in the afternoon and good air circulation. They tolerate a wide range of soil types, except for waterlogged soils. They will perform best in a soil with a pH of 5.5 to 7.0. A thick mulch of organic material over the root system is excellent for keeping the root system cool and moist.
A Gooseberry bush is usually grown on a permanent short leg of about 6 inches. For pruning purposes, snap off or prune off any branching that occurs below the 6 inch level. After 5 to 6 years of growth, begin removing the oldest stems to make room for new shoots. Pruning the gooseberry bush also allows for easier picking of the fruit from this thorny bush. Gooseberries do not contain any fats, cholesterol or sodium. They do have high levels of vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Riboflavin. Gooseberries are sweet and delicious and are used in jams and jellies. Gooseberries are purported to assist in maintaining cardiovascular and digestive health.