Should you put your blackcurrant branches into the compost bin?
After harvesting blackcurrants, you can put the branches and leaves in the compost. However, it’s probably NOT the best idea.
While there’s nothing wrong with doing so – they will eventually break down into nutrient-rich organic matter – they just take longer to do so than the usual turnaround time for compost.
I have over a dozen blackcurrant bushes and over the years have tried various things with the remains. Here’s what has worked for me.
Is it good to compost blackcurrant bush waste?
Personally, I no longer add my blackcurrent bush waste into my regular compost. It takes too long to break down completely.
Instead, I have a seperate pile in another part of the garden where I compost this type of material (pictures below). Blackcurrant branches are best mulched or added to a longer term compost pile.
Composting Blackcurrant Bush
To harvest my blackcurrants, I cut off the branch with fruit on it, put them in a pile, and then spend the next three days picking off the berries.
I’m left with a ton of branches and leaves.
I used to put the blackcurrant branches in my regular compost which produces soil for the garden beds, but the branches take too long to break down, even in a good hot compost.
Mine have taken 1 – 3 years for the thicker branches to completely break down, and in the meantime, they’re a pain!
They make it difficult to turn the compost, and then I have to pick out the branches when I want to use the soil. I’ve had some branches that have been transferred from compost bin to compost bin as I need the soil.
The thinner, greener blackcurrant branches disappear quickly, along with the leaves, so if you can separate them out, they’re good for garden compost. But it’s best to do something else with the larger branches.
I have a larger compost pile for branches, grass clippings, and anything else not suitable for my vegetable garden compost bins. With an acre or two of shrubs and trees, I end up with a lot waste going into these piles as I prune and tidy.
So how can you make use of leftover blackcurrant branches?
You could mulch them, or do what I do. Have a separate composting area for these types of heavier garden waste.
I just add them to the pile. They get covered up and eventually break down in their own time. I’m not using these piles for soil, they’re just there as garden rubbish dumps!
In the future, I might be able to cover them with some soil and grow on top, but in the meantime, it’s just a spot for larger garden waste to break down.
It’s something like a hugelkultur mound, but that wasn’t my intention. It’s just ended up that way!
To be honest, these piles are something of an eyesore, so hopefully, in the coming years, I can get them covered in flowers or other types of plants.
What To Do With Blackcurrant Branches
Blackcurrant bushes are woody shrubs.
Their branches and leaves shouldn’t be put in the compost bin because they will take too long to turn to soil. If you have a long time horizon for your compost bin, you can do it, but that’s not most people.
If you have a mulcher, you could certainly add the mulched product to the compost, which will enrich the soil and be suitable for the garden in a more modest amount of time.
If there are any blackcurrants still on your branches – and there are always some – these could potentially seed wherever you put them.
However, on our property I’ve found the biggest culprit for this is birds eating the berries and then plants growing from their poo. It’s nice to have some new plants to pot up and give away, anyway!
So that’s how I compost blackcurrant branches and leaves. Let me know if you have any comments or questions down below!