These are the self same currants that missed a year's pruning and consequently gave me a lot of grief, zillions of tiny currants that nobody could be bothered picking properly and in the end we left the lions share to the birds. Such tiny thorns on the rose bush of gardening are a marvellous agent for change and sure enough, I remembered the pain sufficiently to prune and prune hard.
In the end, the new growth was so spindly that I picked out the strongest seven two year olds and next year we will get back to fruiting on year old wood. There is more than one way to prune blackcurrants and this method does not fit the text books. However we have 75 bushes which cuts us some slack in production. This is virtually the only care they get, apart from mowing the grass between the rows and the grass around them is sprayed once a year. (I have seen a companion planting with comfrey work very well as a weed suppressant and nutrient package.)
Can you see there is a crown at the base from which all the shoots come up and to which the branches are cut back? There will always be a bud or two left at the bottom which will come away this year for next. I should think the harsh pruning gives us less fruit but they are large, shiny and beautiful and command the respect they deserve.
I squeezed those gooseberries into the little red car on Thursday for a long drive home and what great plants they turned out to be underneath the wrappers. That tangle that looks like straw is a mass of roots and a bucket or two of compost and a peck of wood ash later, however much a peck may be, they are ready for spring. The potash in the woodash encourages fruiting rather than leafy growth and they like it.