How To Grow Blueberries
It’s hard to beat a handful of fresh blueberries straight from the garden, especially on top of your cereal in the morning. With the right selection of plants, ample water and a good layer of mulch, you will be able to enjoy your blueberry bushes for years to come!
We recommend that you purchase an established plant (at least 2 years old) from your local nursery or farmers market. While it is possible to grow blueberries from seed, you could end up waiting several years before your plants start to produce good fruit.
Two things you need to know while planting. Blueberries love acidic soil
and have a very shallow root system
. You want to make sure your soil can retain adequate moisture, which can be done by adding a generous amount of compost or rotted manure. We usually mix in a cup of 5-5-5 organic fertilizer as well.
It's best to fill the hole with water before setting your plant in. Once you have set it in the ground, mix in some more compost to fill the hole. Given the shallow root system, you should then cover your berries with 1-2 inches of mulch. Water again and you're well on your way to enjoying years of fresh blueberries!
Caring For Blueberries
We usually fertilize our berries in the spring with a dose of organic 5-5-5, then mulch with a thick layer of compost. Adding mulch is vital, as it helps retain the moisture these thirsty plants need. Remember, these are acid loving plants! A lot of folks will mulch with sawdust, as it can be quite acidic, especially cedar and fir.
Make sure you keep your berries watered. If your soil dries out, chances are you will not get a bountiful crop. Mulch is key!
If it's your first year, we usually pinch off the flowers (which eventually become the berries) to encourage vigorous root growth. I know, it's hard to do, but trust me...it's worth it in the long run. The healthier and happier the root system, the bigger harvest in years to come.
Pruning is another important factor with these wonderful bushes. We usually prune in early spring, removing any dead branches and any small twigs. You want to focus the energy into the bigger, healthier branches which tend to produce the most fruit.
The moment you've been waiting for. It's tempting to harvest once your berries turn blue. However, if you wait an extra week, you may find that the berries are even sweeter.
Trial and error works best. Once you notice your blueberries turning color, try one or two - the wait a day or two and try a few more. You should notice a gradual increase in sweetness. This will help you decide when the optimum time is to pick.
Apple Maggot, Japanese Beatles and BIRDS!
Blueberry mosaic virus, Blueberry red ring spot virus, Blueberry scorch virus
Tips For Growing Blueberries
Birds can be quite a pest, but we allow them to pick a few here and there. There is usually enough for everybody! If they become a major problem, try some bird netting. Just make sure the netting is well above your plants, otherwise the netting can inhibit growth.