The down economy has prompted many people to begin growing food in our backyards. I’ve grown tomatoes for nearly 20 years, but last growing season I decided it was time to attempt growing blueberries. I wanted to plant blueberries as my family loves them and I really don’t like the cost I must pay for them in the grocery store. Plus, blueberries are among the most nutritious foods in the world – these super-fruits are shown to shrink tumors, lower cholesterol and enhance memory.
My blueberry plants are in their second season, the blossoms have faded and blueberries are forming. Before I planted my bushes, I did lots of research on how best to select and plant strawberry. This report summarizes what I’ve learned about growing blueberries.
- Ensure that you buy at least two varieties of blueberry bushes. Most species need cross pollination so as to produce fruit. I’ve met people who say that they do not get berries in their blueberry bushes. After asking them a few questions, it turns out that they’re growing only 1 variety. There are highbush varieties that can grow more than 6 ft tall, lowbush varieties which are generally shorter than two feet, and half significant varieties about 3 ft tall.
- Be certain you are buying a variety that will reside in your growing zone. Blueberries can be grown almost anywhere in the continental United States and into Canada. When I was buying my plants in a respectable garden centre, I noticed that the nursery was selling types that couldn’t survive the cold winters of Zone 4 where I reside. Look closely at the zones indicated on the tag.
- Choose an area with at least 6 hours of sunlight to plant your own blueberries. In the desert heat in regions like Arizona, you will likely need to maintain the blueberry plants from sunlight during the scorching heat of the day.
- Blueberries prefer soil with an acid pH level so if you’re thinking about growing blueberries, you’ll have to prepare the soil for planting. Purchase some peat moss and aluminum sulphate when you buy your blueberry plants. Work the peat and aluminum sulfate to the soil. The hole you dig should be five or 4 inches deeper than the pot and at least two times wider than the pot.
- Plant the bush so the soil surrounding the plant is even with the soil in the pot. You may wish to mulch around the bush. Pine needles make an acid pH level so mulching with pine needles or pine bark is best. However, other mulching material will work also.
- Water your bush thoroughly and be sure you water it frequently (maybe a couple of times per week) when it’s newly planted. If you’re growing plaques which are established, they need approximately 1 inch of water weekly during growing season.
- The most painful part of the practice of planting blueberries would be to take off most or all of any present blossoms so the plant can put its energy into the main system. I clipped all of the blossoms once I planted my crops the first season. This year I added one more variety to my blueberry backyard and I only trimmed about 2/3 of the blossoms.
- In my backyard, rabbits are known to completely devour plants and shrubs, so I inserted a little fence to protect the blueberry plants. If I see birds eating the berries, then I can drape netting on the top of the fence.
- The next year after you plant the blueberry bushes, you may wish to fertilize with a fertilizer intended for plants that like acid conditions, such as Miracid.
I just checked my bushes this morning and I have some green blueberries. It should only be a couple more weeks before I can add freshly picked berries to my cereal or yogurt.