Who doesn’t love blueberries? Whether you’re eating them fresh or baking into desserts like cobblers, breakfasts like muffins and scones, they’re the perfect fruit. Best of all, blueberries are easy to grow. Follow the steps below and you’ll have tons of large berries before you know it.
Planting and Care
The first step is to find the perfect bushes for your area. Not every variety can survive up North in the cold. For example, the Toro Blueberry is recommended for growing zones 2 to 6 and can survive the harshest winter conditions, while the Rabbiteye Blueberry is recommended for growing zones 6 to 9.
However, keep in mind that blueberry bushes can be easily grown in containers, so if your area gets too cold for the variety that you desire, simply place them in containers and bring them indoors during the winter.
Plant your bushes in an area that receives full to partial sunlight. Blueberries can tolerate shade, but they’ll produce higher numbers of fruit in full sun. Make sure that your plants don’t sit in a low area of your yard that’s prone to flooding, or where standing water collects.
Keep your soil moist but not oversaturated. If your soil feels like it’s drying out, give your bushes a slow, deep watering by holding a hose to their bases and counting to 20. If your plants are in a container, give them water until you see it draining from the bottom of the pot.
Also, Blueberries and their bushes love a little acidity. They do best when their soil has a pH balance ranging from 4.09 to 5.5. You can test your soil with a pH meter found at your local gardening store. Raise its acidity by mixing in organic matter like peat moss in your soil, and lower it by adding sulfur.
Blueberries don’t need to be pruned often, but you can prune them in order to shape them. It’s best to prune your bushes in the early spring. Remove any dead or damaged canes. Once canes are eight years old, it’s time to remove them and make room for new ones. Use a sharp and sterile pair of hand pruners or loppers, and make your cuts at 45-degree angles, facing upwards, to promote new growth.
Even if some varieties of Blueberries are self-fertile, they need a second or third bush to pollinate and achieve a larger berry crop. Often times, they benefit extremely well from having different varieties for cross-pollination.
For example, we carry a few different Rabbiteye Blueberry strains and group them together to make sure that they’ll produce buckets of berries at their new home for years. You won’t believe how many berries you’ll get when bees have more blooms to cover!
Keeping Birds Away
Sometimes birds can swoop in and eat all of your berries before you even notice them growing. Luckily, birds are easy to keep away. Place a plastic owl or toy snakes around your bushes to protect them and scare birds away. Also, you can use bird nets to keep them off.
Berry Good Benefits
Not only do Blueberries taste great, but they also make for ornamental shrubs as well. They explode with flowers in the spring, varying in color from whites, reds and pinks. They have lush green foliage, giving yards eye-attracting color.
Blueberries are also extremely healthy for you! They’re filled with antioxidants that support memory, skin, cardiovascular health, the eyes and blood. Their antioxidants support your overall health. Vitamins K and C, fiber, manganese, and copper are only a few of the nutrients found in Blueberries, so no wonder they’re a snack that fills people with energy!
Berry Exciting Blueberries
With Memorial Day, summer barbecues, and the 4th of July coming up, be sure to celebrate with a blueberry-filled dish! Chances are that your family has been celebrating American holidays with a variety of different blueberry recipes for decades. These recipes will taste even better if they’re made with your own home-grown Blueberries. They’re fun and easy to grow, and will reward you with delicious berry flavors, beautiful color, and amazing health benefits.