Growing Blueberries!

Growing Blueberries!
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Growing Blueberries!Growing Blueberries: Location, Location, Location

Blueberries not only taste wonderful but the bushes they grow on will add a splash of color to your fall landscape with their lovely scarlet leaves. Spring is the time of year to plant blueberries, as well as plan for their care and harvest. Before buying and planting you should decide where they will be located in your landscape.

Blueberry plants need very good drainage in a fertile, acidic soil that is located in full sun. If you've had your soil tested previously you should have been given the pH. If you haven't had it tested, now would be a good time. Once you determine the pH you'll need to amend it to be between 4 and 5.5. If you visit a local garden center they can help you find what you need to amend the soil.

Blueberry plants need soil that is not too dry, nor too soggy. The Michigan State University Extension Office recommends:

“Ideal soils are well drained with a water table 14 to 22 inches below the surface. These soils provide a constant, moderate water supply through the season but pose few problems with standing water and waterlogging.”

Blueberry plants are shallow rooted which means they will not be drought tolerant. Consider this when you pick the location as well. They will need to be watered often and well, possibly even by setting up a small irrigation system. Do you have deer and other wildlife on your property? Don't plant the blueberry bushes too far out where they won't have protection from the wildlife, unless you can surround the plants with a high, sturdy fence. Netting will most likely be needed once the blueberries start to ripen so the birds don't steal your harvest. All of these elements should be considered when deciding where to plant blueberries.

Blueberry bushes have foliage that turns scarlet in the fall, which means they can be used as an ornamental. Consider using the bushes as a border in your yard or arrange them as you would other ornamental bushes. You will need at least two bushes because blueberries require a second bush that blooms at the same time to assure pollination. There is a lot of information on pollination that should be available from your state university extension office. (Visit http://www.csrees.usda.gov/Extension/) This is also a good place to find out which variety of blueberry bushes will produce the best in your climate. It's recommended that you plant at least two different varieties as well.

blueberries

Most farmers and gardeners recommend starting out with 2 or 3 year old blueberry plants. Plan well, because the more plants you start out with the more work that is involved. If you are growing blueberries for your own family try starting out with 4-6 bushes while learning how to grow and care for them before adding more to your supply. As soon as all frost has passed you can start planting bushes. They should be planted an inch deeper than they were in their pot, and about six feet apart. Starting out with older plants will possibly give you a small harvest the first year. Once the blueberries start ripening you will want to keep picking them as they continue to ripen, rather than leaving them on the bush for any length of time. They can easily be frozen in resealable freezer bags if you want to save them for baking.

While growing your own blueberries can be challenging, it is also very rewarding when you are able to harvest your own homegrown fruit for your family's enjoyment.

More you might like:

Country Kitchen: Blueberry Treats
Summer Fruit Salads
Muffin Recipes

Image 1: Wikimedia.org

Image 2: Brenda Hyde

 

About The Author

Brenda Hyde is a freelance writer living on ten acres in rural Michigan with her husband and three kids. She is a mom, grandma, gardener, cook and writer. She blogs on all of these topics at Harvestmoongazette.blogspot.com.

 
 

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