By planting and growing your own blueberries, you can enjoy these healthy and flavorful berries at the peak of ripeness, for a fraction of the cost of buying them at the store. This article will show you how to plant, cultivate and protect your blueberry harvest.
To start, you will need to find a good spot to plant your berry bushes. If you have a south or east facing, gently sloping area in your yard, this would be ideal. Avoid areas where cold air can collect, like in a hollow. This could damage your blueberries. Don’t plant in an area where you’ve grown tomatoes, eggplant, or potatoes,as the soil will not be right for growing berries. Make sure you plant the bushes in an area with full sun and well draining soil. The soil should be highly acidic, with a pH of 4.8.
Plant at least two different blueberry varieties, so they will be able to cross-fertilize. Make sure your planting stock is disease free and disease resistant. You should set out the plants early in the spring. Dig a two-foot deep trench, that’s at least three feet wide, to plant the blueberries.The hole should be filled with a mixture of two parts each of sand and peat moss to one part garden soil. At planting time, heavily mulch with peat, leaves or straw. This will keep the plants warm and protected in rainy areas. Make sure you care for the roots properly during and before you plant, by keeping them moist. You can do this by soaking the roots in a mixture of water and soil. Space the blueberry plants at least 4 feet apart to allow space for air circulation and growth.
To care for your blueberry plants, keep them free of weeds, and prune old growth once a year. You should put in a new layer of mulch once a year as well. Don’t attempt to weed using a hoe- it can damage the roots. You can do the weeding by hand instead.
You will need to cover the blueberry plants with a net a few days before ripening. This will protect the berries from being eaten by birds, who are very fond of blueberries. When they are ripe, you will be able to pick your blueberries at any time of the day, as opposed to other berries which have to be picked at certain times of the day. You should taste the berries for ripeness before you start picking.
Now that your blueberries are ripe, you can enjoy them fresh at their peak sweetness and most nutritious. You can also make them into pies, or can or freeze them for later. And if you have an abundance of berries, you could even sell them at your local farmers market, or at a roadside stand.