How to Grow Blueberries
Delicious and nutritious.... growing blueberry bushes results in a
real treat. What more could a gardener ask for? Well, for starters, I'd ask
for the birds to stay away from them as they ripen. But, how can you blame
them for enjoying this great and healthy summertime snack!?
Many fruit trees are simply too big, and require too much maintenance, for
the average homeowner's backyard. Not so with a blueberry bush. Once your
blueberry bush is planted and established, it will grow well for years with
a little sunshine, water and occasional shot of fertilizer.
The month of July is Blueberries Month. That's because the blueberry harvest
in most areas of the country is in July.
Native to North America, the natives called them "Star Berries', as the blossom
end has five points resembling a star.
Varieties of Blueberries - There's a wide variety of blueberries.
Some bushes grow over six feet tall, while others can be grown in a container
on your patio or deck. See Varieties of
Health Benefits of Blueberries: High in fiber and loaded with
antioxidants, Blueberries have many health benefits. They are the
healthiest of all fruits. Health benefits include:
Helps lower cholesterol for better heart health
Reduces the risk of cancer, especially colon and liver cancer
Reduces belly fat
Helps fight disease
Slows the body's aging process
Promotes brain health, including fights against Alzheimer's
Did You Know? There is only about 80 calories in a cup of blueberries.
How to Grow Blueberries:
Select healthy, young blueberry bushes from a reputable nursery or garden
Did You Know? Most varieties of blueberry bushes require two different
varieties to properly pollinate and produce berries.
Plant the bushes in the spring. Blueberry bushes grow best in full sun. They
like clay and other poor or rocky soils.
IMPORTANT: Getting the soil pH right, is perhaps the most important
thing to successfully growing blueberry bushes. The plant needs an acidic
soil, with a pH of 4.0 to 4.5. To grow healthy bushes, you may need to increase
the acidity in your soil, to grow healthy bushes. More
on soil pH
Space blueberry bushes about five to six feet apart. We recommend rows eight
to ten feet apart. The bushes tolerate a little crowding.
Mix in healthy amounts of compost and other organic matter. Keep a thick
layer of mulch around your blueberry bushes to eliminate weeds, and help
keep the soil moist.
Water well after planting, and in the first few weeks as necessary, to promote
good root growth.
Now the waiting begins. A new blueberry bush first produces fruit in 2-3
years! After that, your bush will thrive for many years to come, with just
a little care and maintenance.
Add fertilizer once in the spring and again in late summer. The latter
application helps to promote buds for next year.
Buy Blueberry Bushes Online
As the blueberries ripen, harvest them every two to three days. Place a container
under the fruit. Gently rub the berries. The ripe ones will fall off into
the container. The unripe ones will stay on the bush.
Freezing blueberries is a cinch. Pick them, place them in a sealable freezer
bag and stick them in the freezer. They thaw in minutes.
Pruning Blueberry Bushes
Buds for next year's fruit forms in late summer through early fall. Blueberry
buds for next year will form on second year wood. Keep this in mind when
pruning. Pruning is recommended in the winter. As you prune the newest growth,
you are reducing production for the following year. As you cut well down
an established stalk, you are reducing fruit production for the upcoming
So, what does a home gardener do? First and foremost, remove any dead or
diseased branches and stems. Then, cut away a few stalks from bushy plants.
Good air circulation, is essential to plant health. Next, trim back your
bush to maintain an acceptable height. Be careful not to cut away more than
1/2 of the newest growth.
Keep in mind pruning leads to healthier plants and fewer, but bigger berries.
Birds and Blueberries
Forget the story of the birds and the bees. We're talking the "birds and
the blueberries". Birds absolutely love blueberries. Home gardeners and
commercial growers quickly find this out. And, those birds can be so smart!
I realized this one day, as I walked amidst the blueberry field of a farmer
friend of mine. He had bought an expensive sound system, which alternately
played a variety of predator bird sounds and calls. I watched as a small
flock of birds munched on plump blueberries, on bushes right next to
If you are going to grow blueberries, you need a plan of attack to keep the
birds away. One approach is to simply share your fruit with them. As a fellow
bird lover, this may not sound too bad. But, you will need several blueberry
bushes, to keep your family and the birds satisfied.
We recommend you make those birds feel blue. Take the fruit of your labor
away from them. The most effective means of control, short of a shotgun,
is bird netting placed over the bushes. It is relatively inexpensive, and
will last for a few years.
Bird Netting and Frames - Learn
about bird netting and easy to make frames.
Recipes: May we suggest:
Blueberry bushes put on a spectacular fall foliage display. The leaves on
a Blueberry bush, turns a colorful rust-red color. (see above)
These hardy bushes need no special protection in the winter.
Buy Blueberry Bushes
on growing Blueberries
Blueberry Trivia - fun facts and
More on Bird Control