How to grow blueberries at home
Blueberries are a wonderful fruit to add to any diet. These little berries are low in sodium and calories, they have no cholesterol, and they are an excellent source of fiber. If you’re looking for ways on how to grow blueberries in your home garden, here are a few tips that can help you out.
Choose the type of blueberries you want to plant.
There are several different types of blueberries to choose from. The type of blueberries you normally find in the produce section of the grocery store are highbush blueberries. The bushes that these blueberries grow on can grow up to six feet and produce blueberries from half an inch in diameter up to an inch in diameter. Lowbush blueberries are otherwise known as wild blueberries. These bushes normally do not get any higher that 18 inches.
Half-high blueberries are a hybrid type between the highbush and the lowbush varieties. Half-high blueberry bushes grow to a height similar to that of the highbush type. Rabbiteye blueberries have thick skins and are best planted in southern areas. These are the tallest variety of blueberry bushes, getting as tall as 10 feet.
Select a Spot
Once you choose the type of blueberries you want to plant in your home garden, you’ll need to select an ideal spot to plant them. Planting blueberries in a spot that gets a lot of sun is best for any type of blueberry bush. It’s OK to plant them in a little bit of shade, but make sure it’s not too much shade. Too much shade can result in a decline of fruit production and fruit quality. Blueberry bushes have a shallow root system and require a constant supply of water. The optimal amount of water for a blueberry bush is about two inches a week.
The soil composition for blueberries is key. The ideal soil is a loose, sandy loam. Loam is a soil that is comprised of silt, clay, and sand. The pH level of the soil should be about 4.0 and no more than 5.0 for optimal growth.
Some types of blueberries can withstand harsh temperatures, however the optimal time to plant a blueberry bush is in the spring. A family of four should plant about five bushes to provide fresh fruit for not only eating, but preserving and drying as well. The spacing of your bushes is important also. Lowbush varieties should have one to three feet between them. Rabiteyes, half-high, and highbush plants should have five to six feet between them.
Once you have your blueberry bushes planted, you’ll need to take care of them so they thrive. Blueberry bushes require one to two inches of water each week. Rainfall is best for watering. Using tap water can raise the pH level of the soil. If rainfall isn’t prominent in your area, make sure you start saving rain water before you plant. Only use tap water when you have no other option.
Birds and your blueberries
You will want to make sure you take precautions against pests that can hinder your blueberry bushes. A big pest for blueberries is birds. Birds can quickly eat through your entire crop of blueberries if you’re not careful. Use a bird proof net over your bushes to protect them from pesky birds. The optimal protection for your blueberries is a walk-in blueberry cage. It’s a light frame that you build around your blueberries. The frame is draped by the netting and is more secure than just a net by itself.
The final step in the maintenance of blueberry bushes is pruning. The removal of diseased and dead areas of the plant is necessary. You’ll want to cut out any weak looking stems to allow the stronger stems to be more productive. And finally, you’ll want to cut away any growth at ground level if the stems are larger than one inch in diameter.
These are a few tips on how to grow blueberries in your home garden. You’ll enjoy the sweet and fresh benefits of your efforts in no time.
Photo by gari.baldi
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