Blueberries are a nutritious and delicious snack, which is relatively easy to grow in your backyard. So how do you grow blueberries?
1. Choose the right blueberry bushes for your area:
- Lowbush, or wild blueberries, need very low temperatures. They are native to northern and eastern Europe, and the colder parts of North America.
- Rabbiteye blueberries are perfect for very warm areas like Florida. Unlike the dwarf lowbush varieties they can grow to 20 feet if left unpruned.
- Highbush blueberries are the most common homegrown varieties and are okay with relatively warm summers. They can grow to 10 feet tall. Northern Highbush require at least 750 hours of chill and most varieties need over 1000, whereas Southern Highbush varieties will thrive with only 250-600 hours of chill.
2. Choose at least two different cultivars to grow, for the best crop. Although blueberries can self polinate, you will get a bigger crop of bigger berries if you have two or more cultivars to cross polinate.
3. Make sure you have the right soil conditions. Blueberries need quite an acid soil, so you should get a pH tester kit from your local pharmacy or nursery. Ask the nursery what the ideal pH is for the cultivars they have sold you and work from there. If your soil is very alkaline, you may be best to grow your blueberries in large pots, or planters. You also need to make sure that your blueberry bush’s roots do not dry out, particularly while flowering, or you may not get a crop at all! This may seem like a negative of container growing, but as blueberries have shallow roots you will need to keep the moisture up to them either way. Your soil will also need to be well draining.
4. Plant your Blueberries either in full sun (which they prefer) or partial shade.
5. Get yourself some pest net bags to cover your blueberry bushes when they are fruiting. Otherwise you will be making your local birds very happy, but may not get much of a harvest yourself!
6. Harvest your berries! Don’t expect to get much of a harvest for at least a couple of years however. Fruit begins to form about two or three months after flowering, and will generally take about two weeks to full ripen from the time they first start to turn blue. Blueberries should be picked when fully dark blue and eaten right away! You can also freeze them to use later, if you have that much self control!
Now that you know how to grow blueberries, what are you waiting for? Get out into that garden!