How to Grow Blueberries at Home
These great delicious berries grow best in cool climates. Blueberries are somehow hard to find. Since the demand is high, it makes the blueberries expensive to afford in their fresh state. Below we are bringing you some tips on how to grow Blueberries at home; in the garden or even in a small balcony area.
Fresh blueberries are a good addition to the US fruit bowls and in some areas are seldom grown in home gardens. As this berry becomes even more popular, blueberries are finding their way in more and more gardens.
One way to find it it out if you can grow blueberries in your area is to look at the azaleas. If they do, then blueberries will also succeed to grow. Blueberries and Azaleas are members of the same Ericaceae Family. Recently the demand is increased greatly, thus, more farmers are looking into blueberries cultivating options. The quantities that are being collected from wild blueberries cannot cover the demand from local and international markets.
Blueberries are very attractive during the flowering season as well as during fall. They can be used as decorative plants at the same time. The blueberry bush grows approximately at around 5 feet, so they would be ideal and fit well in small gardens.
Where and how to plant the blueberries
Blueberries prefer an acidic, sandy and a freely drained soil. It would be best to enrich the topsoil with organic matter such as peat. Blueberries are shallow rooted shrubs and their roots are fine and surface-feeding. A dripping irrigation simple system is very preferable since it provides consistent moisture, but also keep in mind that the drainage very important.
Exposing the plants outside of the covered areas such as balconies, it is ideal for the rainwater irrigation. Blueberries also love the cold weather. They are best grown in full sun, but when it cannot be provided, they can also grow well in partial shade.
Best planting season for the blueberries is between late fall and early spring when the plants are being sold in the nurseries. During this period of time the blueberry plants are less likely to suffer from transplant shock. However containerized blueberry plants can be purchased year-round.
Before planting, soak the bare-rooted bushes in water for half an hour. Plant containerized stock as soon as they are removed from pots — the roots dry quickly and recover slowly. Dig a planting hole about 15cm wider and deeper than the root system. Water well after planting and connect a dripper to the base of each plant to ensure thorough watering, resulting in plentiful fruit production.
Pruning and harvesting
As the bush gets older, it will produce around 4-9 kg of berries. Remove any weak, dead or crossed branches at any time of the year. Fruits start hard and green and they soften as they get ripe, attaining its distinctive blue-black color with a coating of white bloom.
When fruits get fully darkened, taste a few before harvesting. Blueberries do not get any sweeter after are picked, so it would not be a good idea to pick them too early.
Full sweetness takes a week or so beyond full color to develop and timing varies between cultivars. Pick the fruit by hand, but make sure not to rub off any of next year’s berries that are already forming on the branches.
What if you can’t plant?
Deep-frozen blueberries will not lose their vitamin content for two years. In case, you cannot find them fresh, you can indulge on frozen ones.
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