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Growing Blueberries

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 858 Posts
April 25, 2009

Planning Tips:

Unlike most of the other berries grown in the North America, blueberries are natives. Gardeners in zones 2-9 can enjoy growing their own. Although there are cultivars that require cross-pollinations, most blueberries are self-fertile, but seem to grow bigger, more robust crops if planted near one or two other companion plants-specifically other varieties of blueberries. Planting a variety of cultivars with different ripening seasons will also extend your harvest.
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Try Earliblue, Bluecrop and Coville for respectively early, mid-season and late-season crops. Select virus-free plants in one of 4 types, depending on which is most suitable to your region: highbush (zones 4-7), lowbush (zones 2-6); midbush (a combination of the highbush and lowbush varieties) and rabbiteye, or southern highbush (zones 7-9).

Site Preparation:

Blueberries prefer nutrient-rich, highly acidic soil (a pH of 4 to 5) and full sun exposure. They will tolerate partial shade, but yields will be lower. Prepare your site 6 months to 1 year in advance by working acidic amendments like peat, wood chips and pine needles into the soil as necessary. Alternatively, consider creating raised beds. A combination of equal parts builders-sand and peat moss mixed with a bucket of compost will provide an acidic base rich in nutrients. Avoid planting in low spots and in areas where water tends to stand, or within 300 feet of wild blueberries.
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Planting:

In warmer areas, plant bare-root blueberries in late fall or late winter. Cooler areas should plant blueberries in the early spring after the danger of heavy frost has passed. Container blueberries can be planted anytime during the spring and summer. Highbush varieties should be spaced 5 feet apart, rabbiteye varieties 8 feet apart and lowbush varieties 2 feet apart in each row.

Care & Maintenance:

Blueberries will stay healthy and productive if pruned regularly. Young bushes up to 2 years old should be trimmed only to remove dead or diseased canes removed. Mature bushes (3 to 8 yrs.) require removal of prostrate canes and canes longer than 2 feet in length. Lowbush varieties can be pruned with a lawn mower. Because they will not produce berries the year following pruning, cut back half of the bushes each year and keep the other half of your plants in production.
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Harvesting & Storage:

Blueberries should be taste-tested before harvesting. Berries that have just turned blue are not the best tasting. Gently shake a cluster of berries to determine ripeness. The ripe ones will fall easily off the bush. Store blueberries in the refrigerator immediately after harvesting. Cooler temperatures than the average refrigerator (31 to 32F) will keep them fresh for up to two weeks.
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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 858 Posts
February 4, 2011

Planting several blueberry bushes is a wonderful way to incorporate edible ornamentals into your landscape. The fruits are delicious to eat and contain a broad range of health benefits, and the plant's foliage provides a great source of fall color.

A basket of blueberries

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May 8, 2008

We are getting ready to plant blueberry bushes. I have read online that we need to cut off the top 3rd of the plants when we plant them and then not let them produce for the 1st 2 years. Does anyone out there have experience with blueberries?

Blueberry Bushes

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June 11, 2009

Any ideas on how to help our blueberries taste good for next year? Last year's crop was a great mix between tangy and sweet. This year, they are so bland and blah. We haven't done anything different but would like to ensure great tasting blueberries next year.

Hardiness Zone: 7a

By Cynthia from AL

Answers

June 17, 20090 found this helpful

I didn't even get a chance to eat any of mine. I went to pick mine one afternoon and everyone of them were gone. The Birds got them.

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July 6, 2016

My blueberry plant has stayed true to the adage, of how plants grow. The first year, it slept, I hardly even saw a leaf. The second and third year, it crept, grew about five feet and started spreading out and produced a few blueberries.

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The fourth year, the blueberry plant leaped into life.

closeup of green berries

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Gold Post Medal for All Time! 523 Posts
February 20, 2017

I have tried to grow several varieties of blueberries with only minimal results. I am tickled pink over this little beauty. As of February 20, it is covered with blooms, and soon will be covered with blueberries. My sister gave the plant to me.

Blueberry ~ An Early Variety - blooming blueberry bush

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May 5, 2014

I just relocated my blueberry plant to the backyard.

Blueberry Plant

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Home and Garden Gardening Growing Growing FoodJuly 21, 2011
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