Blueberries always top the lists of most healthful fruits to eat, because they are a rich source of cancer-fighting antioxidants. If you’re interested in growing blueberries right in your own backyard, read on for some handy guidelines to help you out:
- Determine if your climate is feasible for growing blueberries. Remember this: when it comes to growing fruit plants, they’re simply easy to care for if they are living in the appropriate climate. Otherwise it’s just a waste of time to attempt to grow them. In the case of blueberries, they are best grown in cool areas such as in the USDA climate areas 4 to 11. Some examples of states famous for their blueberries are Minnesota, Maine and Wisconsin. There are many varieties however, which can also grow in climates as far north as zone 3. Different blueberry varieties are generally classified as highbush, half-high blueberries, lowbush, and rabbiteye. Inquire at your local nursery or garden supply store for the varieties that are best for your particular zone.
- Know how to choose blueberries. Buy only from reputable professional growers, and select those that are guaranteed parasite and fungus-free. The best way is to purchase a blueberry bush that is cultivated from tissue, and which is established in a gallon can. It should also be no older than three years old.
- Know the basic requirements of blueberries. Blueberries like soil that has a loamy mix (sandy loam, or with some clay), and those that have a pH of 4.5. Get your soil checked to see if it has the proper pH. If it doesn’t, you would have to do some soil preparations to adjust it.
- Because blueberries have shallow root systems, they tend to like a lot of water, and they need at least one to two inches of water every week. This should be given consistently, as they are very sensitive to fluctuations in water levels. They should also be given rainwater rather than tap water.
- Blueberries are hardy and can thrive even in cold temperatures, but know that they are susceptible to damage if they are exposed to temperatures lower than -20 Fahrenheit.
- Know how to plant blueberries. Dig a hole that is 18 inches deep and 18 inches wide. Combine peat moss (1 cubic feet) with some soil and place it in the hole until about 4 inches from the surface. Put in the blueberry plant and put in some more of the peat moss-soil mixture, taking care to concentrate on the blueberry’s root system. Also, make sure that the root system is spread out under the ground. After planting the blueberry, layer in sawdust, bark or wood chips to about 4 inches thick – this would serve as the mulch. Mulching is important for ensuring the health of the plant.
- If you are going to plant more than one, make sure that they are spaced at least 5 feet apart in rows that are 10 feet apart.
- Know how to fertilize your blueberries. Don’t fertilize your blueberries on their first year, but it’s good to fertilize them with Ammonium sulfate afterwards. You could fertilize in the spring, in the summer, and just before fall.
There you have it! These are some of the basic guidelines to remember when growing blueberries. Good luck, and hope this helped!