Essentials For Growing Blueberries

Essentials for growing blueberries are moisture, being well drained and fine textured acid soil rich in humus. Plant them in equal parts peat moss and soil, topped with John & Bobs Soil Optimizer or Denali Gold. Even moisture can be maintained with mulch of bark composted oak leaves, or pine needles 4 to 6 inches deep. The shallow roots of blueberries need microbial action in the soil to absorb water and nutrients: use E.B. Stone’s Organic Azalea Fertilizer with Microbes beginning in the spring and throughout the summer. Full sun is optimal for growing blueberries, but in our hot climate afternoon shade is a good idea.

For bumper crops, larger berries and extended harvest, cross pollination from 2 to 3 different varieties. Plant at least 2 plants per person for each season (Early, Mid or Late) to enjoy fresh fruit from mid June through August. After the second year in the garden blueberry plants should be pruned by thinning out a few of the oldest canes and tipping back last year’s growth. Pruning will encourage new shoot growth from the base and prevent overbearing that produces small fruit.

Attractive to butterflies, blueberries bloom in the spring with clusters of pinkish-white flowers. Planted as a hedge 3 feet apart or as individual shrubs 4 to 5 feet apart blueberries are handsome additions to the landscape. The decorative and tasty berries begin ripening in mid June for the early varieties. When the days grow short, the dark green foliage of summer turns to brilliant yellows, reds, and burgundies.