Have you ever thought about growing your own Blueberries? Blueberries are so incredibly nutrient rich that they have been classed as a Superfood. Loaded with antioxidants and bursting with flavour, these berries are definitely a great pick for the home veggie garden!
Blueberries grow on shrub like bushes which typically reach 1-2 meters in size, depending on the variety. Blueberries are suitable for growing in most climates. They require a soil which is well draining with a pH between 4-5. The soil should be enriched with good quality compost and mulched well to retain moisture, pine needles are a great mulch for Blueberries. Blueberries should be planted in a full sun position, and where possible protected from strong winds.
If planted in pots, use a potting mix that is suitable for Azaleas and Camellias. This mix can also be worked through your soil when planting in-ground. To maintain healthy plants, apply Sulphate of Potash each spring as well as a top dressing of compost. A fertilizer that’s suited to Azaleas and Camellias can also be used for Blueberries, however these fertilizers are generally inorganic. For organic fertilizer options, fish meal and spent coffee grounds can be used for added nitrogen, and bone meal and seaweed solution for added potassium and phosphorus. Spent coffee grounds and sphagnum peat can be used to increase the soil acidity.
Blueberry bushes produce small bell-shaped flowers in spring, the flowers are soon followed by fruit which will continue to ripen throughout the summer months. The bushes make stunning garden hedges as they are very decorative, particularly with their blossoms and coloured autumn foliage.
With the right care, Blueberry plants are generally pest and disease free. The biggest problem you will encounter is birds and other wildlife eating the ripe fruit. Netting is the most effective option in dealing with this.
While Blueberry plants are self-fertile, fruit set and crop size are improved by cross pollination. Therefore, planting more than one plant is beneficial but not essential.
Blueberries are a delicious and nutritious snack and extremely popular among children. Unlike some other berries, Blueberry bushes are thorn free, so perfect for backyard gardens where little hands may be helping themselves to the fruit. Blueberries can be eaten fresh, or frozen for future use. They are great for adding into cakes, muffins, smoothies, yogurt and fruit salads.
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