2014 was another year of poor cropping for me. Time to put my blueberries in the sun and keep picking wild bilberries just in case!
Blueberry is part of the family of acid loving berry fruit that includes Cranberry, Bilberry, Whortleberry, Lingonberry and Huckleberry. Given the right conditions you can grow a succulent sweet crop of Blueberries in your garden.
- Blueberry Bluecrop pictured above as fruit start to develop. This is a reliable and readily available variety that produce fruit in mid-summer. Plants are upright and can grow to 6′ tall and 4′ wide. It has excellent orange and copper leaves in autumn.
- Blueberry Duke AGM has long lasting fruit and a good yield. Flowering later than other varieties it seldom suffers from late frosts.
- Blueberry Bluegold is a smaller plant that can also be grown as an ornamental shrub or in pots and produces very tasty berries in August. The fruit has a longer life than most varieties.
- Other varieties include ‘Earliblue’ an early ripening variety with medium, light blue berries, excellent sweet flavour and impressive autumn colour. ‘Bluetta’ is a compact variety, with a spreading habit, producing a medium-sized, light blue berry. ‘Patriot’ is a high-yielding, vigorous, hardy variety. ‘Coville’ is the latest cropper with large fruit that can be left on the bush for a long time before dropping.
Blueberry Growing and Cultivation Tips
- Soil needs to be free draining, acidic and light -pH of 3.5-5.5 is optimum.
- Blueberry will not tolerate heavy or alkaline soils.
- Blueberries are shallow rooting and require irrigation or good watering using rainwater rather than tap water when dry.
- A frost free site in full sun is needed for best crops.
- Plant two different varieties of Blueberries to ensure cross-pollination. A single Blueberry plant will produce fruit, but the yields will be higher and the fruits bigger if more than one plant is grown.
- Blueberries require a position in full sun or light shade.
- Plant Blueberries in autumn or winter leaving 4 foot gaps between them and mulch with a layer of acidic material like peat or composted bracken.
- Blueberries produce fruit on branches grown in the previous year.
- For the first two or three years of a blueberry’s life it’s not necessary to prune apart from keeping the plant tidy.
- Mature Blueberries need regular pruning to maintain plant vigour and high quality fruit production.
- Prune Blueberries between November and March when the plant is dormant.
- Prune out any dead, dying and diseased wood. Remove the old stems that don’t produce much fruit to make way for younger growth.
More Blueberry Pie