There are few fruits that are as packed with anti-oxidants than blueberries. They are also quite delicious. Fresh blueberries are also tastier and better for you than frozen ones, though the same could be said about most fruits. They aren’t particularly hard to grow, but the conditions need to be right and it can be a bit of a trick to make those conditions right.
Blueberries are bushes that grow best in climates that have cold winters, because the plants require a period of dormancy each year. While there are a number of different cultivars, there are also two main types of blueberries: Low bush and high bush. As the name implies, low bush blueberries don’t get very tall, usually less than three and a half feet. High bush blueberry bushes can grow five to seven feet tall and occasionally taller.
The first consideration before growing blueberries is to decide which type is going to be grown. Regardless of which is chosen, plenty of space will be needed for the plants. Additionally, though they do require winter temperatures that are cold enough to allow them to become dormant, blueberries are also sun-loving plants. They can tolerate some shade, particularly in the afternoon when the sunshine tends to be the most intense, but they do need lots of sunshine.
Perhaps the hardest part of growing blueberries is that they thrive in very sour soil that has a pH that is low enough to kill most garden plants. Most fruit trees and bushes like soil that is a little acidic; down to a pH of 5.5. However, blueberries do best if the dirt is even more acidic; between 4.0 and 5.0. Blueberry bushes will often die in regular garden soil, because it isn’t acidic enough.
Natural methods of lowering the pH include digging in pine needles and bark, however doing this takes time. The pine needles are great for maintaining acidity, but not all that great for initially making the soil sour enough for blueberries.
Vinegar can help make the ground acidic in a hurry, but it leaches out rapidly, since blueberries need soil that drains well. Likewise, coffee grounds and magnesium sulfate (epsom salts) help, but are leached out rapidly. For rapid souring of the soil, the best bet is to add sulfur to the dirt and to mix it in.
After the soil is made sour enough, pine needles, bark, coffee grounds and epsom salts can help to maintain the acidity. If the soil has a large amount of limestone, it is often best to grow the blueberries in a large container. As limestone breaks down, it sweetens the soil, making it a lot harder to maintain the acidity. In a large pot, the acidity can be controlled more easily, though the roots of the bush won’t be able to expand as much.
After the bush is planted, it should be watered well. Blueberries do need a lot of water, though the roots of most cultivars shouldn’t sit in water. There are some cultivars that will even grow in bogs, so the excess water for those kinds of blueberries isn’t much of an issue. For most kinds, though, the soil should be moistened well, then allowed to dry out a bit before watering them again.
For the best results, a person will want to plant at least two bushes. These plants aren’t self pollinating, so having two or more plants allows for cross-pollination. The main pollinator for blueberries is honey bees and some species of wasps, so planting the bushes within 10-20 yards of each other increases the likelihood that the bees will move from one bush to another. The objective is fruit, after all.
Blueberries aren’t difficult to grow, as long as the location gets plenty of sun and the ground is prepared properly before planting. The bushes just need sunshine, plenty of water and well-draining dirt that is acidic. Depending on the kind of blueberries, some may even produce more than one crop each year.
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Posted in Uncategorized and tagged acidifying soil, Antioxidant, blueberry, blueberry bush, grow, lowering pH, soil ph, sour soil by rextrulove with 3 comments.
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