June 22, 2012 § Leave a comment

One of my favorite books as a child was Blueberries for Sal. I don’t remember the details of the story, just that it is about a little girl and a little bear cub who run into each other while picking blueberries. I also remember loving the illustrations.

Aside from these illustrations, I’m not sure I knew what a blueberry plant looked like until my Mom brought me two from the nursery a few months ago. Now, I have two small bushes!

Having your own blueberry plants makes you happy. There is no way around it. And growing them is easy. So try it! Here are a few tips I have learned along the way:

  1. You can grow blueberries in pots! This is really wonderful, because it means that anyone with a sunny deck or patio can grow their very own blueberry plants.
  2. Plant your blueberries in the Spring. I bought plants that were already 2 years old. If you buy younger plants, remove the flowers the first year. You won’t get fruit, but the plants will be healthier and bigger in the long run. I haven’t planted blueberries from seeds or cuttings, but will let you know if I ever try!
  3. I am growing a variety called Bountiful Blue blueberries. Try whichever type you want, or multiple types!
  4. Blueberries do best in well-drained soil. Potted plants will drain well. If you are planting in your garden, choose an area that drains well (with soil that is sandy rather than clay-like). Or plant in a slightly raised bed.
  5. Blueberries like sun! Full sun if possible (but they can handle up to 50% shade).
  6. You also want acidic soil for your blueberries. I haven’t checked my soil pH, but I’ve read that the optimal pH for blueberries is around 4.5-5.5. If you know your soil runs on the alkaline side, add some peat moss before planting.
  7. Water your blueberries regularly during the dry season. Specifically, provide approximately 1 inch of water once a week.
  8. Plant more than 1 blueberry plant. Most blueberry varieties are self pollinating, but you will get more fruit if your plants can cross pollinate. So, get at least 2 plants. Plant them (or set their pots down) within 100 feet of one another, or as close as 2 1/2 feet.
  9. Pick your blueberries when they get a deep blue color!

That’s it! Blueberries are pretty hardy plants, so you should have some success! I don’t have enough blueberries yet to really cook with, but that’s alright. I’m plenty satisfied eating them fresh from the bush.


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