We started off with three blueberry bushes in our garden a few years ago. We are down to one. One succumbed to the Barbie Jeep, and I have no idea where the other one disappeared to, so blueberry bushes are on my list of purchases when I visit the Chattanooga Market
Most blueberries need a different variety near them to encourage a lot of fruit. The one bush left standing bears very good and is a "rabbiteye" variety, which grows well in the south, and is a more compact variety. We will need to look for a different variety which is for our Zone 7.
Be sure and choose the right variety for your climate. My blueberry bush is hardy in Zones 7-9 so be sure an check with your local nursery before purchasing.
Like most fruits and vegetables, blueberries do best when planted in full sun, but will tolerate some shade. When planted in moist, well drained soil, rich in organic matter, your blueberries will provide you with a bumper crop.
Blueberries are different from a lot of fruits, however, due to the fact that they prefer an acidic soil. (pH 4.5-5.5) You can amend your soil with soil sulfur before planting a new bush or sawdust, composted leaves, wood chips, cottonseed meal, leaf mold and especially peat moss, will lower the soil pH. You can pick up a soil testing kit from your local nursery or submit to your local agricultural extension center.
If you are planting a new bush, remove all the flowers or fruit the first year. Doing this will help establish the plant, and provide you with a bigger crop next year.
Plant your blueberry bush according to directions, then spread a deep layer of mulch over the soil around the plant. Pull it back away from the stem a few inches. This thick mulch will provide protection not only from the cool weather, hold in moisture, but keep voles, mice and other pests from attacking the plant underneath the mulch.
Blueberries are easy to care for, and should not require any pruning the first 5-6 years. After that, you may cut away any old stems to the ground, allowing new limbs to take their place.
Top dress each year with compost. The roots of blueberries are very sensitive, and can be easily damaged if you over fertlize. If you do use fertilizer, use it at a rate 1/2 or 1/4 of the recommended amount on the package.
Netting or fencing may be needed to protect your plants. The birds love our blueberries, and if not caught in time, can eat half your crop before you know it, and Granddaughters can really clean a bush off in record time!
If you don't have the space, or your soil is poor or stays soggy, blueberries can be grown in containers. Choose large containers, and plant in an acidic potting mix.
1/4 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1/2 teaspoon vanilla1
1/4 cups blueberries
1 cup plus 2 tbsp cake flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup chopped pecans,
optionalTopping:1 teaspoon sugar mixed with 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon or ground nutmeg
Preheat oven to 375°. In large bowl, cream butter, sugar, and lemon until light, about 4 to 5 minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla. Mash 1/4 cup of the blueberries and beat into batter. Whisk together flour, baking powder and salt.Fold dry ingredients into batter, a little at a time, alternating with milk. Fold in remaining 1 cup berries and pecans Divide into 8 paper lined muffin cups. Sprinkle each muffin with the sugar and spice mixture. Bake until muffins spring back when lightly touched, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Labels: blueberries, blueberry muffins, growing blueberries