Blueberries are a delicious “superfood”. They are full in antioxidants like anthocyanin and offer numerous health benefits. They can get quite costly at the store, especially when they are out of season. But since blueberries are a perennial shrub, there is no reason for you to be spending money over and over again at the store one these “super” fruits. Here’s how to get started.
- Since blueberries have specific growing requirements, and people often have trouble getting conditions just right for them, they are one of the few crops that I would suggest growing them in containers. They will grow as high as 6 feet tall, so you will need a sizeable pot, and since they will last for years you want to get a nice pot. A wooden pot, or a frost resistant terracotta pot would be best. You can always start in a 1-gallon black plastic pot and transplant it later.
- The main requirement for blueberries that differs from most other crops in your garden is that they really love acidic soil. When you are starting out, it would probably be best to just purchase one bag of compost or soil that is specifically marketed for acid loving plants like blueberries. As time goes on, you can always top dress with citrus peels as needed. Despite what so many people will tell you, pine needles will not affect the pH of your soil.
- When your shrub starts to produce plump fruit the birds will likely beat you to it. So you will want to net it before they get a chance.
- After a few years you will want to start pruning the old wood back to increase new growth and increase production. Cut back about 1/3 of the old wood each year, alternating sections each time.
The main thing to remember is the pH, they like a low pH. Get that right and you will have years of blueberries without spending tons of money at the store.
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