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Beautiful blueberries – Garden view

Beautiful blueberries – Garden view

I love blueberries and they are not only incredibly good for you but also quite simple to grow.

They thrive in a sunny border or in a pot on a balcony or patio, so there’s no excuse for not harvesting a crop of your own.

In addition, they are a generous plant. All varieties produce pretty white flowers in the spring, followed by delicate green fruits which ripen to deep blue. If that wasn’t enough, the foliage then turns pink and peach for Autumn.

Blueberry bushes do require an acid soil to thrive but if you don’t have that (I don’t!) then use pots of well-drained ericaceous compost. When you need to re-pot, choose a pot just a few inches larger because they fruit better in a snug pot! Ensure it has adequate drainage holes and put some stones or crocks in the bottom and keep it raised so it doesn’t become waterlogged. Water with rainwater from your water butt, especially if you live in a hardwater area. Make sure they are watered well while they become established and also while the fruit is ripening. Feeding with tomato food helps too. Poor or erratic watering causes the blueberries to shrivel or split, and no-one likes a shrivelled blueberry!

Blueberries

If you have acid soil you can plant blueberry bushes at any time of year when the ground is soft. Dig a hole twice the size of the root-ball and spread the roots as you refill the hole to the base of the stem. Press the soil down with the heel of your boot.

Blueberries are sun-lovers and will fruit most abundantly in full sun. They are better grown in pairs to allow for cross-pollination. If you can bear it, remove the flower buds in the first year after planting because it encourages strong stem growth better fruiting for the following year. They don’t require any pruning for a few years. After that thin overcrowded or unproductive branches in winter after the leaves have fallen. Remember blueberries fruit on branches produced the previous year, so each year remove one or two of the oldest canes to make space for the more productive younger stems.

In the winter move pots to a sheltered area or the shed for protection.

NOTE – Our feathered friends love blueberries as much as we do so make sure you protect you harvest with netting!

Happy gardening!

 

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