HOW TO GROW YOUR OWN BLUEBERRIES
Blueberries are delicious and extremely high in antioxidants, so many people regard it as a ‘super fruit’. They can be grown in the garden, but also make very popular container plants. A perfectly ripened blueberry warm off the bush is a lovely thing, and some home varieties (such as Rubel) pack an extra flavor punch. Blueberries are a super fruit, packed with health benefits. The World’s Best Foods states that blueberries are loaded with antioxidants and phytonutrients that benefit nearly every system in the body. One of the biggest nutritional powerhouses that you can eat comes in a very small package. Blueberries are packed with more cancer-fighting, anti-aging, eyesight-saving and disease-fighting antioxidants than foods like spinach and salmon. New plant varieties make growing blueberries even easier than before. Sure, they’re the pie-inspiring, cereal-topping, muffin-mixing treat that can make your mouth water, but beloved blueberries are becoming a tasteful choice in another arena — the landscape. Fresh blueberries are a recent addition to Australian fruit bowls and are rarely grown in home gardens. However, as the succulent fruit becomes increasingly popular, blueberries are finding their way into more and more gardens. If you are wondering whether they’ll grow in your area, ask yourself if azaleas grow well in your district. If they do, then blueberries will succeed too.
Blueberries like soil rich in acidic, organic material, like you would find on forest floor or edge of the forest. Peat moss is commonly recommended, but pine needles, leaves and other tree fallout (that may be available for free) work just as well. If you live in the right climate, you’ll be rewarded with an abundance of delicious fresh berries each harvest. Blueberries love warm, sunny days and clear, cool nights. By the middle of spring, your blueberry plants should have sprouted little, white, bell shaped flowers. Two or three months later – depending on the species, weather and location – these little flowers will wither and you’ll see the fruit growing in bunches at the end of the branches. Then you can enjoy the berries’ show of colour. At first, they’re green. Then they turn pale pink, before becoming a pale blue. You’ll then need to wait about another two weeks before they turn deep dark blue and are ready to be picked. Blueberries need a freely draining, acidic and preferably sandy soil where the topsoil is enriched with organic matter, such as cocopeat. Like azaleas, they are shallow-rooted shrubs with fine, fibrous, surface-feeding roots. Blueberries love the consistent moisture that drip irrigation provides, but perfect drainage is equally important. Rainwater is ideal for irrigation because it contains few dissolved salts, something blueberries are sensitive to. Bore, grey or recycled water is therefore unsuitable. Blueberries grow best in full sun all year round but will grow in partial shade. Spacing varies between cultivars, with the larger-growing varieties reaching up to 2m high and growing to about 1.5m wide. Soak the bare-rooted bushes in water for half an hour before planting. Plant containerised stock as soon as they’re removed from pots — the roots dry quickly and recover slowly. Create a planting hole about 15cm wider and deeper than the root system. Water well after planting and connect a dripper to the base of each plant to ensure thorough watering, resulting in plentiful fruit. You can use fertilizers to help the growth but be careful because blueberries are sensitive to over-fertilization
Source : http://www.instantlivingmagazine.com/