Posted on 24 May 2009 by urbangardencasual.com

Grow Your Own Blueberries

blueberries4By Vanessa Richins

Whenever my dad went out for doughnuts for breakfast, he would bring me a blueberry muffin.

It’s no secret that these bite size beauties are one of my favorite fruits.

With the right soil, you can grow your own blueberries too.

A key factor in growing blueberries is acidic soil. You should test your soil before attempting to grow them. The soil needs to have a pH between 4.5-5.2. If your soil is in that range, congratulations! You are ready to grow blueberries. Otherwise, you will need to amend your soil to bring it to that pH range.

Contact your local extension office for suggestions of amendments appropriate for your area. Common additives include aluminum sulfate, iron sulfate, sulfur and spaghnum peat moss.

Next, you’ll need to choose the kind of blueberry you can grow in your area. The types are:

  • Northern highbush : Zones 4-7
  • Southern highbush : Zones 7-10
  • Lowbush : Zones 3-6
  • Half-high : Zones 3-7
  • Rabbiteye : Zones 7-9

You’ll want to plant your blueberries in an area with full sun. Make sure they are watered throughout the week.

It may be hard to wait, but for the first two years you should pick off the flowers. When you do this, the plant works only on a strong branch structure instead of diverting energy to fruits. This will make later years produce better fruit.

You will need to do some pruning every year. Make sure to remove any canes (branches) that are having problems – dead, diseased or damaged. You will also want to remove old canes.

The most common pest will be birds. Use ribbons or netting to keep them away. You may have problems with blueberry maggot or blueberry mummy. There are a few other pests or diseases that may crop up, but overall blueberries have less problems than other fruit plants.

Pick your blueberries when they have turned all blue. This should take 2-3 months.

Have you ever grown your own blueberries?

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7 Responses to “Grow Your Own Blueberries”

  1. urbangardencasual.com Kerry Says:

    Hi – We live in Maine and have wild blueberries galore, however we’ve had mixed results with our high bush blueberries – not sure why. I do know though that you need both male and female blueberry plants to get berries.

    Also, they do grow in containers, which given the fact that they’re so finicky about soil acidity, can the levels easier to control.

    I love your idea about the ribbons. Will try that.

  2. urbangardencasual.com Vanessa Richins Says:

    Male and female blueberry plants? Unless there’s a species I’m not aware of, blueberries aren’t dioecious (the term for male and female flowers on separate plants; monoecious is separate male and female flowers on the same plant.)

    I did some research and see that some say you should use a different variety that blooms at the same time for more fruit. That’s probably where that idea comes from, so I should update my profile.

    And yes, it would be easier to manage soil acidity if it was in a container. It’s still not easy.

  3. urbangardencasual.com JodyM Says:

    We inherited a huge (7-feet tall+) blueberry with the house. It was out of control, but produced well. Every year, we cut a couple of the old branches off and a little off the top, and the bush has responded well with new growth.

  4. urbangardencasual.com Kristen Says:

    I have always wished I could easily grow blueberries here in Utah… Do you know of anyone who does it with great success and not tons of effort?

  5. urbangardencasual.com Vanessa Richins Says:

    It’s especially difficult to grow blueberries in Utah since the ground (and water) are overall quite alkaline usually.

    I’ve been trying to find out info, but I have heard something about a blueberry farm (farms?) in Utah somewhere, if I’m thinking of the right type.

    Here’s something from USU. http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/publication/Horticulture_Furit_2009-01pr.pdf

    The best way would be probably to use potting soil in a container, though containers do pose some problems (as the article points out). You would also probably need to acidify your water too.

    Good luck!

  6. urbangardencasual.com Dan and Deanna Says:

    We have not tried blueberries. It was a great post to read if we want to try. We are also in Utah. Most things that are worth doing, take time and effort. That includes what is done in the garden. Have a great day.
    Dan and Deanna “Marketing Unscrambled”

  7. urbangardencasual.com Blueberries « MOM, Be Encouraged! Says:

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