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Blueberries

 

We have all heard of blueberries, but what a lot of us do not know is that they are easy to grow. Blueberries are a wonder food and are a fantastic addition to the garden whether you grow them as specimen plants in containers, or as a low hedge. Blueberries are full of nutrients and antioxidants. They are also low in calories and sodium, contain no cholesterol and are a great source of fibre.

 


Soil preparation

Blueberries require a fertile, acidic, well-drained site with all day sun for them to fruit well; they also love lots of organic matter. Ensure you mulch well to retain a cool, moist but not wet (they hate wet feet) environment for the shallow, fibrous root system during the growing season. Blueberries are hardy to minus four degrees, although any frost will damage flowers.

 


Watering

Water is vital for the full development of your berries, which swell rapidly in the last two weeks of ripening. Lack of water can mean undersized dark berries and a poor crop.

 


Pruning

Knowing how to prune blueberries is quite important because fruit is borne on last season’s wood, and the most vigorous wood bears the largest fruit. Flower buds develop on the outer part of current season’s growth in late summer as stems mature. Minimum pruning consists of the removal of dead or damaged wood, any weak growth or twiggy old branches. Remove some of the oldest branches after four to five years to encourage new growth. While light pruning is possible year-round, winter is the best time for heavy pruning.

 


Maintenance

  • Easy to grow in pots or the garden or as a low hedge
  • An easy-care plant with very few problems, but protect from birds
  • Self-fertile, but produce bigger crops when planted with a 2nd variety
  • Use a slow release fertiliser in spring and summer
  • Acid loving incorporate peat when planting and avoid lime and compost
  • Minimal pruning only, remove some of the oldest branches after 4-5 years

 

 

 

 

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