Blueberries are not only delicious, but they are also packed with antioxidants and have numerous health benefits. Did you know that you can easily grow your own blueberry bush right at home? With a little bit of patience and care, you can enjoy fresh berries all summer long.
The first step is to purchase a blueberry bush from your local nursery or garden center. When choosing a bush, look for one that is 2-3 years old and that has healthy looking leaves. Avoid any plants that have yellowing leaves or evidence of pests.
Planting Your Bush
Blueberries like to grow in soil that is acidic, well-drained, and rich in organic matter. If your soil does not meet these criteria, you can amend it by adding peat moss, compost, or sulfur.
Once you have prepared your soil, dig a hole that is twice as wide as the root ball of your plant. Gently remove the plant from its container and loosen any tangledroots. Place the plant in the hole so that the roots are covered and the crown (where the roots and stem meet) is level with the soil surface. Fill in the hole with soil and water thoroughly.
Caring for Your Bush
Blueberries require full sun (at least 6 hours per day) and regular watering throughout the growing season. Be sure to water deeply once per week, soaking the root zone thoroughly.
During the first year after planting, fertilize your bush 3 times: once in early spring (before new growth begins), once in mid-summer, and once in late fall. After the first year, fertilizer twice yearly (in early spring and mid-summer). For best results, use an acidifying fertilizer specifically designed for blueberries.
Remember to spread a 2-3 inch layer of organic mulch around your plant to help retain moisture and prevent weeds from growing.
Fruit production usually begins 3-4 years after planting but will really take off after 5-6 years. To encourage fruit production, prune away any weak or diseased stems in early spring before new growth begins. Each year thereafter, prune 1/3 of last year’s growth to promote strong new growth and fruit production.
When picking fruits, be sure to wait until they are fully ripe for best flavor.
With a little bit of patience and care, you can enjoy fresh blueberries right from your own backyard. By following these simple tips, you will be on your way to harvesting delicious berries all summer long.