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1 March 2016 Growing Blueberries

Growing Blueberries can be very rewarding as a few plants can produce bountiful crops of berries.  

Blueberries are best planted in the autumn and winter into acid soil.  They do best at a pH of less that 5.5 (you can get pH soil testing kits at your local garden centre) if your soil is less than pH 8 you can lower the pH by mixing pine needles or sulpher chips to the soil before planting.  If you have a higher pH than this, then you can grow blueberries very effectively in containers, you will need to make sure that you use ericaceous compost.   You should also feed your blueberries monthly with a liquid fertiliser for ericaceous plants. 

In the first two years you do not need to prune your plants but after this in February/March you can cut out old wood at the base of the plant. This will encourage new growth and production on young stems. 

Blueberries are shade tolerant however they do best in sunshine and will also give the best autumn colour on the stems and leaves if they are grown in the sunshine. 

Each of the cultivars we stock are self-fertile but you can increase the yields of the berries by having a couple of different varieties. 

Varieties: 

'Blue-Crop' -  A hardy compact variety producing big clusters of blueberries in July/August, one of the best varieties for cropping!

'Chandler' -  A fast growing hardy shrub, with large fruits in July, know to produce the largest crops. It is an attractive plant with bright red stems in winter. 

'EarliBlue' - Also a hardy variety, with berries cropping in July. This variety has green foliage that turns a fiery red in autumn. 

Cropping:

Most varieties crop in July/August, the berries will come out over a succession of weeks rather than all at the same time so you need to keep picking the plants over. Once you have harvested your berries they can be eaten fresh added to pies, jams and muffins or can be frozen for use over the winter months. 

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