If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to grow, care for and harvest your own blueberries, then follow our handy guide!
Blueberry bushes can produce juicy and delicious blueberries for several years. Therefore, if you grow your plants correctly, you can enjoy natural and irresistible fruit from your back garden for a very long time.
Blueberries are native to North America where they were consumed for a long time as wild fruits. They only started being cultivated in the 20th century. The best thing about cultivating blueberry bushes in your garden is obviously the juicy fruit.
However, in addition to the fruit, the bushes can also make your garden more attractive because they have lovely foliage and produce beautiful flowers.
We teach you how to plant, care for and harvest your blueberries with extra tips and common problems you may face when attempting to grow your own.
How to Plant Blueberries
Blueberry plants are easy to grow and care for because they are hardy plants. They can also grow quickly in many locations including North America and the UK.
To plant blueberries, you should first get bare-root or container seedlings from a good nursery. The best seedlings are those between one and three years old.
Once you get blueberry seedlings, you should identify where to grow them. Blueberry seedlings do best in sheltered patches but not directly under trees since they still need plenty of sunlight.
Once you identify a nice patch to grow your seedlings, dig holes to bury them. The holes should be two times wider and two times deeper than the roots of the seedlings. There should also be a separation of four feet between the holes in a row and eight feet between rows making these harder to grow in a smaller area.
After digging holes for your seedlings, you should set a seedling in the centre of each hole and spread its roots. Remember not to set it deeper than it was in the pot. Once you do this, you should pack each hole with planting soil plus some compost and then water the seedlings.
How to Care For Blueberry Plants
Blueberries, like almost all plants, need water to survive. Therefore, you should water your plants regularly. However, before adding water, insert a finger around the roots to confirm the moisture content of the soil. If the soil is dry, add water but don’t soak the roots.
Typically, you will only need to water your blueberry bushes about every three weeks depending on your climate. If you add mulch around your blueberry plants, this will prevent their root systems from drying quickly.
Birds and other pests love blueberries. So when your blueberries are about to mature, you should cover them with an appropriate bird net to protect them.
How to Harvest Blueberries
If you plant a blueberry plant in your garden that is around two years of age, it should start producing fruits the next year around July or August time.
You will know your blueberries are ready when they start falling off the branches. So don’t start harvesting them the moment they turn blue.
Once you harvest blueberries, you can eat them straight away or you can store them by drying or freezing them. Frozen blueberries can be eaten as is or used to make smoothies, while dried blueberries can be added to soups and stews or rubbed into meat to add a unique flavour.
Got so many blueberries that you don’t know what to do with them all? Here are a bunch of recipes for you to sink your teeth into, check them out here!
Tips & Common Problems
If you want your blueberry bushes to last for a long time, you should cut off their flowers in the first and second year. Cutting the flowers will allow your blueberries to grow bigger and stronger, this is what will make them last longer.
If your garden is large enough, growing blueberry bushes together in a wide patch has been shown to increase production, just make sure you have a plan for all those fruits you’ll be harvesting.
Powdery mildew can be a formidable enemy when growing blueberries and it will appear as a white powdery deposit on your fruit leading to growth being stunted. To prevent this, keep the soil moist and grow them in a cooler area.