Blueberries taste great and they’re really good for you. Unfortunately, many folks only get their blueberries from the supermarket because they’re unable to successfully grow them in their home gardens. While it’s true that blueberries can be a little more difficult to grow than other vegetables, doing a little research ahead of time and getting the conditions right are all it takes to grow a fruitful crop. Here are some tips for successfully growing blueberries.
First things first, make sure you choose the right plants to begin with. Blueberries come in a variety of types. Some are more adapted to colder climates while others thrive in warm, southern climates. Make sure you pick the kind that’s best for where you live. Also, it helps for blueberries to have a pollinator, which means you’ll do better if you plant two varieties of blueberries.
Try to choose plants that are at least a couple of years old. They should be anywhere from a foot to three feet tall, depending on the species. If you can, avoid planting your bushes in the summer and stick to spring or fall, as this will get your plants the most moisture. You’ll want to keep your plants about 5 feet apart and surround them with a layer of mulch a few inches thick.
As for watering, blueberries require a good bit during their first season in order to establish solid roots. Early plants will also require a good amount of pruning. If you planted a bare root plant, you’ll want to cut back about two-thirds of the growth. If you planted a potted bush, reduce that pruning to about half of the total growth.
Once you’ve got your bushes in the ground, give them about six weeks to grow and then give them a good dose of fertilizer.
Now comes the hard part—waiting. Successfully growing blueberries is a marathon, not a sprint. It will likely take 2 or 3 years to harvest a decent crop, but rest easy knowing that once established your blueberry bush could thrive for the next 50 years! Water and fertilize your plants regularly during the first couple of years and wrap them in cloth during cold nights in the winter.
With a little planning and some TLC, you’ll be growing delicious blueberries for many years to come!