When it comes to blueberries, few things are better than picking blueberries fresh from your own garden and popping them straight into your mouth! Blueberry pancakes are pretty high on the list though. ?
Blueberries are an amazing, delicious and nutritious superfood, but these days, they’re also quite expensive to buy. One of the reasons blueberries are more expensive is the cost of harvesting. Since this luscious little blue fruit ripens steadily over several months, there’s no one harvest time, nor any quick and easy way to harvest by machine.
But for your own backyard garden or farm, picking blueberries is a privilege and a pleasure punctuated with blue fingers, lips and tongue. (Evidence! ?) Harvesting your own blueberries gets you outside moving and getting exercise in the fresh air while enjoying a deliciously refreshing time out in the garden.
For the first couple years that we’ve been growing blueberries, they were producing a lot of delicious fruit, until last summer. This past season we had a smaller harvest, so we invited our local Ag Extension agents to come out and help us figure out the problem. They spotted it right away.
We knew blueberries needed a more acidic soil than what we have, so we thought it was a good idea to use pine needle mulch. Apparently not. It turns out that the pine needle mulch sent the acidity over the top.
Next, is a short video on that, plus another one on growing organic blueberries. It includes info on how to prep the soil and how to care for your blueberry crop.
Remember to call on your local Ag Extension office when you need something. It’s a free service that we’re already paying for as taxpayers and they’re a wealth of information.
Planting & Caring for Blueberry Bushes
Tricia, from Grow Organic, talks about growing blueberries both in containers, caring for the blueberry plants, and the proper soil which is super important! All that in under 5 minutes.
Proper soil is key for blueberries.
The pH level for blueberries needs to be between 4.09 and 5.0.
Mulch for Blueberries
We started growing about 3 dozen or so blueberry bushes, and the crop started out really well the first year of production. So we added more bushes, then last year we got a lot less fruit. When we consulted with our local Ag., Extension folks we learned we had too much acid. We were using too much pine needle mulch, too close to the base of the plants.
So while blueberries need more acid than most fruits, make sure you’re not over acidifying. Here’s what our local Ag told us to keep in mind about using pine needle mulch.1)https://gardensall.com/how-to-grow-blueberries-and-why-youll-want-to/
Next we share some information on why blueberries are often amongst the foods labeled as a superfood. The sweet luscious flavor aside, blueberries are as packed with nutrients as they are with flavor. No vitamin or pill ever tasted so good!
Health Benefits of Blueberries
Blueberries are well established to be an exceptionally nutritious fruit with tremendous health benefits, including:
- Cardiovascular health
- Cognitive health and memory
- Blood sugar regulation
- Anti-cancer benefits
- Eyes – Protecting from oxidative and solar damage
With blueberries, the more you eat the more you benefit.
So blueberry binging is probably okay! ?
Some studies have shown better total antioxidant capacity when 3 or more cups of blueberries were consumed per day as compared to a daily intake of 1-2 cups.” WHFoods.com2)
And guess what? Blueberry leaves are reported to also have significant health benefits equal to the fruit! So harvest some leaves as well, and add them to tea. This applies to most of the berry leaves as well. Some folks dry the leaves and use them as tea.
So take advantage of blueberry season folks. We certain are! They take a lot of time to pick, but are oh so worth it, bearing copious berries for a solid two months from mid June-August in Zone 7b.
Ready to get growing? If you don’t have a local nursery or home store selling blueberry bushes, our top two go-to places are EdibleLandscaping.com or, you can even get Organic Highbush Blueberry Certified 100+ Seeds from Amazon!2)http://ediblelandscaping.com/
What are your blueberry growing tips? Share in the comments or head over the Facebook Page!
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