This year will be no different. I will be adding to my garden, one blueberry plant. Living so closely to Hammonton, NJ, the self proclaimed, blueberry capital of the world, how could blueberries not be a part of my landscape?
Before I did though, I searched out some advice on growing them. While I believe growing new things every year is a good thing, not arming myself with the knowledge to have it succeed would be foolish. I quickly found out that blueberries love soil to be acidic. Regardless of the variety, 4.5 to 5.5 is the ideal pH range of the soil your blueberry plants should be grown in.
“As with many fruit producing plants, it is recommended to remove any flowers in the first year. This allows the plant to establish itself with a strong root system, and depending upon the age of the plant when purchased at the nursery, the plant may begin producing fruit for harvest the following year,” says Christy Wilhelmi, founder of Gardennerd.com and a member of the board of directors for Ocean View Farms. “I have read that most blueberries start producing in their third year, but I have seen plants produce the season after planting.”
After doing my research, here is what I have done for my own blueberry plant. I chose a location that receives full sun throughout the day. In my yard I have a corner near the back left side of my house that is perfect. Because of the way the sun shines and moves throughout the day, this particular spot is never shaded, making for plenty of sun for my new blueberry plant.
Next I removed the existing soil that was in that spot and created a mixture of topsoil, compost, peat moss and pine needles. “Blueberries grow best in acidic soil, so we tend to plant them in acid-loving plant mix (Master Nursery Garden Center's Nurseryman's line of products is our favorite), but we've also planted in straight peat moss with success,” says Christy.
With my soil all set (a pH reading of a little below 5), I planted my blueberry bush, propped up a 6 foot tall trellis behind it, that I will use as support when it gets larger, and finally put some fencing (about 24 inches high) around it, to protect it from the animals, just in case. You never know what the rabbits in my area will eat and I‘d rather not take the chance.
According to the nursery that I purchased the blueberry plant from, within 3 years it should yield about 15 pounds of fresh blueberries per season, for many years, so as long as I take good care of it. We shall see.
About the Author
Mike Podlesny is the author of Vegetable Gardening for the Average Person: A Guide to Vegetable Gardening for the rest of us, the moderator for the largest vegetable gardening page on Facebook and creator of the monthly Seeds Club.
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