Blueberries are delicious and extremely high in antioxidants which is why they are regarded as a super food, as well as being one of the few naturally blue foods on earth. This reliable plant is super easy to grow and produces an abundance of berries.
Blueberry bushes are self-pollinating to an extent, but you can grow larger berries through cross-pollination with a second variety. Both varieties being used in the cross-pollination should have bloom times that are at the same time in order for it to be successful. Selection of the variety of blueberry bush is important too. There are many to choose from and include early season, early mid-season, mid-season, mid-late season, and late season varieties, so you need to decide when you want them to be mature and look at those varieties for the best choice for your garden. Some have better characteristics for harvesting the fruit; as well as size of the bush for your space. Well maintained bushes, will remain productive for about 15-20 years. Bluecrop variety is a very hardy type of blueberry which produces large berries and is a good plant to use in cross-pollination.
In most areas, it’s ideal to plant blueberries in the early fall or spring, planting them as close as 2 or 3 feet apart. In choosing your location, make sure the blueberry plants will get full sun for at least 4-6 hours of the day. Blueberries can tolerate partial shade, but better crops are grown with more sun. Try not to plant them too close to large overhanging trees – which will not only block the sun but the tree will use up any moisture and nutrients in the soil that the blueberry plant may need. The first year planted the blueberry bushes will need to be watered as needed to help get them established. If they’re looking dry don’t be afraid to give them a good soaking.
Blueberries grow better in acidic soil. The soil can be acidified by mixing peat moss, as well as pine bark or needles into the ground. There are also products available at your local garden center that are easy to mix in your soil.
Blueberries are typically ready for picking between June and August, but don’t rush to pick the berries as soon as they turn blue. Wait a couple days, then when they are ready, they should fall off right into your hand. Pick over the plants several times as not all the blueberries ripen at the same time.
Warning: Blueberries are a favorite snack of hungry birds, so it is recommended that you protect blueberry bushes ahead of time by draping some sort of netting over your plants. You won’t regret this extra step when YOU (and not the birds!) are enjoying your fresh picked blueberries!
The Encore raspberry is a mid to late season vigorous berry to keep you picking and enjoying their sweet flavor for longer. They are very hardy plants with large fruit and an excellent flavor. Perfect for homemade jams and preserves and even better eaten straight off the plant. This highly productive plant yields exceptionally sweet raspberries that melt in your mouth. The Encore raspberry ripens in late July to early August and is self-pollinating. They are disease resistant to root rot, are cold hardy and heat tolerant. Proper soil moisture is important during the establishment. Mulch to keep the soil evenly moist and to prevent weeds. Prune back to ground level after harvesting in late summer.