Lester C. Fretz
Grow Blueberries for Health and Great Eating
Recently someone remarked, “I think I’m going to grow blueberries this year”. She had an excellent idea but obviously lacked some important know-how.
Blueberries are an excellent addition to one’s garden as they are one of the most nutritious, low calorie, antioxidant rich type of fruit. Their health benefits are many while being super sweet and delicious. In addition, they are easy to grow if the necessary requirements are followed while enjoying a twenty year life of productivity.
There are three types: highbush, half-high and lowbush. highbush are well suited for this part of Ontario hence should be considered for the beginner as one mature bush will produce over 3 kg. of berries. For cross pollination and more productivity, plant more than one cultivar. Varieties beginning with “blue” are mid season and very productive; varieties beginning with “north” are earlier and hardy. The plants should be set about 1 metre apart. Of course, high bush require less bending to pick!
Soil acidity is the primary consideration. Aluminum sulphate is an effective additive. To achieve good growing conditions, simply dig a hole knee deep and 18″ in diameter and fill it with peat moss. Not only does this medium provide ideal Ph, it is also good for water retention. Mulching will prevent weed growth and reduce moisture fluctuation.
Removing the flowers for the first two years will encourage vigorous growth and increased ultimate production. For optimum productivity, they prefer full sun, however some shade is acceptable. In fall, they add an ornamental value to your garden.
Lester C. Fretz, M.Sc.,
Member of Dunnville Horticulture Society
The photo shows a first year plant in production however removing the flowers to prevent fruiting is better for long term results. Note its first year growth as well as its location.