Packed with nutrients and cancer-fighting compounds, blueberries are tasty and so easy to grow. Blue Crop blueberries take frigid winters and produce huge crops in July. The healthiest and one of the tastiest fruits, the blueberry, is simple to grow. Chandler is the biggest berry you can grow. Most are as big as a nickel.
You amend the soil, plant the bush, mulch and water. That’s it! No spraying, no endless pruning or other maintenance. Most are self-pollinating, although two different varieties will insure heavy fruit set. In return you get gorgeous bell-like flowers in the spring, tasty fruit and vivid fall foliage in tones of red, rust and orange that accent your landscape.
Blueberry bushes require soil with low pH (about 4.5 to 5.5) that is porous; you don’t have to replace your alkaline or clay soil. Just amend the planting area. Stake out a 3 by 9-foot bed for four bushes. Add a bale of peat and a cup of soil sulfur to alkaline soil. Blueberries have shallow roots and they love moisture. The peat plus the soil sulfur will bring down the pH of the bed from 7.3 to 5.2. Adding soil sulfur every spring keeps the pH in the desirable range. Test the pH before adding sulfur to see if it’s needed.
Thick mulch is a must. It insures the roots stay healthy. Use pine needles and top them off with six inches of straw. Very little pruning is needed, but it should be done in early spring while plants are dormant.
The first two years, the bush’s structure is formed, so specific cuts must be made to spur growth and form fruit buds. After that, spring pruning is a matter of removing dead canes and cleaning up any problems.
Disease problems are non-existent. Nothing seems to bother plants, except birds pecking the berries as they ripen. Bird netting, a pet cat or dog in the yard or situating bushes near a house entrance takes care of birds.
Blue Crop, Chandler, Patriot and Pink Lemonade bushes are all high-bush blueberries that thrive in cold-winter climates. Rabbit-eye varieties do best in the southern states.