Aside from vegetables, fruits are considered to be one of the healthiest foods that we have. These fruits contain many different vitamins and nutrients that could help nourish our bodies and keep it healthy and strong. In addition to these, fruits also taste very delicious which makes them more appealing to a lot of people. One of the most-loved or favorite fruits these days is none other than the blueberries. What are blueberries? Blueberry is a hardy dwarf plant that belongs to the genus Vaccinium and the family heath. This plant consists of small and whitish drooping flowers and produces dark blue colored berries that are edible. The fruit is likewise known as blueberry. Blueberries can be bought in the fruit or food sections of the supermarkets. Although most of these fruit-bearing plants are grown in farms, blueberries can actually be grown in our own backyard. But the question now is; how to grow blueberries at home?
Popularity of Blueberries
Blueberries are considered a favorite by many since it can be used in a lot of recipes. Aside from the possibility of eating it fresh and raw, blueberries can also be added into cakes, tarts, rolls and pies. Aside from this, they can also be made into tasty jams and preserves. Aside from its great taste, blueberries are also healthy for the diet. These fruits are rich in vitamins and nutrients and are also excellent sources of fiber. Aside from this, blueberries are also low in sodium and calories and do not contain any cholesterol. Because of these advantages, many are already seeking for ways in order to grow blueberries at home. Below are some of the vital tips in doing it.
Growing Blueberries at Home
1. Selecting the Right Type
If we are planning of planting blueberries in our own backyards, we will first need to select the type or blueberry that we want to plant. Of course, just like any other species of plants, blueberries also come in different types. Those that are normally sold in groceries are called or known as highbush blueberries. This type of blueberries does have plants or bushes that can grow up to 6 feet and produce fruits that are half an inch to an inch in diameter. The wild blueberries or otherwise known as lowbush blueberries are another type of this plant. The main difference between the two is that the lowbush does not grow any higher than 18 inches. Another type is called the half-high blueberries. This plant is actually a hybrid between lowbush and highbush varieties. Nevertheless, this type of blueberry can grow as high as the highbush types. Rabbiteye blueberries are another specific type that possesses a thick skin and are commonly grown in southern regions. The rabbiteye blueberries are considered the tallest or the highest variety of blueberry since it can go as high as ten feet.
2. Selecting the Right Spot
Once the type of blueberry is selected, the next factor to choose from is the spot to where these blueberries must be planted. This is a very vital factor since it can affect the growth and the health of the blueberries. Planting it in an area that is exposed to the sun is highly recommended for the blueberry bush. Planting them on too much shade can hinder optimum growth. This can actually decrease the fruit production as well as the quality of the fruit. In addition to these, blueberries do have short root system requiring it in an area that can acquire constant supply of water.
3. Selecting the Right Soil
Having the right soil in planting the blueberries is also considered essential. Loose and sandy loam is considered the best type of this kind of plant. Loam soil is composed mainly of clay, silt and sand. The pH level must also be maintained to 4.0 in order to ensure quality growth from the plant. A pH more than 5.0 is already considered harmful for the blueberry. Aside from the right composition of soil, finding the right temperature is also ideal. This is why planting blueberries is always recommended on spring season. Proper spacing between bushes must also be maintained in order to prevent the lack of nutrient absorption. Proper care and maintenance once the bush is planted is also a key in having great success for growing blueberries in our backyard. Watering them is also essential but the best type of water to use is none other than rainfall which has a more ideal pH level compared to tap or hose water. On areas that experience lesser rainfall, saving water in buckets while raining is suggested.
Aside from ensuring the quality of the environment, pests must also be prevented from coming in contact with our blueberries. One of the biggest pests that can destroy our fruits is the birds. Birds do love to hunt for juicy fruits, which is why blueberries are considered the perfect fruit for them to catch. This is the reason why placing our blueberry plants in large screened cages is ideal in order to block the birds from getting its fruits. Aside from this, pruning is also essential. This is the act of removing all the dead areas or portions of the blueberry plant in order to provide room for a new and healthy growth.
These are just some of the useful and effective techniques in keeping our blueberries at home healthy and produce quality fruits, which we can all enjoy and love.