Growing Superfoods: The Blueberry
What if we told you, there was a food -- not a drug -- powerful enough to help you lower your cholesterol, reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, and, for an added bonus, put you in a better mood. Did we mention that there are no warning labels of possible side effects? You'd surely stock up on a lifetime supply. And guess what? This life-altering superfood can be grown in your backyard.
The blueberry is one of nature’s most perfect foods. These colorful berries are filled with antioxidants and are low in calories and high in fiber. Surprisingly, a serving of blueberries also provides you with about 25% of your daily vitamin C needs and more than 30% of your vitamin K needs.
The blueberry is a highly versatile fruit and can be used in everything from muffins to salads. Blueberries can be made into jams and preserves and do not lose their health benefits when frozen. Many of our customers will freeze blueberries to use throughout the year in smoothies and shakes. You can also dry blueberries and eat them as a healthy snack or mix them in homemade granolas and trail mixes.
At Plant Me Green, we sell several different types of berries, including a few different varieties of blueberry plants. Our varieties include the Alapaha,the Brightwell, the Austin, the Climax, the Emerald, Home Bell, Powder Blue, Jewel, the Sunshine Blue and Tifblue. These varieties not only produce delectable fruits, they are an attractive addition to any yard. Blueberries require cross pollination. Choose varieties with different ripening times to spread the fruiting season.
Our wide variety of blueberry plants allows you to select a type of blueberry that works best in your geographic area. In general, most blueberry plants do well in USDA Zones 7, 8 and 9, although we have some varieties that can handle the weather and soil conditions of Zones 6 and even 10. The Sunshine Blue blueberry, for example, is quite versatile and actually grows in Zones 5 through 10.
Some blueberry plants can even be grown in containers and these can be good options if you wish to grow blueberries but don’t have the yard space or live in a zone that isn’t ideal for growing this fruit. Other varieties will grow to as high at 10 feet in height and are better suited for your yard.
The blueberry plant grows well in full sun and also tends to produce more fruit when it is grown in full sun. Blueberries prefer to grow in well-drained sandy loam soils, but they will grow in many soil types as long as good drainage is available. Blueberries require acidic soil with a pH of 4.5 to 5.5. You can amend the soil with acidic organic matter such as oak leaves or pine bark. Spent coffee or tea grounds also add acid to the soil.
We also recommend that you do not use manure or mushroom compost in the planting hole nor should these items be used as mulch. Blueberries do require a good amount of water, especially during the first two years as the plant is being established. The first year is especially critical and you’ll probably want to provide about an inch or perhaps two inches of water for each blueberry plant per week. Wherever you decide to plant your blueberries, either in a raised bed or right in the ground, make sure that the area is clear of weeds and grass.
On our website, we provide planting and care information for blueberries as well as our other fruit-bearing plants and trees. It is wise to research care and planting prior to ordering a blueberry plant.So what are you waiting for? Buy our blueberry patch starter kit, or add a different variety to your patch to get a longer span of fresh berries over the summer.