The final post in my series of five showing you the easiest vegetables and fruits you can grow yourself, anywhere.
If you thought it was too hard to grow any type of fruit and veg in your garden, on your balcony, or your back yard – think again! These guys are dirt easy to try:
Today I’ve saved the best until last – Blueberries!
This has got to be my favourite fruit to eat (apart from raspberries, strawberries…). I took to them about four yrs ago when I read about them in a magazine and thought I should try them. I realised quite quickly how versatile these little berries could be. You could use them in a variety of recipes, as part of smoothies or simply to eat as a snack. Compared to most other fruit the sugar in them is low so they make a great sweet substitute.
There is however one problem I found with buying them. They didn’t last all year. Supermarkets will pretty much try and sell the blueberries year round but taste pretty disgusting from about Jan to April and have been shipped half way around the world at that point to be sold at ridiculous prices.
Why Grow Blueberries
Firstly – they are VERY easy to grow
Secondly I call blueberries – super foods. A coin used mostly to make people buy things they don’t need but on this occasion I really believe blueberries are. They contain healthy properties designed to boost your immune system and keep you fighting fit.
They are however quite expensive to buy. One small tray from the shops will set you back between £1 at the hight of the growing season to £4 in low season. If you’re buying for a whole family that can soon start to get expensive. Why punnet of fruit are more expensive to buy than sweets and biscuits is all down to the production values but that just means is it’s all the more reason for growing your own!
The blueberry is a native to North America.
How to grow Blueberries
Blueberries are great for growing in pots. You can either grow individual varieties in seperate pots/containers or get a bigger pot and plant two different varieties in.
- Get a pot
- Buy a blueberry plant (or two). Yes they are expensive. Plants average about £7.99 from garden centres. Well known supermarkets have been known to sell their plants at £3.99 but you have to get in quick (around beginning of May) for those.
It will be worth it I promise! You’ll get the £7.99 back easily within your second yr – possibly even your first depending on the variety chosen and the weather! With the right pruning in later years that blueberry plant you bought could last you up to 50yrs.
- Fill your pot with ericaceous compost, bought from any garden centre, not general compost. Blueberries need a slightly acidic soil which is why they are better in pots. (It is possible to create home made ericaceous soil but I’ll save that for another post).
- Plant your plant in the soil, making sure it is well watered in.
- Place the plant in a semi-sunny position
- Keep the plant well watered in any dry seasons. Don’t let the compost dry out.
- Sit back and watch the fruit begin to appear from May to July.
- Future years, in Spring, mulch the pots with further compost or pine needles.
Any new plants bought don’t need any pruning done to them until you’ve had them 2 yrs.
On that 2nd winter prune out any dead, dying or diseased branches (not that there should be any in yr2), prune two or three canes down to the ground to make way for new stems to appear.
Blueberries will fruit on previous years growth which means any new growth created this year won’t actually create fruit until next yr.
So, If you cut that down, no fruit will appear, however if you don’t cut anything back no new growth will happen which will turn your plant too woody for producing any fruit.
Just get to know your plants and prune only the necessary areas. Or in in doubt – ask.
Pests and Diseases
Blueberries are pretty disease resistant. You have to keep an eye out for late frosts when the young branch tips are developing and may need protecting but apart from that the biggest other problem will be:-
Birds! Birds love the fruit. They will be quite happy to fly from far way to take a feast on the berries and before you know it the whole lot have been devoured. Just put some netting over the fruit to stop the birds getting to it from May onwards.
If you liked the series and thought it was useful please let me know. I’m in the process of writing a FREE ebook to get more people growing their own fruit and veg. If you want to know when it’ll be finished sign up to my blog now 🙂