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Berries that are fit for a king

Blueberries-Growing blueberries in pots

Blueberries

A super fruit that is worth our attention is the blueberry plant which is loaded with vitamins and contains so many benefits that will have you feeling like a king.

This superfood is a favourite of so many households and is grown in many countries.  How would you love to have this superfood growing in your garden?

I can think of many delicious recipes like pancakes and muffins that are a real treat with this fruit how about you what is your favourite treats that include blueberries?

Blueberries can be planted directly into the ground or in pots and later transferred to your garden area. But what does it takes to be successful when it comes to growing and harvesting these fruits?

Growing Blueberries In Pots

  • Blueberries love full sunlight so ensure that your container is placed in a sunny location
  • Blueberries should be planted in early spring which is the best time but can also be planted later in the season.
  • The soil should be an organic well-drained soil
  • The soil ph of these berries should be between 4 and 5.5
  • Ensure that the containers have drain holes to drain excess water because blueberries don’t like wet feet
  • Using an organic fertilizer or triple 10 offers good results
  • Adding about 2-3inch layer of mulch is good to help the soil stay cool, hold water and add nutrients as decomposition of mulch sets in
  • In northern regions protect your plant during the cool season by wrapping in burlap, placing in protected areas or covering with straws.

When to harvest

You have put in the hard work an now it is time to reap a harvest. Harvest time for these berries is in late July to mid-August. When they turn purple don’t pick yet, wait for a few days then you are good to go.

Insect pest of blueberries

I know, you have heard of this one so often but the reality is as long as we have gardens there will always be insects pest that will have to get dealt with. In this group of insect pest, there are yellow jackets, scales, aphids, leafhoppers, leafworms, Japanese beetles, fruit maggots, cherry fruitworms, cranberry fruitworms, thrips, and a few others.

Controlling insect pest of blueberries

Blueberry-plant-Growing Blueberries In Pots

Blueberry Bush

There are many ways to control these insects pest which includes

  • Chemical control
  • Biological control
  • Cultural control

Chemical control- is with the use of chemicals such as oil sprays and insecticidal soaps. Read and follow the label because the label is the law.

Biological control- involves releasing beneficial insects in your garden area. For plants growing in containers, chemical control is preferred for a more direct and targeted approach.

Cultural practice-involves placing your container-grown plant in the right location as discussed earlier, the right soil, amount of water and fertilizer. When you meet your blueberry plants condition in this way this will help to ensure that even though invaded by insect pest your plant will have a better chance of survival as you use control methods discussed earlier.

Bird control

As beautiful as our friends are with their amazing tone as they sing so sweetly birds can become a pest by inviting themselves to our berries. But don’t despair because using these methods will help you to breath easier.

  • Draping nets on plants have proven to be effective
  • Installing a bird feed will redirect their attention from your berries
  • Using a scarecrow
  • Adding pinwheels that spin
  • Chicken wire can do a good job
  • Using an artificial snake

These are just a few of the methods that have proven to be effective in keeping those uninvited guest from stealing your berries.

Blueberry disease

Like insect and bird pest blueberries has its share of disease which are

Blueberries-blueberries-growing on trees

Blueberry Bush

  • Botryodphaeris stem canker
  • Blueberry mummy berry
  • Blueberry stem blight
  • Blueberry botrytis blight
  • Septoria leaf spot
  • Blueberry leaf spot

Botryodphaeris stem canker signs are lesions that appear on the stem. Within a month the canker swells, the steams also has cracks. This disease is hard to control therefore the earlier you can detect this disease will determine the overall health of your plant. With a sharp pruner remove disease parts and dispose of.

Blueberry mummy berry signs include tiny mushroom looking substance growing from berries. Also, the veins of the new leaf margins turn brown, the infected leaves wilts and curves. Spores develop at the base of the plant that is light grey. These spores affect fruits and flowers.

The berries that are infected turns a pinkish colour and becomes rubbery as the fruits begin to ripen. The infected berries shrivel and drops from plant turning black.

To control keep plant bed free of infected berries, apply a fungicide early at first sign. It is a good idea though to plant resistant varieties.

Blueberry stem blight is produced by a fungus that causes the leaves to turn red to brownish in colour, the stem also takes on this appearance as the infection sets in because of the fungal spores that are produced under the surface of the stem. Control this disease by proper cultural practice, pruning infected parts and keeping pruners sterilized between making cuts. Do not fertilize plants after mid-summer.

Blueberry botrytis blight is a fungus that affects the twigs, blossom, and fruits. The entire plant is covered with a grey, hairy fungal growth the shoots tips also turns brown-black. Unripe fruits shrivel and turn purple-bluish and as for fruits that are ripe takes on a pale-brown colour. The flowers that are infected turn brown taking on a water-soaked appearance.

Control measures include placing the plant in well-drained soil, ensure that your plant has proper air circulation, do not over fertilize, water in the morning to allow the plant to dry. Also, keep plants free of weeds that encourage disease.

Septoria leaf spot is a fungus that thrives in damp conditions. Signs to look for are tiny flat lesions on stems and leaves. The lesions have tan or grey centres with brown-purplish margins.

Leaves turn yellow and may fall from plants. To control keep area free of weeds that encourage disease, it is good to plant resistant cultivars. Do not overwater.

Blueberry leaf spot is caused by a fungus that causes the leaves to die and fall as the disease progresses. The leaves take on the appearance of being sprayed with chemicals. This disease is brought on in the spring under warm and wet conditions.

Control measure includes removing disease debris and properly disposing of them. Also applying captan or benlate every two weeks from harvest time until August has proven to be effective.

The final word

Growing homegrown blueberries can be a success it is all about knowing how and the rest is history. There are a few challenges that are presented but the good news is these challenges can be brought under control as you garden for success.

Blueberries are a superfood that is worth the effort go ahead and plant these bushes and enjoy the benefits they bring.

7 comments

  1. John says:

    Wow! I really love his article of blueberries. I am mean that says alot about just want you need to know about, planting, caring, harvesting it. Unfortunately for me blueberries cannot grow in my part of the world but if there could be a way, this review is just the needed guide towards that. Thanks you

    1. Norman says:

      Hello john so happy to meet you and I an so sorry to hear that. Maybe if you wnat some advice on what you might be able to do please private message me. All the best of success and have a good day.

  2. Helen says:

    Norman, I love blueberries. Fortunately we live in a blueberry growing area and can easily go and pick our own. I freeze some and bottle some.

    But the best way is fresh.

    I also make a fruit berry cobbler with a large amount of blueberries in it. Contact me sometime if you want the recipe.

    Great and informative article.

    Ciao
    Helen

    1. Norman says:

      Hello Helen so good to meet you and thanks so much for sharing. Thanks also for the recipe and I am going to contact you this recipe sounds very delicious. All the best of success and have a good day.

  3. Devara says:

    Hello Norman,
    This is great information! I love blueberries, especially in my CinnaSugar-n-Oats smoothie. I’ve never tried to grow them myself. How far apart to you plant them once they are ready to transfer to the garden?
    Also, I like you methods for controlling the birds. I have a rubber snake hanging from my carport right now, hoping they wouldn’t build nest under it. This worked in the beginning, several years ago, but now they are used to it being there and have actually build a nest on top of the snake. Maybe I should move the rubber snake to the garden for a while. I might get more use out of it.
    Thanks for a great article.
    Devara

    1. Norman says:

      Hello so good to meet you. Insects as well as birds can be a challenge at times. So sorry to hear about your bird problem. The hotel where I worked many years ago also had this problem of birds laying their nest in the ceiling so what they did was use some type of netting marterial along with spikes to keep them away. 

      It was somewhat effective because then the birds would find other places in the ceiling to squeeze in so I know your pain. Probbaly trying the netting method may workout for you just ensure that every small opening is covered. Now as for the blue berries spacing should be 6 feet apart but if planting in rows should be 8-10 feet spacing. Hope this helps all the best to you and please let me know how it goes also all the best with keeping those birds out of your carport. Have a good day and the best of success.

      1. Thanks for the fast response. I’m thinking about adding blueberries to my garden this year.

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