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Why You Should Plant Blueberries for Your Health and Your Pocketbook
Food production and prices are directly tied to energy prices. It requires energy to work the soil, plant and harvest the crop. In addition, food is often shipped long distances which requires a lot of energy. So the higher price of gas will increase the price of our food. Does it make sense to ship vegetables from Mexico when local farmers can grow them? Even better you can grow some in your own yard or patio. A simple change that is possible for the future is growing some food crops locally. Most homeowners should grow 4 or 5 edible crops locally from a nutritional and economic standpoint. Of these, the front-runner should be blueberries. One of the most delightful things about growing blueberries is the anticipation of delicious, healthy fruit.
10+ reasons why you should grow blueberries.
1. They can be grown in containers on your patio or in the garden. Sunshine blue is an example of an excellent plant that can be grown in containers as well as in your landscape.
2. Health – Blueberries are one of the healthiest foods you can eat they are loaded with antioxidants. Few people get enough antioxidants. Having a bush in your yard is a way to increase your consumption and control your costs.
3. Beautiful. The flowers on the blueberries are delicious. The red autumn color is beautiful. The colorful blueberry bushes in certain sunlight conditions or against an early snowfall can be a glorious experience. They can be used to beautify your landscape while providing a food crop at the same time.
4. Tolerant in a wide range of soils. The different varieties can be planted on any organically fertilized soil and are planted in the right growing area. The pH needs to be between 4.2 and 5.1 with plenty of organic matter. Raised beds in some cases need to be used by building the soil to ensure good drainage.
5. Tolerant of partial shade. Blueberries do not require full sun, they will continue to produce in the partial shade produced by trees in our suburban homes.
6. Minimal bug problems. Caterpillars can be a problem on blueberries. They can produce defoliation as a result of which you can lose a year’s production. You can also solve this potential problem without the application of pesticides by using a small amount of Basic H in water and spraying it on your plants. Basic H can serve as a caterpillar repellant. Insects will not bite where Basic H has been applied. Apply Basic H full strength or dilute and spray on and rub in (but not on other chemicals/medications on skin). Insects will not bite where Basic H has been applied. Also relieves itching from insect bites (rub on, full strength)
7. Disease resistant. Standing water can cause root rot but this can be solved by using raised beds to ensure good drainage. There is no major disease that affects blueberries.
8. Long harvest season. By planting early, mid-season and late ripening varieties you can have fresh blueberries all season long.
9. Easy to store. Blueberries can be stored for 2 weeks in the refrigerator without problems. For some varieties six weeks in the refrigerator is also possible. You can also freeze them for the year throughout the year.
10. Multiple uses. Fresh blueberries can be put on cereal. Make a great blueberry pie. You can process them and make jam from them or use them fresh or frozen to make a smoothie.
11. They are perennials once established they can continue to produce for many years.
Where to buy blueberry plants
One of the questions that is often asked is where to buy blueberry plants. Buy your plants from a reputable nursery. The best buy is two-year-old plants.
Some of the most common varieties:
Northern Blueberry Varieties – Blueray, Sunshineblue, Blue Crop, Bluegold, Elliot, Hannah’s Choice, Jersey, Nelson, Northland,
Southern Blueberry Varieties – Misty, Legacy, Golf Coast, Ozarkblue, O’Neal, Reveille, Sharpblue,
Rabbiteye Varieties – Brightwell, Climax, Premier, Tifblue, Powder blue. Rabbiteye blueberries are not self-fertile and at least two varieties that flower at about the same time are needed for cross pollination.
Tifblue is considered one of the best rabbiteyes. Tiftblue blueberries are among the tastiest blueberries. Tifblue is more cold hardy than most varieties of rabbiteye blueberries. It should be the main variety in any planting.
Ozarkblue – Ozarkblue is a favorite variety. It is not bothered by heat, does not need much irrigation, resists spring frosts and never needs protection, and is very productive of the best berries. It is the mid/late harvest, just before the rabbiteyes.
Hannah’s Choice – Hannah’s Choice is an early maturing high bush blueberry plant. May be the tastiest of all early-maturing mid-northern bush cultivars.
Bluegold – A northern bush plant with a mid-season ripening time. BlueGold is a beautiful, compact plant that grows only four feet tall. It bears large clusters of easy-to-pick blueberries. Bluegold produces large quantities of truly superior fruit
Sunshineblue – This self-pollinated southern high-bush produces small fruits of good quality, and shows a long shelf-life. Perfect for planting in pots, on patios, and in other areas where a small (3-4 foot tall) shrub is desired.
Gypsy Moth Caterpillars and Tent Caterpillars: Use 1 tablespoon of Basic H in Ortho-type sprayer. Or use 1 tablespoon in a 16 ounce pump spray bottle. Spray the caterpillars and watch them die in seconds. It is good on the blueberry plants that you spray.
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