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Five Things to Love About Blueberries

Highbush blueberries

Highbush blueberries

There are more than five things to love about blueberries, but these are my top five things to love.

First blueberries are hardy and really easy to grow, especially in Heath where the soil is suitably acid. Blueberries require a pH between 4 and 5.5. I never tested the soil in the berry patch, but my highbush blueberries are  healthy, big and productive. And have been for 30 years. This year I am getting a bumper crop. Blueberries need two cultivars for cross pollination, and two or more cultivars can spread ripening time over a long season. Nourse Farms near us offers a dozen cultivars from very early like Patriot to mid season like Blueray and Bluecrop to  late season like Jersey. Just remember if you are going to get a good crop you will need to net the patch, something to consider when you are planting them. Mine grow in a line, but I do think a square of berry bushes is easier to manage. It is tough to get  a net over  a 30 foot row of bushes. And make sure you aren’t wearing any buttons while you wrangle that  black netting.

Two. Blueberries don’t all ripen at once and they hang on the bush happily for a few days until you can get out and pick. Nor are they susceptible to damp or rain like raspberries that need to be picked every day in season. Blueberries are very considerate of  busy gardeners.

Three. They are incredibly nutritious. They are not only rich in Vitamins C and K (important in blood clotting) they are rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants  protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals (oxidation) that thus possibly setting the scene for disease. Blueberries are among the foods highest in antioxidants – and so delicious. A list of these foods shows  the wisdom of the motto Eat Your Colors.

My blueberries

My blueberries

Four. Blueberries are easy to preserve. Just pop them into a freezer bag and into the freezer. My own blueberries come in over a long season so it is easy to  always have fresh blueberries on hand, but I also buy a 20 pound box of local lowbush blueberries every year. It takes me about half an hour to put them in bags and into the freezer. Naturally, I also have many berries of my own to freeze.

Five. Blueberries are delicious. You can eat them out of hand or in your breakfast cereal. Fresh or frozen you can use them in pancakes, muffins and pies. You can combine them  with peaches, plums or raspberries in a colorful and delicious summer fruit crumble. We eat a lot of summer fruit crumble. Have you grown blueberries?

7 comments to Five Things to Love About Blueberries

  • I wish our blueberries were available throughout summer. Here they come on first part of June and are over by first of July. We do enjoy them while they are here. We freeze some. Yummm

  • Pat

    Lisa – I am still picking a lot of blueberries. Lucky me. We also have lowbush blueberries farms in town so I always buy some there, as well. Their season is over by September.

  • I don’t grow them myself, but make several trips between late July and early September to a farm about half an hour away. $1.25 a pound! I’m about to make my 5th (and probably final) trip of the summer up there today. So far I’ve brought home about 60 pounds of berries, most of which end up in the freezer. It has been a great year for the blueberries here in NE Pennsylvania!

  • (The berries, while plentiful, were overripe, soft, and gushy. I brought home only two pounds today, after an hour in the field!)

  • Pat

    Kimberly – What a disappointment. It must be near the end of the season in your part of the world. Still, you do have that first 60 pounds. You have a healthy year in front of you.

  • How are pollinators able to pollinate if you use black netting? This one my first year to grow three (different) shrubs. Some time after flowering of the first bush I covered all my shrubs with black netting. First bush had nice berried, but two others (blooming later after being covered with netting) had very small and not well formed berries. Was it because they were covered and pollinators couldn’t get to their blooms? Please advice.

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