Blueberries not only provide scrumptious, antioxidant-rich berries, but blueberry shrubs also add year-round interest to the landscape. This summer fruit is easy to grow and requires minimum care in the garden. To help homeowners grow and care for their own blueberries, the garden experts at Pike Nurseries in Roswell offer these tips:
- Even though blueberries produce their fruit in the summer months, it is not too late to begin planting them now. Plant yours in a spot that receives full sunlight, either in the garden or in a large pot.
- To thrive, blueberries need a nutrient-rich soil with good drainage. If planting in the garden, mix the native soil with Pike Planting Mix at a 50/50 ratio. This helps break up the hard Georgia red clay and allows for better drainage.
- To protect your berries from birds, cover your blueberry shrub with bird netting as soon as the berries start to appear.
- Blueberries come in many different varieties. A few of the best options for Georgia gardeners are O’Neal blueberries, Burgundy Wild Lowbush blueberries, Top Hat blueberries and Patriot Early Season blueberries. All of these varieties are carried at Pike Nurseries.
- The easiest way to pick your berries is to hold a bucket underneath a cluster in one hand, and gently pull bunches at a time with the other hand. The ripe berries will easily fall off the branches, while the berries that aren’t fully ripened will remain attached to the bush.
- The biggest clue in determining if a berry is ripe is its color. Ripe berries will be plump with a light blue or gray color. If there is still a hint of red in the berry, it isn’t fully ripened yet.