Blueberries are a great addition to your diet, packed with nutrients and antioxidants, they have also recently been shown to help with brain function and memory loss.
A 2012 study showed that just one serving of blueberries per week can help slow down cognitive decline. Another study in 2013 involving lab mice, showed that the berries cleared toxic proteins that accumulate in the brain.
Fresh blueberries are sometimes hard to find in supermarkets and can be expensive if you are buying them out of season.
This helpful guide will show you how to grow your own blueberries in 6 easy steps:
1. Choose a nice planting spot and prepare your soil
Blueberry bushes need lots of sun and plenty of water, so you need to choose somewhere that gets lots of sunshine and has excellent drainage so you can be constantly watering them.
Raised beds are great for this as they will drain better than regular soil.
Ideally the space should be around two and a half feet in diameter, and a foot deep for every bush. Mix some pre-moistened peat in with the soil you want to grow in.
Avoid cedar and redwood rind.
2. Give our blueberry bushes enough space
Blueberries need quite a lot of room to grow in, so separate your bushes by 2-2.5 feet, or 6 feet space for one bush. If you are planting the bushes in rows, separate them by 8-10 feet.
3. The planting process
Blueberries are best planted in spring and fall, as these seasons provide the best conditions for them to thrive.
Use about half an inch more planting soil than topsoil, and pack the soil around the root, then add the rest of your soil. Start your bush off with plenty of water, and remember to water it well and frequently.
Sawdust, rind mulch, grass clippings and acid tripe are good mulching material for your blueberries. As they only have shallow roots it is important for them to get nutrients wherever they can.
2-4 inches of mulching material is a good amount, which should be replaced every year.
Keep your plant regularly pruned to ensure it grows strong and healthy. Clip off any flowers and dead shoots.
Tips for pruning:
- Remove any growths from the bottom of the blueberry bush
- Clear the dead woods
- Clip off short and discolored branches
- Clear about half of the wood
You should use organic fertilizers on your blueberry bush, and blood meal and cottonseed work best. Avoid using manure as this may damage the plant.
These steps should have you on your way to a fresh crop of blueberries right in your own back garden!