Author Topic: Blueberries  (Read 4577 times)

Turnbull

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Blueberries
« on: July 29, 2016, 10:28:06 AM »
A few weeks ago, my wife and kids and I finished up the blueberry harvest from our orchard. We put about 250 pounds in the freezer and also sold about $200 worth to friends. This is really going to help our grocery budget this year as we will cut down on the amount of fruit we buy. I eat the berries every morning in my granola and we also load up our smoothies with them.

I would highly recommend blueberry bushes if you are interested in producing your own fruit. The bushes don't take much care or room and a mature plant can provide 12 pounds of berries. Minimal pruning is required; just keep a good pine needle mulch around them and you're ready to go. Blueberries are a great Mustachian fruit to grow at home because they're so expensive, healthy, and WAY tastier than store bought berries.

On Tuesday we extracted between 150-200 lbs of honey but that required a bit more work throughout the year haha.

Fireball

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Re: Blueberries
« Reply #1 on: July 29, 2016, 10:31:13 AM »
Wow. That's a lot of blueberries. Where are you located? How old are your blueberry bushes? I've dabbled in blueberries and have considered cranking up my operation, but not sure I'm in the best growing region for them.

bobechs

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Re: Blueberries
« Reply #2 on: July 29, 2016, 10:31:25 AM »
How about birds?  Got birds?


pachnik

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Re: Blueberries
« Reply #3 on: July 29, 2016, 10:31:42 AM »
I was actually thinking of getting a few blueberry plants for our front yard next year.   I haven't done any research on this yet so I was wondering if I could pick your brains.  What type of blueberry plants did you get? 

Thanks.

Pachnik

PS I live in Vancouver, B.C.  Not sure where you are.


Turnbull

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Re: Blueberries
« Reply #4 on: July 29, 2016, 10:42:46 AM »
We're in Tennessee (zone 7A) so we use rabbiteye varieties like Climax, Tifblue, Powderblue, Brightwell, and a few others I can't remember. These would not be applicable to Vancouver. The bushes are about four years old now and there was no transition in the production from last year. We were only able to freeze a few gallons last year and then they just exploded this year.

We haven't had any trouble with birds eating them. I'd always heard that about blueberries and that nets were recommended but we planted so many bushes it wasn't going to be practical for us so we just took our chances. A friend that has some bushes said he always just picks first thing in the morning and that that had always seemed to work for him. The birds and/or squirrels obviously are getting some though because we have found some volunteers in our woods that I have transplanted. I added about 17 or so of those to our orchard this past winter.

Turnbull

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Re: Blueberries
« Reply #5 on: July 29, 2016, 10:46:44 AM »
I was actually thinking of getting a few blueberry plants for our front yard next year.   I haven't done any research on this yet so I was wondering if I could pick your brains.  What type of blueberry plants did you get? 

Thanks.

Pachnik

PS I live in Vancouver, B.C.  Not sure where you are.


Whatever varieties you figure out are appropriate for your zone, make sure you plant at least a few different kinds. This is supposed to help with pollination. Also, only plant the bushes in the fall or winter.

dougules

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Re: Blueberries
« Reply #6 on: July 29, 2016, 10:53:54 AM »
We're in Tennessee (zone 7A) so we use rabbiteye varieties like Climax, Tifblue, Powderblue, Brightwell, and a few others I can't remember. These would not be applicable to Vancouver. The bushes are about four years old now and there was no transition in the production from last year. We were only able to freeze a few gallons last year and then they just exploded this year.

We haven't had any trouble with birds eating them. I'd always heard that about blueberries and that nets were recommended but we planted so many bushes it wasn't going to be practical for us so we just took our chances. A friend that has some bushes said he always just picks first thing in the morning and that that had always seemed to work for him. The birds and/or squirrels obviously are getting some though because we have found some volunteers in our woods that I have transplanted. I added about 17 or so of those to our orchard this past winter.

I did have problems with birds.  I think I just need to get around to buying a net until my bushes get big enough to overwhelm the birds. 

That being said I have a huge mulberry tree with berries all over it, and the birds picked it clean, too.   I saw somebody mention on here that partial netting will still help if you can't get to the top of the tree. 

I think both mulberries and blueberries do well because they are both native North American species that are still essentially wild. They can deal with the crazy climate and onslaught of pests. 

I don't know what kind of soil y'all have, but blueberries are very soil finicky.  I've had to put sulfur around them, and it just seems like they have to go through a sickly period before really getting established in my heavy clay. 

Turnbull

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Re: Blueberries
« Reply #7 on: July 29, 2016, 11:48:52 AM »
Our soil is not very good as we live kind of on top of a ridge. It's very rocky so I've been diligent about keeping pine needles around the plants. I've read that blueberry roots don't go very deep so a thick mulch of acidic organic material is the most important thing you can do. It seems to have worked with ours.

A few of the volunteer transplants died but the ones that made it seem to be doing great. They're still small but they were free! I can wait a few years for them to get up to speed.

Lski'stash

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Re: Blueberries
« Reply #8 on: July 29, 2016, 12:51:57 PM »
 I have about 20 lbs of blueberries sitting in my freezer from Upick this summer. You must have one large freezer!

Turnbull

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Re: Blueberries
« Reply #9 on: July 29, 2016, 01:55:48 PM »
I have about 20 lbs of blueberries sitting in my freezer from Upick this summer. You must have one large freezer!

Yes, two big ones in the basement.

terran

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Re: Blueberries
« Reply #10 on: July 29, 2016, 07:32:51 PM »
Wow, that's a lot of blueberries! What is your process for freezing them? Can they go straight in, or do you need to do something to them first?

Turnbull

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Re: Blueberries
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2016, 09:21:42 PM »
Wow, that's a lot of blueberries! What is your process for freezing them? Can they go straight in, or do you need to do something to them first?

We freeze them one or two berries deep on shallow pans for about an hour or two before we bag them. You need to do this so they don't stick together in the bag. Don't wash them until you take them out of the freezer to eat them.

1967mama

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Re: Blueberries
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2016, 10:21:50 PM »
I freeze them right in the 10lb box they come in. They are totally fine. Pachnik, blues do grow great here ... just ask at your local nursery what kinds are good here. Also, sawdust heaped up around the base gives them the right chemical balance, apparently.

ender

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Re: Blueberries
« Reply #13 on: August 01, 2016, 06:15:43 PM »
We're hoping to plant some at our place. Looking forward to it!

zombiehunter

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Re: Blueberries
« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2016, 01:25:53 PM »
How do you keep the soil acidic (if your soil does not naturally have the correct pH) -- just pine needles?

And it sound like you grow tons and tons of bushes.  Do you grow any other types of berries? 

Bumperpuff

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Re: Blueberries
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2016, 05:11:09 PM »
Our soil is not very good as we live kind of on top of a ridge. It's very rocky so I've been diligent about keeping pine needles around the plants. I've read that blueberry roots don't go very deep so a thick mulch of acidic organic material is the most important thing you can do. It seems to have worked with ours.

A few of the volunteer transplants died but the ones that made it seem to be doing great. They're still small but they were free! I can wait a few years for them to get up to speed.

You may want to look into Service berry (AKA shadbush, juneberry, saskatoon) Amelanchier sp. they do well in higher pH soils, taste good, fruit heavily, and are beautiful in the spring.  The main issue is that they aren't as good for cooking, canning, or freezing as blueberries.  You may also want to check out the state extension agencies since will sometimes provide information on small fruit production in your area.

Helvegen

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Re: Blueberries
« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2016, 07:53:41 AM »
I have a container semi-dwarf blueberry bush, Sunshine variety, which is adapted to my climate. It is probably the most problem free plant I have ever owned. This is my third season with it and  it has proven to be very disease resistant and pest resistant. Besides some pruning when it goes dormant for the winter, it requires nothing outside of feeding it once a month during the growing season. It is attractive to every spider on the planet for some reason, but that's great, IMO, besides when I go to pick the berries! For just being a container plant, it is a heavy producer of very sweet blueberries. I have gotten about 7lbs from it this summer and there is probably about a pound left on the bush. The pancakes these babies have made are so delicious and they are really good fresh in my homemade skyr! I put about 4lbs in the freezer.

I am definitely going to pick up another of these next spring at Costco (assuming they carry, but they have for the past few years so...hope!). Renters, if you have patio/balcony space you can have a container blueberry bush! Just look for a dwarf/semi-dwarf variety and make sure it is one that is suitable for your climate. I love mine so, so much.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2016, 07:58:39 AM by Helvegen »

merlin7676

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Re: Blueberries
« Reply #17 on: August 19, 2016, 08:03:43 AM »
That's amazing. I hope to get some container ones for next year.

We have wild Salal and huckleberry bushes so 2 weeks ago we picked a ton of salal berries and canned them. The huckleberries (black and red ones) were starting but most were still small and green so next weekend we'll have ton of those to pick as well.

Plus while blackberry bushes are the bane of my existence (and I still have thorns in my fingers from 2 weeks ago now) lot of free berries to be had there as well just walking around the neighborhood