Researchers have discovered all sorts of benefits from eating New England’s favorite fruit, including anti-aging properties and improved cardiovascular health. Canned and frozen blueberries from the grocery store taste great and provide some measure of health advantage, but nothing beats fresh berries at the table. Fortunately for gardeners, blueberries are relatively easy to grow.
Blueberries are attractive both while in flowering and fruiting stages. The brilliant autumn colors range from orange, scarlet and red, along with its rugged twiggy form, add to the value of the landscape.
Blueberries need an acid soil (pH 4.5 – 5.5) with a high concentration of organic material to maintain moisture. The home gardener can best supply this necessary humus by adding quantities of peat moss (at least one 10 quart pail or more per plant mixed in thoroughly with the soil at planting. Leaf mold, sawdust (well rotted), or compost are good mulching materials. Set the shrubs from 3-5 feet apart, either as a hedge or landscape planting.
While blueberries do well in partially shady locations, full sun is preferable as the fruit ripens earlier, more evenly and the sugar content will be higher.
Sandy, organic or peat soils loose in texture are preferred although the blueberry plants can be grown in acid clay soils. This may be accomplished by mixing quantities of peat with clay in a hole the size of a bushel and planting the plant in this mixture.