Of all the backyard berries, blueberries are the most particular, but most would agree they’re worth the fuss. There are many different varieties of blueberries, but I have found that it’s best to consider height and harvest time. Depending on where you plant them in your landscape, you may prefer a low-growing variety, lowbush blueberries, or the varieties you typically encounter at your favorite u-pick farm, the highbush variety. Some people choose to plant one variety that produces ripe fruit early in the summer and another that produces in the fall, for an extended harvest.
The key is to plant at least two blueberry bushes for optimum pollination and fruit production. Blueberries can also be planted in containers. Whether you plant them in the ground or in a pot, it’s also wise to think about putting up netting to deter the birds — unless you are willing to share!
Blueberries are very particular when it comes to soil. Besides being well-draining, the soil should be high in organic matter and should be acidic (pH between 4.5 and 5.5). Soil with a pH that is too high (too alkaline) is the most common problem gardeners have when growing blueberries. When it comes to growing these berries, a soil test would be a good first step. Alternatively, if you just want to get them in the ground and see how it goes — which is something I’ve done many times — mix some peat moss, which is naturally acidic organic matter, into the hole when planting.
You can buy an abundance of plants without breaking the bank by catching early plant sales at local nurseries. Raintree Nursery, a nursery in Vancouver known for its fruit trees and shrubs, is a valuable online resource with an incredible selection of berries. Don’t be afraid to have them shipped — they are delivered healthy and happy, right to your doorstep!