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I was just blessed with blueberries. When one of your dearest friends is a berry crop research scientist, sometimes you score the loot after an agricultural trial. Being as that we will be restoring the gardens of this ole homestead and reclaiming the land from the clutches of invasive plants for the foreseeable future, having a windfall of well established, large, healthy blueberries land in my lap, er – pickup bed, is cause for celebration.
In case you are wondering – she’s my friend and NO, you can’t have her too. I am going to be selfish with this source.
How to Plant and Care for Blueberries
Blueberries are an attractive shrub that not only produces delicious fruit but offers visual show throughout the year, making it a perfect shrub to incorporate into your edible landscape. Blueberries thrive with full sun but can handle some dappled afternoon shade. They like rich well-drained soil and will not tolerate boggy conditions. Take note of landscape areas that have a tendency toward standing water and avoid those spots when planting. Blueberries also thrive when the soil pH is a fairly acidic 5.0. This is best achieved by incorporating peat moss or pine sawdust/shavings (pay attention to yellowing leaves and amend with a nitrogen source if needed) into and around the planting hole. Alternately, one can use a fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants like this.
When planting your new blueberry bush it is best to dig a hole about twice as wide as the existing root ball and backfill the area with rich compost. Take care to not plant your bushes deeper than their existing soil line as this will encourage rot. Blueberries are somewhat shallow rooted and should be watered frequently, especially during establishment.
Blueberries are relatively carefree and require little work besides watering and the occasional top dressing of fresh compost after the plants are established. Older plants can be pruned after fruiting to “open up” the inner canopy and promote good circulation. You might find yourself competing with our feathered and flighted friends for the juicy harvest, so you may consider placing some screen or netting over your bushes. For other blueberry care tips see this post from Timber Creek Farm or this post on caring for blueberries grown in containers from Attainable Sustainable.
Now that we have planted our lovely blueberries, it is time to figure out what to do with the blue-tiful bounty (sorry, not sorry – I couldn’t help myself).
My blueberry lavender jam is a real family favorite. The robust flavors blueberry are accented by the floral lavender notes that are perfect ephemeral and not a bit soapy.
Maple syrup is my go-to syrup most months of the year when pancakes and waffles are at the breakfast table, but sometimes nothing but a blueberry syrup like this one from Grow A Good Life will do! Bottle up that deliciousness for a taste of summer during the darker months!
My friend Quinn at Reformation Acres always has the finest pastries, cakes, and pies on her page, and these blueberry scones make me want to show up to her house for breakfast on the daily. Can we just admire these longingly for a second?
I like no fuss desserts just like my friend Colleen at Grow Forage Cook Ferment, and this blueberry cornmeal skillet cake is easy peasy and a total crowd pleaser. The rustic elegance of the cake prepared in cast iron is as aesthetically pleasing as it is pleasing to the palate!
What blueberry recipe compilation would be complete without muffins. Try these blueberry sour cream muffins with lemon for a bit of baking therapy!
There are many ways to put up your blueberry harvest (and you might find some new ideas with this post from the Schneider Peeps), and having a supply of blueberries – frozen or fresh – is absolutely mandatory in my household. So add a few blueberry shrubs to the yard this year and keep yourself busy with all these new ideas!