Growing blueberries

Blueberries will only grow in areas with cold winters, as they need a long period of cold weather during dormancy. If the temperature is too warm, they won’t develop fruit. However, newer varieties are being developed that don’t require such a long cold dormancy period. Here’s what you need to know about growing blueberries.

growing blueberries

Planting pointers

Blueberries need full sun and acid soil (pH4–5). They’ll also benefit from soil that’s rich in organic matter. As they have a shallow root system, they don’t like a fluctuation in moisture levels; keeping the surface well mulched will help maintain consistent moisture.

READ MORE: Growing blackberries and raspberries

Growing tips

Fruit is produced on the side shoots of year-old canes during December and January. Every year (either after harvest or during winter, depending on the variety), cut out the older, non-productive canes, pruning the whole bush back by about one third. This will encourage productivity and prevent the centre from becoming congested and blocking air circulation.

READ MORE: Growing Cape gooseberries

In the kitchen

Known as a super food, blueberries are very high in antioxidants, making them one of the healthiest fresh fruits to eat. They’re best eaten raw or lightly cooked in a pie or crumble. They make excellent toppings for various desserts such as pancakes and cheesecake.