previous
  • Using Containers as Elements of a Design
    Using Containers as Elements of a Design
  • Pantone Color of the Year 2014: Radiant Orchid
    Pantone Color of the Year 2014: Radiant Orchid
  • Pick Plants for Fragrance
    Pick Plants for Fragrance
  • 10 Seed-Starting Tips
    10 Seed-Starting Tips
  • Rex Begonias
    Rex Begonias
  • Seed Starting in Speedling Trays
    Seed Starting in Speedling Trays
  • Go Green on the Patio
    Go Green on the Patio
  • Black Plants Done Right
    Black Plants Done Right
  • 10 Combinations for Shade
    10 Combinations for Shade
  • Planting the Right Way
    Planting the Right Way
  • 20 Gardenworthy Self-Sowers
    20 Gardenworthy Self-Sowers
  • 3 Ways to Design with Containers
    3 Ways to Design with Containers
  • Get your FREE Everyday Roses download now!
    Get your FREE Everyday Roses download now!
  • DIY A-Frame Veggie Trellis
    DIY A-Frame Veggie Trellis
  • Building Better Borders
    Building Better Borders
  • How to Grow Mustard
    How to Grow Mustard
  • Homegrown / Homemade
    Homegrown / Homemade
  • Garden Design Basics
    Garden Design Basics
  • NEW Video Series: There's a Better Way
    NEW Video Series: There's a Better Way
  • Plant Finder: Spring Plants
    Plant Finder: Spring Plants
  • Bold and Beautiful Zinnias
    Bold and Beautiful Zinnias
  • Indoor Seed Starting Materials List
    Indoor Seed Starting Materials List
next

How to Plant Blueberries

Length: 5:34

Welcome to Homegrown/Homemade, a video series from FineGardening.com and our sister site FineCooking.com. We'll be following a gardener (Danielle Sherry) and a cook (Sarah Breckenridge) as they plant, maintain, harvest, store, and prepare food crops. Now that the peas, arugula, and potatoes are planted, they turn their attention to blueberries.

Episode 1: How to Plant Blueberries
Unlike typical garden crops, blueberries are perennial shrubs, and once they mature, they will grow and produce fruit each season. They are valuable landscape plants as well: In spring, they are covered with whte blooms, berries ripen in summer, and the leaves turn red in the fall.

Plant blueberries at least 4 feet apart, to allow them space to grow. Dig a hole at least twice as wide as the root ball, but no deeper than the container the shrub is in. After setting the shrub in the hole, backfill with a mix of peat moss and topsoil. Blueberries thrive in acidic soil, and the peat moss (or a sprinkling of sulfur) will keep the pH at the proper level. Then mulch, and water frequently until the plants establish themselves.

Episode 2: How to Care for Blueberries
Give newly planted blueberry bushes a few weeks to get over transplant shock, then offer them a side dressing of fertilizer formulated for acid-loving plants. Spread the fertilizer in a shallow trench 18 inches away from the crown, cover, and water well. As the berries form, watch for the first sign of ripening: a blue tinge. That's the time to set out netting to protect your crop from birds.

Episode 3: How to Harvest Blueberries
The trickiest part of harvesting blueberries is knowing when they are at peak ripeness. Look closely at each berry; if it still looks reddish, it isn't quite ready. Ripe berries are uniformly blue and plump. Shrunken or shriveled fruit is a sign of mummyberry, a fungal disease. Remove and dispose of affected berries, then mulch in the fall to cover any diseased fruit that has fallen to the ground. Blueberry bushes younger than three years don't need pruning. For older plants, cut one to three of the oldest canes back to the ground. Fruit is produced on younger shoots.

Episode 4: How to Preserve and Store Blueberries: Blueberry Compote
You can preserve blueberries by freezing them. Spread them out on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper, then transfer them to a freezer bag after they freeze solid. No blanching is required. A second way to preserve berries is dehydrating. To dehydrate berries, blanch them briefly in boiling water for about 30 seconds, then dehydrate for about 22 hours. A third way is to prepare a quick refrigerator jam, or compote. Cook the berries 7 or 8 minutes with raw sugar, crème de cassis, lemon juice, and cinnamon. Cool the mixture, then store in the fridge for up to a week. Compote can be used on ice cream, waffles, pancakes, or pound cake. You can also make berry tarts by spooning the mix into prebaked tart shells. If you're feeling decadent, make Blueberry Fool by folding the mixture into whipped cream.

Get the Blueberry Compote recipe on FineCooking.com

Get the Blueberry Fool recipe on FineCooking.com

Recipe: Blueberry Galette
(coming soon) A galette is a quick-to-make rustic pie. Make the crust first (a stand mixer helps), then mold into a round and chill for about 20 minutes to make it easier to handle. Next, roll out the dough into a 13- or 14-inch-diameter circle. Chill again while you prepare the filling: blueberries, sugar, honey, floour, lemon zest, and salt. Spread the filling in the middle of the pastry circle, then fold up the sides. Brush the pastry with egg wash and sprinkle sugar over the top. Bake for about 55 minutes at 350°F.

Get the Blueberry Galette recipe on FineCooking.com

More Homegrown/Homemade videos...

Produced by Danielle Sherry, Sarah Breckenridge, and Robyn Doyon-Aitken. Videography by Gary Junken. Edited by Cari Delahanty