Guide to Growing Blueberries
These are becoming increasingly popular in this country, both for growing in gardens and simply for buying and eating the fruit.
Botanically, the blueberry is Vaccinium corymbosum, aericaceous shrub. The heather-like flowers are seen in April/ May and are followed by the larger than black currant-sized berries. They are very popular in America.
Their only vice, if such it can be called, is that they require rather strange growing conditions. The soil must always be moist, but at the same time free draining. However, the important point is that it must have a pH in the range of 4-5.5, very acid. These conditions usually prevail in sandy areas, but the snag here is that the sand quickly dries out.
On chalky or limey soils, the only answer is to create raised acid borders. The bushes grow to about 5ft (1.5m) and cross-pollination, if not necessary, is desirable. Failing all that, grow the things in large pots containing ericaceous compost. It works a treat.
In, plant the bushes 5ft (1.5m) apart but, if the soil is poor; 4ft (1.2m) is usually enough. Good varieties include Earliblue, Goldtraube, Jersey, Bluecrop, Nui (an exceptional variety) and Sunshine Blue (semi-dwarf and also excellent).