Blueberries are a nutritious fruit that are also a good source of fiber. They can be used to make jams, jellies, pies and even made into juice. Growing blueberries in your home garden is a relatively easy process once you've done a little preparation. Keep in mind, however, that although blueberry plants will begin producing fruit by their third season, they do not become fully productive until their sixth season.
Choose a planting site for the blueberry plants. For best results, select an area with maximum sunshine.
Have a soil test performed on the planting area three to four months before your anticipated planting date. Blueberry plants require a soil pH of between 4 and 4.5. Contact your local agriculture extension office to inquire about a soil test.
Amend the soil in the planting area as indicated by the results of the soil test. For rabbiteye varieties, amend the soil if test results indicate the soil pH is above 5.3. For highbush varieties, amend the soil if pH is above 5.0. For sandy soils, spread out 2.5 cups of wettable sulfur (90% S) for each 100 square feet of planting area. Use 5 cups for every 100 square feet if the soil is heavy or clay-like.
Create planting rows for highbush varieties that are 3 to 4 feet wide and spaced between 8 and 10 feet apart. For rabbiteye varieties, create 3- to 4-foot-wide rows spaced 10 to 12 feet apart. Dig planting holes 18 inches wide by 18 inches deep and spaced 5 feet apart.
Set a blueberry plant into one of the planting holes so the top of the root system sits at the same level in the soil as it was previously growing, if you plan on using mulch. Plant the blueberry 1 to 2 inches lower than it was currently growing if you do not plant on using mulch.
Fill soil into the planting hole, firming it down with your feet as you go. Water each blueberry plant using a slow stream of water so it can soak down to the roots.
Care of Blueberries
Cut back the blueberry plant to approximately one-third, if planting bare-root blueberry plants, or cut back to one-half if planting container-grown plants.
Spread a 3- to 4-inch layer of pine chips, bark or sawdust for a mulch around each blueberry plant.
Fertilize each of the blueberry plants once the first set of leaves is established and growing. Apply 1 tbsp. of 12-12-12 or 10-10-10 azalea fertilizer around each plant. Keep the fertilizer approximately 12 inches away from each stem.
Water each of the blueberry plants with a minimum of 1 to 2 inches every week starting in September.
Cut out old, dead growth and diseased or damaged canes in winter once the blueberry plants have become established.