Bilberry leaves and berries are popular in alternative medicine, often used for their astringent and antibiotic benefits. The berries are tasty in cooking, too. They add a burst of flavor to pies, muffins and ice cream, and they're used for making wine.
Plant bilberry seeds in a greenhouse in late winter. Don't bury the seeds---cover them with a dusting of peat moss soil. Plant the seedlings in the garden in late spring or early summer, after the danger of frost.
Choose a planting area that receives full sun to light shade. Bilberries like acidic, loamy soil that's been amended with compost so it drains well.
Keep the soil moist, but don't overwater or you may get root rot. Water from the bottom so the leaves and stems stay dry. Fertilize during spring and summer to keep the soil pH around 5.0. (Soil test kits are available at nurseries.)
Harvest bilberries as they ripen, usually from mid-summer to early fall.