Blueberry bushes thrive in the poor, rocky soil that often is found in the Catskill Mountains of New York state. Once established, the plant flourishes with little care. The small fruit, with its distinctive crown at one end, is a familiar addition to muffins, pies, jellies and jams. The phytochemicals naturally occurring in blueberries could help fight cardiovascular disease and metabolic syndrome, according to a University of Michigan Cardiovascular Center study. Combined with a low-fat diet, they may even aid weight loss. Start with healthy bushes purchased at your nursery or garden center.
Check the soil acidity with a pH meter, a soil testing kit or by sending a sample to an extension office. Blueberries need soil with a pH of 4.5 to 5.1. Add acidity to the soil if necessary by digging composted oak leaves, pine needles or peat moss into the earth. Add wood ashes or ground calcite limestone if the soil is too alkaline.
Plant blueberry bushes in the spring where they can get full sun.
Space planting rows 8 to 10 feet apart and keep the blueberry plants in those rows 5 to 6 feet apart.
Dig a hole the same depth and twice as wide as the pot your blueberry bush came in. Remove the bush from the pot, gently loosen the root ball and put the plant in the hole. Fill the hole half full with water and top it off with a soil-compost mixture. Water the plant and the surrounding soil for three to four minutes, or until the top of the soil is saturated.
Mulch the base of the plant with old sawdust, decomposed leaves, black plastic sheeting or commercially available products. This helps the plant retain moisture and reduces competition from weeds.
Water the bush thoroughly for the first month and during dry stretches. Saturate the soil to a depth of about 3 inches every other day for the first month, unless it rains three or more times a week, in which case watering won't be necessary.
Fertilize the blueberry plant after one month with 1 oz. of a 20 percent nitrogen fertilizer per bush. Increase the amount of nitrogen yearly until it reaches 5 oz. as the plant grows.