We love blueberries, and we love growing blueberries. Although it may seem early to be thinking about our favorite fruit, it is one of the most important times for the semi-deciduous varieties to be maintained. Our blueberries have reached a beautiful height of six feet over the last eight years and continue to love acidic soil.
To keep the pH low in the soil (around 4.5), we often add compost and fertilizer in late winter/ early spring. Their bark in winter is a soft, reddish-orange that gives way to similar colored leaves, and their foliage turns completely green with a hint of blue. The flowers are wonderful pale, pinkish-white, bell shaped and will soon be popping and setting to start the fruit-bearing journey.
Once the flowers have set, they give way to the plump bunches at the end of the branches for easy picking. They are handsome spheres with deep indigo color on the outside and a greenish flesh on the inside. Their shape is gorgeous with a slight frost and perfect for eating immediately.
As we admire their growth, we also delight in the beauty of how they make us feel young again every year. In early summer when it’s time to harvest our super food berries, we have to work hard to save some for our delicious baked goods as the desire to eat them all immediately is intuitive. There is a young child in all of us who adores this activity and is the rite of passage into summer.
To quote Bruce Beck’s elegant book Produce: A Fruit and Vegetable Lover’s Guide, “Urbanization is taking its toll, but many adults still count among their fondest memories of childhood the annual raid on the wild strawberry patch”(in our case blueberry patch). “Those of us lucky enough to have indulged in these rites of summer never forgot the greedy gorging and the heroic stamina it took to get some of the bounty home to Mother’s kitchen.”
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