by Ken Lain, the mountain gardener
July is National Blueberry Month, and also the month to add new blueberry plants to mountain gardens.
Blueberry plants bring many attractive stages to a landscape. They are beautiful blue-foliaged plants with stunning bell-shaped flowers each spring that bear yummy, tasty berries in the summer, followed with gorgeous fall color. What more could you want from a landscape plant?
Blueberries are fruits rich in antioxidants that enhance memory, aid anti-aging, and improve vision. Mainly, home-grown berries are money saving fruits that just taste better than store bought!
Plant blueberries in a full to partial sun spot in your garden. They love acidic soil so when you plant, use a 50/50 mixture of Watters Potting Soil and native earth. Plant bushes about 4 feet apart. The planting hole should be twice the width and depth of the grower’s pot.
Place the plant in the hole and fill around the rootball with the soil mix. The top of the root should be even with the surrounding earth. Firmly tamp the loose soil around the roots to eliminate the possibility of air pockets.
Water the newly planted blueberry thoroughly with a mixture of Watters liquid ‘Root & Grow‘. This will reduce transplant shock and stimulate new root formation. The more roots under the plant, the more fruits next spring.
Feed newly planted bushes by sprinkling the top of the planting soil with Watters 7-4-4 ‘All Purpose Food.’
If you are planting blueberries in a container use 100% Watters Potting Soil, not the blend of native soil.
It’s hard to resist trying young blueberries once you see them beginning to turn blue, but you’ll want to wait until they are fully ripe before harvesting. If the berries still are a red or pinkish color, they aren’t quite ready to pick. Once they appear plump and evenly blue they are ready to eat. Fruiting blueberry plants will produce handfuls of their delicious fruits all summer.
It’s easy to preserve blueberries. Simply seal them in freezer bags and keep them frozen until needed.
From topping breakfast cereal and lunchtime salads to enriching afternoon smoothies, and for blueberry cobbler at dessert, blueberries are good for almost every meal of the day!
Gardening Class – Held in the comfort of Watters’ greenhouse, classes begin at 9:30 every Saturday morning and are free of charge. These are the topics for classes in July:
July 8 – Containers that Bloom like Crazy!
July 15 – Attract Birds & Bees & Butterflies
July 22 – Perennial Flowers with Impressive Blooms
July 29 – Easy Grow Roses
Take a look at the entire summer class lineup .
Until next week, I’ll be helping local gardeners choose the perfect blueberries here at Watters Garden Center.