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The lost plot: Blueberries

Blueberries are a good crop for the smaller garden, since they’re compact in size, full of goodness, and reasonably ornamental.

It’s important to choose the right variety for your area. Rabbit Eye and Southern Highbush are for warmer areas and Northern Highbush for southern parts. Central areas will grow all varieties.

The plants do best in free-draining, acidic but moist soils, and in a sheltered position in full sun.

Most are reasonably tolerant unless the soil is heavy clay – if this is the case, a raised bed should be built.

When planting, dig in lots of organic matter, such as peat or soil taken from under pine trees (beneath the pine needle layer) and add it to the hole, which should be at least twice the size of the root ball.

Most blueberries are at least partially self-fertile but will produce bigger and more consistent crops if cross pollinated, so plant two. Garden centres should be able help with which varieties to put together.

Plant the bushes half a metre apart to grow as an edible hedge, or two metres apart as individual bushes. Mulch thickly around the base of the plants (15cm- 20cm deep), using a mix of sawdust, bark, grass clippings and compost, renewed regularly. Water well when fruit is forming.

First published: Oct 2019