How to grow blueberries

It isn’t as easy as you’d think!

The blueberry is a flowering shrub that produces nutritious berries. Blueberries are small, around 5-16 millimetres (0.2-0.6 inches) in diameter, and have a flared crown at the end. They are green in colour at first, then change to red, then blue-purple as they ripen. They require an acid soil to grow, our soil is naturally acid here, and we add mulched pine prunings and organic manure in winter to keep them healthy, with no chemical fertilizer or non-organic additives. The acid soil inhibits insects and spiders, and so no sprays or insecticides are needed or used.

The bushes don’t like their roots in water and they die if too dry, so we have a sophisticated drip-though irrigation system using natural rainwater from our lake, all monitored by our farm manager, Alex, and our staff.

The great irrigation system and enriched soil means we also grow great weeds, so much weeding is necessary, and also extensive pruning, which we do in January. We retain the best 5 branches, cutting back to 1 metre or less, and cutting off any additional ones. The only major loss of berries is to local birds (and the occasional passing hiker!).

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