Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Blueberry Delight

I wanted to give you all an update on our blueberry bushes.  All sixteen are still alive and seem to be doing well!  All are showing new growth. The blossoms turned into fruit and the fruit is ripening!

In addition to increasing the acidity of the soil through a couple sulfur treatments (one while planting and the other a few weeks later) and some other tips we're trying out from a blueberry-grower-friend (we'll share more about what we're doing once we know it's working well), Jamey bought some cheap litmus papers that we can test the soil's acidity with.  As of a month ago, the acidity level wasn't quite up to par (par being 4.5 to 5), but over time it will continue to improve.  We'll test the soil again in the spring and see where we are.

As soon as the first couple berries started to ripen, I covered them with bird netting.  It's only a minor inconvenience to lift the netting to pick the berries and pull the weeds.  As the bushes grow taller, netting them will be more of a challenge, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.  An occasional bird has gotten caught in the netting- sometimes we can free it, once one died tangled up in it, and another time I finally freed one and Somersault promptly pounced on it and ate it.  Thanks, kitty (not).

We've had pretty regular rain so far this summer which has been wonderful.  Sometimes, it's not a real soaking rain, so I water the bushes to make sure they get a good dousing every 3-4 days.  I've learned with red raspberries that if the plants don't get good water after the fruit is set, it doesn't ripen properly- instead they shrivel and dry up so I want them watered well.

There might not be many, but they're ours:-).

After lugging 5-gallon buckets over to the bushes a few times, I borrowed the kids' wagon and now wheel my buckets down.  Water is pumped from the cistern at our back door which collects house roof rain water.

The wood chip mulch has been great.  Not only does it keep the moisture in but as it breaks down, it will mimic the forest floor.  This reminds me of the wild blueberries that grew along the edge of the woods in the mountains of Pennsylvania where I picked them growing up at a family cabin.

Also, you may know that if you lay fresh blueberries out in a single layer after picking, they'll ripen up even further.  The wood chips provide a clean landing place for any ripe blueberries that fall off the bush.  The next time I come along to pick, the ones laying on the wood chips are beautifully ripe and clean- perfectly fine to eat.

wineberries and blueberries on cereal

While we're only eating them fresh because our harvest is tiny, here are a few of our favorite blueberry recipes just in case you find yourselves swimming in them....

Fruit Pizza with Lemon Curd
Blueberry Zucchini Bread

I'm pretty sure that those blueberry bushes are the best birthday present I've ever received.  It's funny how what we value changes.  I'm thinking of finding Jamey some dried cow dung to use in his bee smoker for his birthday this year.  Shhh- don't tell him.  He's going to be thrilled:-).
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  1. They are really doing good, I have two bushes and they did not do good this year, I still have them from last year in the freezer.. Have a blessed day.

  2. That last picture is downright cruel!!! Now my mouth is watering and the only berries in our house are frozen strawberries! LOL! Enjoy! They look fabulous. :-)

  3. Love your blog. Curious, did you use plain sulfur of amonium sulfate to amend your soil?

    1. Thanks:-). We used pelletized agricultural sulfur, which we assume is just plain sulfur.


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