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The beautiful blueberry bush is the perfect addition to gardens of any size as it thrives in pots and a harvest is easy to achieve, even for the laziest of gardeners. In the Summer the reward for just a little care and attention will be deliciously sweet blueberries, picked from your own bush. As well as being exceedingly tasty, the fruits are very high in antioxidants and vitamins. Throughout the Autumn and Winter blazing yellow, red and pink displays of foliage will brighten up the barest of gardens.
The heaviest crops can be achieved in acid soils, so if acid-loving Heather or Camellia do not thrive in your garden then your best option is container-growing in pots of well-drained ericaceous compost. If you have acidic soil in your garden plant the bush into the ground bewteen December and March in a sunny or partially shady position. The best soil to use when growing blueberry bushes is ericaceous compost which can easily be bought from your local garden centre.
Blueberry plants love to be fed with a high potash fertiliser such as liquid tomato feed, and adding sand, peat and leaf mould will improve the size and quality of your harvest. A blueberry bush is hardy enough to survive a British Winter but exceptionally low temperatures combined with damp conditions can be damaging. Hessian or straw can be used to protect the roots from very deep frosts.
Blueberry bushes require little maintenance and will certainly not require pruning for the first few years of growth. Too vigorous or careless pruning could result in a poor harvest so if you do want to prune then it is best to do so in March- when fat buds will form. Clip branches above these buds because fruit and flowers will form from these.
In Summer when the fruits begin to swell, ensure that the plants are kept well-watered, preferably with rainwater. It's important to protect the bushes with netting to prevent peckish birds stealing your tasty fruits. Fruits are ripe and ready to pick when they are large, deep-purple and can be pulled easily from the branches.
Whilst blueberries are delicious when eaten solely on their own they can also be put to great use in many deserts. We found this fantastic recipe from Housetohome.co.uk for English sparkling wine and blueberry jelly with lavender cream.
The fruit should ripen in mid-winter. They are fully ripe when they turn black and drop off the tree, but equally they can be picked when green.