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Blueberry in the cottage garden

Many people, who have a cottage, decide to plant blueberry bushes. The plants are not difficult to cultivate, but it is important to meet several conditions and to prepare for them in order to achieve satisfactory results.

Blueberry high (the U.S.) comes from the North America. Bushes grow to 2 m (6 ½ ft) high and 2.5 meters wide.

Adult shrubs of blueberry high (U.S.)
Yields of 3 - 7 kg ( 6.6 lbs-15 lbs) can be achieved from the bush (of course, it depends on the variety and condition of the plants). The fruit is spherical, flat, black or violet color, with a blue coating and a large diameter of 10 to 25 mm (4/10- to 1 inch). The fruit tastes like black berries, ripens from mid-July (early variety) and by the end of September (late variety). Most varieties of blueberry high are self pollinating, but higher yields are achieved thanks to cross pollination. Therefore, one should plant a few different varieties in the cottage garden. Blueberries require light soil, warm, with a high content of humus, with a very low pH. The optimal acidity of the soil is 3.5 - 4.5.
pH meter Heliga - a simple but functional instrument
When choosing a place to plant blueberries you should look for a sunny and sheltered place. Shrubs should be planted in groups, not in rows along the fence. A very good place in a garden is an acid area, near rhododendrons, azaleas and heathers, because all these plants have similar requirements. When selecting varieties you should choose at least a few bushes of varieties which have different ripening times. In this way, it is possible to ensure the harvest of fruit for the maximum length of time. For amateur cultivation, the following varieties are very good: Earliblue, Spartan, Patriot, Bluejay. The best variety from the middle ripening time is Bluecrop, but equally worthy are varieties, such as Bluegold, Berkeley, Sierra and Brigitta. From the late varieties are recommended: Herbert, Darrow, Nelson, Lateblue, Elliot.

After selecting the varieties and locations, you must prepare the ground for planting the shrubs. If the parcel is located in a forest near coniferous trees, blueberries would thrive there. There is much more preparation on a parcel where the soil is fertile, compacted, clayey or loamy.

A place for the blueberry seedlings
In the first case, you dig a hole with a diameter of about 50-60cm ( 20-24 inches) and a depth of about 30-40cm ( 12-16 inches), and fill half of it with a mixture of acid peat, minced pine bark and some earth. Then you plant the bush, which should be carefully watered before removing from the pot.

If the soil in the parcel is heavy and loamy, you need to use something like a large pot buried in the ground. A hole should be dug and covered with foil. In the bottom you make a few small holes, which will be used to get rid of the excess rainwater. The interior of the hole should be filled with the same mixture of acid peat with pine bark.

When you place the plants in the hole, fill the empty space between the bush and the banks of the hole with the rest of the mixture which was prepared earlier. After planting, do not tread the ground around the blueberry. It should be intensively watered.

In the year of planting the shrub , you should remove flowers and small, thin shoots located at the base part of the plant. Avoid shortening strong, not branched, one-year old shoots. During the growing season, blueberry requires regular watering. Blueberry has a shallow root system which grows just below the flat surface of the soil. Such a root system on light soil can cause the plants to dry out.. Therefore, it is important to water it regularly. Blueberry is most sensitive to water shortages during the intensive spring growth and during the ripening of the fruit. During this time, watering can be combined with fertilizing. Using a table spoon of ammonium sulfate in 10 liters (2.6 gallons) of water used for irrigation, will provide blueberries with sufficient nitrogen fertilization, even when applyied every 2 weeks.

Azofoski, polifoski or other fertilizers without calcium used once during the autumn can provide phosphorus and potassium fertilization. Those who wish to avoid the selection of individual components can buy the fertilizer.... for blueberries (3g 1/10 oz)/ young bush, 15g(1/2 oz)/ mature bush). After planting it is very desirable to provide cover around the plants. The best material for this purpose is shredded pine bark. Amateur cultivation does not require any chemical protection. Even if you occasionally have some pests, they can be collected and destroyed, and their possible presence does not influence either the growth of the plants, nor the quality of the crop.

Blueberry bush – signs of gangrene of the shoots
Proper maintenance of shrubs prevents the occurrence of diseases in an intensity that could have an impact on the growth and yield of plants. If you notice sick shoots -simply cut and burn.
Clearance Cutting of blueberries bushes
In early spring, before the growth starts, you should cut the shrubs.

In the case of young plants, we remove only the ends of shoots damaged by frost, and low-lying shoots, touching the ground. When bushes are 4 - 5 years old, we begin by cutting several twigs to stimulate plant growth and ensure a stable yield (fruit on the remaining shoots will be better).

Maturing fruit of American blueberries
Do not hurry to pick the fruit. Once they have changed color, they will still be ripening for at least 5 days. At that time, the fruit will significantly increase its weight and the sugar content.

Amateur cultivation does not require any chemical protection. Even if you occasionally have some pests, they can be collected and destroyed, and their possible presence does not influence either the growth of plants, or the quality of crops.

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