Are blueberry plants worth growing?

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  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 15,230
    I started off my blueberries in pots as the Belgian garden had deep, fertile but alkaline loam.   They did very well until the year our holidays coincided witha Belgian heatwave and our neighbours' daughter didn't understand the need for deep watering.  I came home to find both crispy.   Buckets of water followed to soak them thoroughly and then a haircut to remove all the driest twigs?

    I then dug a big hole in the veggie plot - 60cms deep and wide by 120cm long.  Filled it with ericaceous compost, planted the blueberries and watered with sequestrine then a chipped bark mulch.   They recovered and grew very well, tho they did need a wind break in winter as they were then exposed to cold winter gales.   Needed netting tho so I could get the fruit before the birds.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • RedSquirrelAbroadRedSquirrelAbroad Brussels Posts: 58
    The fruit is large too... anyone know if you can propagate bilberries from cuttings??   :D
    Well you certainly can blueberries so you'd stand a good chance, I'd have thought.

    Quite a lot of plants that are described as acid lovers are actually lime haters. they'll grow in less acidic soil as long as there's no lime (rhodos and some azaleas, definitely). So you may be able to grow blueberries in the ground WE, if there's not too much cement/gypsum left in the rubble.

    I grow mine in the ground - I picked a good bowlful of berries twice a week for 2 months or so last summer from 2 bushes (one early season and one mid). I was giving them away to the neighbours for a couple of weeks in July.

    I have to confess I hadn't heard of bilberries, so I looked them up and found this on Wiki - says they are hard to grow but doesn't explain further. I haven't seen them here in Belgium, but will keep an eye out for them. They obviously like it in Sweden:

    Wikipedia: Bilberries are found in acidic, nutrient-poor soils throughout the temperate and subarctic regions of the world. They are difficult to grow and the fruit is small, so they are seldom cultivated. Fruits are mostly collected from wild plants growing on publicly accessible lands throughout northern and central Europe, where they are plentiful – for example, up to a fifth (17–21%) of the land area of Sweden contains bilberry bushes.

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 15,230
    Bilberries grow wild on Lancashire moors so I grew up with them - great flavour and very blue tongue after a bilberry pie or crumble.   Blueberries are their fatter American cousins and insipid in flavour by comparison tho, when I can find them, dried blueberries make decent muffins and cakes.

    In Belgium, I grew two different varieties to improve cropping and they were OK straight off the plant but needed to be eaten fresh or muffin'd straight away.  The ones from shops cost a fortune and are prettier than they are tasty.   Frozen are better IMHO.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • RedSquirrelAbroadRedSquirrelAbroad Brussels Posts: 58
    Obelixx said:
    Bilberries grow wild on Lancashire moors so I grew up with them - great flavour and very blue tongue after a bilberry pie or crumble.   Blueberries are their fatter American cousins and insipid in flavour by comparison tho, when I can find them, dried blueberries make decent muffins and cakes.

    In Belgium, I grew two different varieties to improve cropping and they were OK straight off the plant but needed to be eaten fresh or muffin'd straight away.  The ones from shops cost a fortune and are prettier than they are tasty.   Frozen are better IMHO.
    I've never really liked shop bought blueberries, as you say the taste is often insipid. I find the currants do really well here, we had a great harvest from redcurrant bushes that were here already, and this year I've add a blackcurrant and a raspberry bush, plus I grow strawberries, so I am very much looking forward to home-made summer pudding this summer!
  • RedSquirrelAbroadRedSquirrelAbroad Brussels Posts: 58
    PS As my Dad is from Lancashire, I will ask him about bilberries.
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 15,230
    Always had bumper crops of black and redcurrants in Belgium and autumn raspberries as they did better than the summer ones.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • RedSquirrelAbroadRedSquirrelAbroad Brussels Posts: 58
     Obelixx said:
    Always had bumper crops of black and redcurrants in Belgium and autumn raspberries as they did better than the summer ones.
    Excellent, as I chose an autumn raspberry! Space is limited, so just the one.
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 2,720
    I am in SE UK, had 3 in pots an early mid and late, lost one last year in the hot dry summer, at 2 years old, they gave a very good crop, especially the Darrow, right into October.
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