Fruit Garden, Harvest

Blueberries in November

Earlier this year we planted our first blueberry bushes in lovely old bath tubs. I wasn’t expecting much from their first growing year to be honest, but was happily proved wrong.

Two blueberry bushes provided steady pickings throughout summer right through to autumn, enough to keep the blueberry fans of the family satisfied. It’s now November and we’re still picking berries.

I spotted this vintage mini trug recently from one of my favourite online garden shops, with berry picking in mind it’s perfect for the job.

The temperature has really dropped during the day and nights are chilly, the bushes are just starting to display their beautiful autumnal colour in patches. I’m so pleased we introduced blueberries to our kitchen garden, if you’re interested in growing them too take a look at our growing guide post https://thegardensmallholder.wordpress.com/2017/03/12/blueberries-in-tubs/ for helpful information to keep them happy.

Fruit Garden, Grow Your Own Guides

Blueberries in Tubs

No matter how much growing space you have, sometimes you just have to use containers. Blueberries require an acid soil and our soil doesn’t quite cut the mustard, so to keep our little blueberry bushes happy I planted them into old galvanised bath tubs filled with ericaceous compost and placed them in a sheltered spot on top of a wide gravel path. This should provide perfect conditions for them.

Blueberries also require plenty of water, containers are notorious for drying out quickly during prolonged dry weather but we’re hopeful the size of the bath tubs and they fact they’re non-porous will be beneficial. However, blueberries are shallow-rooted and can dry out quickly so we need to make sure we water regularly during warm weather. We plan to use a mulch of pine leafmould to help retain moisture (we have an endless supply here thanks to the enormous pine trees that shade our chicken runs) and use water from the water butts to keep them happy.

Blueberries are usually part or fully self-pollinating but it’s better to grow two rather than just one as cross-pollinated plants tend to produce larger fruit. To ensure reliable, heavier yields try growing more than one variety. At the moment we have ornamental variety ‘Hortblue Petite’, a high bush (Vaccinium corymbosum) but a more compact version. We’re on the look out to add another variety soon.

Reading this back we realise how much pampering they require but it’s got to be worth it for the end result. Fingers crossed for our first picking of blueberries this year, we’re not expecting great things yet but excited just the same.