BLUEBERRIES are one of the hottest trends in home fruit growing, Australia-wide.
Dubbed a super food, they’re abundant in health benefits and easy to grow for the home gardener.
Dawson’s Garden World offers low-chill varieties well suited to Perth.
Charlie Dawson’s preferred variety is Sunshine Blue as one of the most reliable and productive.
Below, he shares his tips and knowledge for people wanting to grow them at home.
1. Pot them
Blueberries thrive when grown in pots. Use a premium potting mix and feed them with a long-term slow release fertiliser.
Blueberries have a shallow root system and appreciate moist soils, so regular watering is required over the warmer months. The aim is to provide consistent levels of moisture.
2. Place in full sun to light and semi-shaded conditions
It’s not unusual for some leaves to burn in very hot conditions.
They begin fruiting from an early age – one to two years – and provide 20 years or more of tasty fruit. Fruit mainly matures over December and January and occasionally later. Handpick the individual fruits while growing in clusters; they will mature at different times. Once the berries have changed to a deep blue-black colour, the darker the better, they are ready to harvest.
4. Planting them in the ground
They require quite acidic soils, preferably PH four to five, so growing them in Perth’s limey sands can be tricky.
To grow them in the ground, blueberries need the same sort of soil prep as azaleas and camellias.
Blend an organic soil improver and pine fines thoroughly with your garden soil at the rate of one-part soil improver, one-part pine fines with two-parts of soil.
Blend about 20 grams of slow release fertiliser into the backfill soil at planting time.
The addition of soil wetting agents and a good thick layer of pine-based mulch will also be beneficial. They are best fertilised in late winter and summer.