Real Men Sow

Which Blueberry Bushes to Buy?

Which Blueberry Bushes to Buy?After my recent post about veg that is great for shady places, Mark from the super Vertical Veg commented that he’d found blueberries excellent in partial sun.

This was timely, as payday is on the horizon, and I was pondering treating myself to a nice blueberry bush. Ailsa is half American, and having spent time there as a child, is dead keen on the little blue fruit.

Growing Two Varieties Together
Mark also suggested growing more than one variety together to increase yields, and I decided to mix an early and a late variety. This should hopefully leave me sprinkling blueberries on my morning cereal all summer. However, being a blueberry novice, I needed more help, and turned to the wonders of the World Wide Web.

Acidic Soil
The Grow Your Own Forum
was full of good advice, as usual. The first nugget of info was that blueberries like acidic soil, so growing them in a pot or container is the best idea. A great tip from the forum is to heavily mulch the bushes in pine needles every year.

Early Fruiting Varieties
For the early crop, Duke was recommended for its prolific June cropping, although the fruits were said to be smaller, but given that the bushes are likely to be in my garden rather than the allotment, I preferred the idea of more decorative Patriot and Earliblue. These bushes produce attractive scented white flowers in spring, and a fiery red autumn foliage. Bung them in a nice pot, and it sounds like they’d double up as a pretty feature.

Late Fruiting Varieties
For late fruiters, forum favourites were Darrow, which produces large fruits that are difficult for the blackbirds to nick; and Chandler, another big berried bush.

Over on Twitter, Ozarkblue was heartily recommended by Karl, author of Blackgates Garden World, for its abundant fruits. Karl likes this variety so much, he’s got five bushes!

If I’m feeling like really splashing the cash, I could also squeeze a mid season bush in, like Bluecrop. This is another variety that produces white flowers and colourful foliage.

Where to Buy
Thompson & Morgan stock a full season collection of three bushes in 1.5l containers. They cost £29.99, but I’ll have to wait a year before getting some fruit.

The best tip I got however, was from Michelle, of Veg to Veg. She put me on to the Dorset Blueberry Company, who sell three year old, ready-to-crop bushes at really reasonable prices.

Their website is full of useful tips and information, and if you don’t know exactly what you’re after, you can let them choose the bushes for you. At the moment, two bushes are on offer at £30, with Jennifer Trehane’s new book on blueberries thrown in free for good measure.

After much deliberation, I’m going to plump for the early Patriot, and Ozarkblue for my lates, since it got such a glowing report from Karl.

It could take five or so years (and some TLC) before I get bumper harvests, but fruit bushes and trees are a long term investment. With some luck I will pick a few berries this summer, and of course, being in containers we’ll get to take our bushes with us when we finally get that little smallholding we dream of!

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12 Comments

  1. Tweets that mention Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » Which Blueberry Bushes to Buy -- Topsy.comFebruary 21, 2011 at 10:13 pmReply

    [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Karl Wass, realmensow. realmensow said: New Blog Post: Which Blueberry Bush to Buy: http://www.realmensow.co.uk/?p=469 #allotment #growyourown [...]

  2. Mark WillisFebruary 22, 2011 at 3:07 pmReply

    Just discovered your blog via Blotanical (which I find is a great way of finding new blogs, as opposed to the ones that have been around for ages). I like what I see, and I have to admire your obvious enthusiasm! I’ll be visiting again…

    I have four Blueberry plants growing in pots. They are of at least 3 varieties (one was a no-name freebie), so I get that Summer-long supply you mention (though in modest quantities!)

    • Jono

      JonoFebruary 22, 2011 at 6:23 pmReplyAuthor

      Hi Mark, thanks for introducing yourself. I’m new to Blotanical, but am looking forward to having a poke around and finding some good blogs.

      Since I posted, lots of people have said they’ve got lots of blueberry bushes – beginning to think I’m selling myself short!

      Looking forward to checking out your blog in more detail. The veg garden looks stunning.

  3. EmmaFebruary 23, 2011 at 12:39 pmReply

    If you don’t have acidic soil and have to grow blueberries in pots then you’ll also have to collect rainwater for them as your tap water is very likely to be too alkaline. And they like a constant supply of water – they are not fond of dry roots!

    • Jono

      JonoFebruary 23, 2011 at 1:32 pmReplyAuthor

      Thanks Emma, that’s really useful to know. Time for another water butt!

      An attractive yet efficient water gathering system, now there’s a challenge…

  4. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » My Eight Tastiest Crops on the PlotFebruary 24, 2011 at 4:07 pmReply

    [...] Which Blueberry Bushes to Buy? [...]

  5. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » How Much Money Can Growing My Own Save Me? February UpdateMarch 1, 2011 at 7:22 pmReply

    [...] Which Blueberry Bushes to Buy? [...]

  6. MariaMarch 2, 2011 at 9:00 pmReply

    Hello! I found your blog recently and am enjoying it very much. I was thinking of getting blueberry bushes myself – I liked your mention of the Dorset blueberry company. But I can’t get their website to work – I tried a few days ago and again today. I’m hoping they are still trading as a company, does anyone know? thanks.

    • Jono

      JonoMarch 2, 2011 at 9:58 pmReplyAuthor

      Hi Maria,

      Thanks for your comment. Glad you like the blog!

      I can’t get the Blueberry Company website to load either. They’re part of Trehane Nursery (http://www.trehanenursery.co.uk), which is still up and running. It does say they’re experiencing high demand at the mo though. Trehane are very long established.

      I’ll let you know when my bushes arrive.

  7. MariaMarch 3, 2011 at 12:39 pmReply

    Hi Jono,
    thanks for the reply, and for looking into this! I didn’t know they were part of Trehane Nursery so that’s useful.

    cheers,

  8. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » How Much Money Can Growing Your Own Save Me? June Update (with added massive soft fruit savings)July 7, 2011 at 8:32 pmReply

    [...] providing me with desserts most of the month, the most exciting soft fruit harvest was a puny one. Back in February, I treated myself to some blueberry bushes, and just before I left the handful of berries ripened into that gorgeous purpley-blue colour, [...]

  9. Real Men Sow » Blog Archive » Fruit & Veg Maths and a New Project?July 12, 2011 at 8:35 pmReply

    [...] in the land. My leek and carrot harvests during the winter of 2011 equated to the cost of two new blueberry bushes, and left me enough change for a packet of seeds to replenish the carrot [...]

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meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope.

However, three years on, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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