Blueberry garden: description, features of cultivation and benefits
What you will not meet in the forest of wild bushes: raspberries, blackberries, blueberries - and each berry is useful in its own way. Considering all the qualities of plants, gardeners try to ennoble and grow delicious forest berries rich in vitamins in their summer cottage. How to grow delicious blueberries and use the plant to decorate the landscape, later in the article.
Where does blueberry grow in nature
In nature, a stunted shrub that discards foliage for the winter grows in marshy areas and easily tolerates cold winters. Wild blueberries can be found in the forests of the northern hemisphere - from California to Alaska, in North America and from Mongolia to Iceland in Eurasia, where the berry multiplies well and gives a good harvest.
Blueberry belongs to the Vereskov family (lingonberries, cranberries, blueberries), loves acidic soils and grows on marshy swamps, often found on the slopes of the mountains. A bush with erect shoots of a dark gray hue and young branches painted in green, does not exceed 1 m in height, and some tall varieties grow up to 2 m. The root system of the plant has no lateral thin roots and is fibrous in structure.
Did you know? More than 20 festivals a year with the presentation and sale of dishes made from blueberries are held in Canada and the USA.
Spring flowering begins on one-year-old branches, collected in several pieces of small flowers with five petals. Soft pink or white whisk resembles a jug, covered with stamens, which can be up to 19 pcs. Fruits have an oblong shape, up to 12 mm long and weigh on average 1 g. Blue berries are covered with a bluish coating with a thin skin. The pulp is dense, has a pale green color.
The weight of the berries of tall American blueberries, in contrast to the undersized species, can reach up to 2.5 g, while up to 10 kg of fruits can be collected from one bush. Replacing black currants in the USA and Canada, tall blueberry hybrids are in great demand because of their indispensable qualities, showing good crop yields.
Blueberries and gonobel are the same or not
As soon as the people do not call the forest shrub - blue grapes, a drunkard, a flower tree, confused with Ledum growing next to blueberries. But the most common name is gonobel. Hearing this name, many are wondering if this plant is the same or has a completely different look.Gonobel is a tall blueberry variety. Fruits on the bush are saturated blue in size and weight more than the forest berries.
The bush looks spectacular in the garden from the moment of flowering to the autumn leaf fall. In its taste and chemical composition it is no different from undersized varieties. If you are offered to buy a gonobel in the garden, do not doubt that this is a tall type of blueberry that will delight you not only with a rich complex of vitamins and minerals, but also give an excellent harvest.
Varieties of varieties
Given the great popularity of berries in North America, the Americans began to select new varieties at the beginning of the 20th century. The genetic material was an ordinary undersized species of blueberries.
Did you know? Blueberry berries of low-growing species have a higher level of antioxidants, which are found in the peel than in tall varieties.
At the moment, the result of the work of breeders in the USA, Scandinavia, Canada are numerous species of blueberries, which can be divided into groups:
- Undersized - the height of the bush is low (up to 0.5 m), the berry is small in size. It has one drawback - the complexity of reproduction and the expensive cost of planting plants.
- Tall northern - varieties have late flowering, withstand harsh, frosty winters. Due to the late flowering period, the berries may not have time to ripen.
- Tall southern - bred from plants growing in the south and crossed with northern species. They tolerate heat well and are grown in the southern regions.
- Half tall - winter-hardy varieties up to 1 m high, do not freeze due to snow shelter.
- Rabbit eye - bushes can grow up to 2.5 m, are unpretentious to the composition of the soil, the berries do not crumble, but the taste qualities are inferior to other groups, have late ripening.
In early May, blueberries begin to bloom. On last year's shoots, 4–5 vegetative buds are formed and white or light pink flowers bloom. The first flowering occurs in 2-3 years after planting a young plant. In the first year, flowering is not plentiful, and in subsequent bushes completely covered with flowers. On one fruit branch there can be up to 40 peduncles.
What does taste like
Blueberries are often confused with blueberries. In color, shape and almost to taste, the aromatic, moderately sweet berry resembles blueberries. Fleshy flesh, with light green juice, tastes a bit sour. Almost, like blueberries, only without a sugary aftertaste.
Planting and caring for blueberries
Knowing about the beneficial properties of fruits, many amateur gardeners practice growing blueberries in their summer cottage. You can plant seedlings in early spring and autumn.
In the spring, choosing a well-lit, sheltered from the wind plot with acidic soil (pH 3.5–4.5), you can start planting:
- The prepared material is planted in a pit with a depth of 50 cm and a diameter of 60 cm.
- To create acidic soil, a mixture of sand, peat, needles, sawdust and 50 g of sulfur are added to the pit. The composition should be loose so as not to damage the fragile roots.
- The roots are neatly distributed over the entire diameter of the pit.
- Sprinkled with earth, deepen the root neck by 3 cm, slightly press down around the bush, watered.
- To preserve moisture, mulch the surface.
When planting seedlings in autumn, follow the rules of spring planting, the only thing that needs to be done at this time is to cut weak branches, and shorten the rest by 50%. This will enable the plant to take root faster and easier to tolerate winter.
Planting blueberries garden and ordinary is no different, the only condition is the distance between the seedlings in the same row:
- undersized varieties - not less than 50 cm;
- srednerosly - up to 100 cm;
- tall - 120 cm.
Important! When warming a bush of blueberries for the winter, do not use sawdust, because the plant can rot due to the heat generated by them.
It is better to buy seedlings in a container with earth. Before landing 10-15 minutes hold in water so that the lump of earth becomes soft and does not damage young roots. The plant does not require special care. Moderate watering, harvesting weeds, pruning old, damaged branches, top dressing - this is the whole list of affairs for the season for caring for blueberries.
Organic fertilizers are best avoided, as they lower the acidity of the soil. Several times during the season you need to loosen the soil, giving oxygen access to the roots. To maintain the required level of acidity, the plant can be watered with a solution of apple cider vinegar (1: 3), and checked with litmus paper.
Blueberries in landscape design: blueberry hedges
Delicate flowering in the spring, blue berries in the summer, red leaves in the fall - blueberries so different for the season can perfectly be used in landscape design. Tall varieties surround the garden plot like a hedge, and stunted plants easily fit in large pots and set the basis for the conceived composition, and a separate plant also looks original.
Soft pink, and in some varieties bright pink, plentifully covered with flowers bushes attract attention in the spring, saturated blue berries hanging on a green background of foliage not only decorate the garden in summer, but also benefit the body, beautiful and autumnal color of the foliage. This suggests that blueberries are a universal plant for design ideas for landscaping.Many gardeners use the plant on the site as a hedge, and planting both low-growing varieties and tall plants. A number of undersized varieties are planted at a distance of up to 0.5 m from each other and have the appearance of a low (up to 1 m) living fence. Tall varieties and a group of rabbit eyes are allowed on trellises. Such a hedge looks spectacular and reaches up to 2–2.5 m in height.
Pests and the fight against them
Like any plant, blueberries are susceptible to diseases and attack by beetles and butterflies, which cause irreparable harm to shoots, leaves, fruits:
- Rose and black-headed leaflet - butterflies harm young plants by laying larvae on the shoot bark for the winter, and in spring, when the sun warms the air, caterpillars actively eating buds and flowers appear. Wrapping a web of young foliage, fold them with a tube, plunging into a state of rest, until a new butterfly flies out.
- Grape pipe drill - a beetle whose young larvae damage the kidneys and foliage.
- Fruit moth - like any butterfly, lays larvae on the kidneys, from which pink caterpillars appear that damage the fruits.
- West May Khrushchev - a beetle eating foliage until it is overgrown with carapace.
- Kidney tick - larvae eat out kidneys in the spring and are carriers of viral diseases.
- Black beet and red blood aphids- are carriers of bacteria and fungal diseases, slow down the growth of a young plant, the fruits become small.
- Single cutter - a black beetle whose larvae feed on roots.
- Commissural shield - insect, larvae feed on the plant sap.
To prevent spring eating by plant pests, autumn-spring prevention will help, but if you do not have time and the bush suffers from caterpillars or beetles, take insect control measures:
- use leaf traps and May horsetail, use light traps, loosening the soil, pruning leaves with a larva laid, or treat the bush with Desant, Atom preparations;
- autumn prophylaxis and spring treatment by Metaphos will help against the pipe-wrench;
- fruit moth is removed by two-stage treatment with Lepidocide and Bitoxibacillin;
- spraying bushes in early spring with copper sulphate will help to cope with a kidney tick;
- from aphids use preparations "Calypso 480" and "BI-58";
- spring treatment of the kidneys by the “Rogor” will not allow the larvae of the solitary scythe to multiply;
- the shoots affected by the scabies are treated with Karbofos or Decis.
Many enemies of blueberries begin to lay larvae in fallen leaves or soil since the fall, so prevention should begin with harvesting the leaves and loosening the soil. Foliage should be burned, and damaged branches trimmed.In early spring, the bushes are treated with copper sulfate, light traps are placed in advance, do not forget to loosen the soil and remove the larvae of insects manually.
Blueberries are the northern berry and can withstand temperatures down to -40 ° C, but all garden varieties need to be prepared for the winter. The first thing to do is to trim the diseased, damaged, and old branches. This will serve as prevention in the fight against pests and diseases, as well as form a bush and increase productivity.
Important! Blueberry bushes, covered with white spanbond for the winter, are protected from strong winds, sunburns and temperature changes in early spring.
Collection and storage of berries
In mid-July, it was time to harvest. Ripe berries are easily removed from the bush, the main thing is to prevent overriding, otherwise the fruits themselves will crumble. For full ripening, after the fruit turns blue, you need to give a couple more days to make the flesh softer and gain weight, only then you can harvest. The berries are sprinkled evenly, and once a week is enough to pick.
At room temperature, the berries quickly deteriorate, so they are immediately placed in the refrigerator, but even there the fruits retain their freshness for no more than two weeks. To keep the crop as long as possible, the berries should be frozen. In this form, they retain their beneficial properties until spring.
Useful properties of blueberries
Considering the chemical composition of blueberries, it becomes clear how much nature has awarded the plant fruits with useful properties.
The berry contains:
- antioxidants (vitamin C) that help the body fight viral and inflammatory diseases;
- Anthocyanins protecting against the formation of cancer cells;
- manganese that lowers blood sugar;
- vitamins B1, B2, PP, provitamin A - improve vascular elasticity;
- amino acids, iron, calcium, phosphorus - are easily absorbed by the body.
Fresh or frozen fruits help with gastrointestinal problems, diabetes mellitus, colds, as a good antipyretic for fever. Long-term use of blueberries helps restore vision. Juice from berries removes radioactive substances, and tincture easily copes with dysentery and diarrhea.
The energy value of the product per 100 g is:
- calories - 57 kcal;
- proteins - 0.74 g;
- fats - 0.33 g;
- carbohydrates - 14.49 g;
- water - 84.21 g;
- ash –– 0.24 g.
Juices, decoctions, tinctures, fresh berries are useful for the body in their chemical content, are used both for disease prevention and during treatment.
No matter how many berries are eaten, you need to remember that everything is good in moderation. There are no particular contraindications when using the product, but those suffering from high stomach acidity and prone to allergies should try the berry carefully. Do not overeat, as a headache or vomiting may occur.
By planting garden blueberries on your site, you will not only saturate the body with the necessary vitamins and take care of your health, but you can also ennoble your site with a beautiful plant. And since the plant is considered a long-lived (can live up to 100 years), it will create a cozy atmosphere in the country for a long time.