You can do this!
With the cooler temp's and with the excitement of preparing for next Spring, consider planting some blueberry plants...right now!
Blueberries require little space and are very easy to care for.
So here are a few things you need to do and then you can anxiously wait for spring.
If you want to grow blueberries, you should choose a variety that is best for your area and climate.
Here in the Georgia mountains I grow Legacy (Northern Highbush variety) and Brightwell, along with Powder Blue. (Rabbiteye variety).
Right now, my Legacy leaves are a beautiful reddish color and they retain their leaves throughout most of the year. They are a Fall delight in the garden.
The Brightwell and Powder Blue plants are Rabbiteye variety are more heat tolerant than all other blueberry varieties, but less cold hardy. Here in North Georgia they do beautifully. Rabbiteye blueberries are also the most vigorous and most productive type of blueberry. In fact, rabbiteye blueberry plants can reach heights of over 20 feet when left unpruned. We keep our trimmed down.
If you're not sure what variety to plant, your county's Agriculture Extension Agent should have information on varieties suitable for your area.
Choose a sunny spot to grow your blueberries. Blueberry plants require full sun to produce a good crop. Blueberry bushes need to grow in moist, acidic soil with a pH between 4.0 and 5.0. Before planting blueberry bushes, the soil should be tested to determine its pH. Your county Ag Extension Agent can help you with soil testing also. If the pH is above 5.0, apply granular soil sulphur to acidify it, following the application rates on the package. If the soil pH is below 4.0 apply ground dolomitic limestone to sweeten it a bit.
For optimal blueberry growing, the soil should be kept moist but not soggy. If the soil in your backyard does not drain well, consider creating a raised bed for your blueberries.
Here in the north Georgia mountains we prepare the soil in our nursery bed with a mix of half sand and half peat moss for our new plants. We first put down a layer of wood chips or leaves, then fill in with the peat/sand soil mixture.
Your nursery plants should be bare root plants (this is how we begin our nursery beds).
When shopping online for blueberry plants to order, ask for bare root plants.
Fall and early spring are the best times to plant blueberry bear root bushes in all climate zones.
Blueberry nurseries commonly will only ship blueberry plant while they are in dormancy (October – April ). Some blueberry nurseries will only ship bare root plants in the spring (February – May) while they are still in dormancy.
When you plant bear root plants in the Fall planting season, the root system of your plant will continue to grow until temperatures drop below 45 degrees. Soak the roots of dormant, bare-root plants in water for approximately an hour before planting..
If you cannot plant your plants in November, as I am doing, don't sweat it.
You can always plant in the Winter planting season of February-March, or as soon as the soil can be worked when planting bare-root plants.
After your bare root plants have grown in the nursery bed through the Spring, Summer and Fall months, they are now ready to be moved to a pot with the same soil preparation as mentioned above.
Our nursery plants are placed into pots for resale. You can also place yours in a large pot and begin a container garden. Whether in a pot or planted on the property, they will give you years of enjoyment!
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