Blueberries are very difficult to grow. In fact only 16% of all land in Ontario is suitable for growing blueberries.
The first thing to consider is the acidity of the soil. Blueberries require soil that has a ph factor between 4.5 5.5. This is first and foremost. They also require high organic matter, low nutrients, irrigation and good air drainage. When planting, we dig a three foot hole, fill with wet peat moss and then place in a two year whip. In order to ensure that the ph level remains acidic we add a slow releasing agri sulfur throughout the season.
At present, our blueberries have no known pest problems, with the exception of the birds (mainly robins and cedar waxwings). These birds are kept under control by having predator birds (mainly hawks and falcons ) brought into monitor the patch. The predator birds are there mainly to establish territory before the other birds take over the patch. Since having the hawks and falcons we have been able to reduce the loss of fruit from 25% down to about 5%. These predator birds have been hand raised and trained. In training these birds, they are taught to come to meat, therefore they do not kill either the robins or the cedar waxwings.
Because we have no other pest problems, our blueberries are pesticide and fungicide free. They require only light fertilization and weed control. Annual pruning in the winter to remove any winter damaged wood and the addition of sawdust in the fall are the only cultural practices required once the plants are established. The addition of sawdust in the fall is to provide protection for the roots, to add nutrients and to help retain moisture.
The Highbush cultivated blueberry plant will grow to a height of five to seven feet, depending on the variety and will continue to be in production for approximately 25 years. The different varieties of blueberries allow us to extend our season up to five weeks. While each variety of blueberry has slightly different characteristics they are all sweet if allowed to remain on the bushes until fully ripe. The main difference in the varieties is the time of the season that they available.