Blueberries are fantastic fruits that are not only incredibly tasty but are also jam-packed with antioxidants. Because of this, you might decide to plant a blueberry bush and are probably wondering when blueberry bushes produce fruit. So, carry on reading to find out when blueberries are in season.
Blueberries only grow on blueberry bushes that are at least two to three years of age. In addition, the type of blueberry bush planted determines when the fruit will be in season. Some types of blueberry bushes produce fruit once a year, and others produce fruit twice a year.
When Are Blueberries Ripe
If you planted a blueberry bush, you might notice that the bush grows slowly, and it may not seem like there is much progress from year to year. However, do not fret. Although it may seem like the plant is not growing, the blueberry bush is slowly establishing itself to produce healthy fruit. Slow and steady wins the race.
Blueberry bushes start producing a fair amount of fruit from 2 to 3 years of age. And if you are wondering when the plant will reach mature age? It will take a blueberry bush about 8 to 10 years to reach a mature size. However, production is often reached after six years of age – although this is dependant on the type of blueberry bush.
Blueberries are typically harvested in the summer months in the Northern hemisphere; however, depending on the location and variety of the plant, blueberries can ripen from the spring to summer months.
The peak production season of blueberries makes them a popular summer treat; from blueberry smoothies to blueberry pies, these summer fruits are a favourite among many. Although blueberries are harvested in the warmer seasons, the month of July can be viewed as the peak of the blueberry season since midseason blueberries of all varieties start to ripen.
In the Southern hemisphere, harvesting months are opposite to those of the Northern hemisphere. Therefore, in the Southern hemisphere, blueberries ripen during the Southern hemisphere’s spring and summer.
As one hemisphere is typically in season and the other out of season during any one time, demand for the product is often experienced. This demand for blueberries provides an opportunity to export blueberries to in-demand countries, allowing for healthy economic growth.
When To Plant Blueberry Bushes
Depending on the type of blueberry bush and your location, you can plant blueberries in spring or late fall. However, to speed up the process, consider purchasing a blueberry bush that is already 2-3 years of age. These bushes can be bought bare root or in containers. However, make sure to purchase from reputable nurseries or websites.
In addition, fall or early spring is the recommended season to plant blueberries, although, in many regions, blueberries can be planted all year round. When planting blueberries, many factors need to be considered — for instance, the soil where the plant is to be planted.
Because the blueberry is a shallow-rooted plant, some soil requirements need to be met. Firstly, the perfect soil for this type of plant can hold moisture, drains well and does not stay wet. So try to refrain from planting blueberries in clayey soil.
When deciding where to plant your crop, try to choose a location that has exposure to sunlight. Although blueberries can tolerate some amounts of shade, too much shade will derail the growth of your blueberries. In addition, you should never plant blueberries near trees.
Trees block out too much sun and can even interfere with the air movement surrounding that area. Furthermore, the blueberry bush and trees will find themselves competing for nutrients and water in the same space – not a very fun cohabitation.
Once you have located a suitable area, you are ready to plant. If you decide to plant more than one blueberry bush, it is best to plant them in a patch about 3 feet apart. If your variety of blueberries grow larger than three feet, increase the space between the plants.
Once the first season arrives, pluck off the crop to promote further growth of your blueberry bush. This is because growing fruit requires energy that is often taken away from the development of the plant.
Therefore, plucking off the first seasons crop can help establish the blueberry bush. You can harvest the fruit sparingly in the second season, but it still may be a good idea to pluck off half the crop to promote growth. A sufficient crop will not arise until the second or third year, as the shrub will mature enough to produce a sufficient crop.
How To Pick Blueberries
Luckily, there isn’t any real science to picking blueberries. It is super simple to do, and you should have a basket of blueberries in no time!
Although it is tempting to pick the berries as soon as you see them, keep in mind that some varieties of blueberries do not ripen after being picked. Also, the longer you leave the blueberries on the bush, the fuller and sweet they become – yum.
When you have decided to harvest the berries, bring a basket or container to place the picked blueberries in. Using your thumb, gently roll the berries into your hand and then place them into the bucket. If the blueberries are ripe, they should fall into your hand with no need for tugging.
How To Store Blueberries
Once you have brought your blueberries into the house, rifle through them to make sure there isn’t a bad one in the bunch. And when I say ‘bad one’, I certainly mean blueberries with signs of mould, as mouldy blueberries can quickly spoil the rest of your freshly picked fruit.
After you are in the all-clear, refrigerate them. If you decide to rinse your blueberries before refrigerating, run the entire blueberry batch under cool water in a colander. Then place the blueberries on paper towelettes to dry.
Finally, roll them around to make sure there are no traces of water. This step is vitally important, as moisture promotes bacterial growth. Therefore, it is crucial to have your blueberries dry before placing them in the refrigerator.
Afterwards, place the blueberries in a breathable container lined with a paper towel. Then put into the regrator. The blueberries should last anywhere between 7-10 days.
If you would like to freeze the berries, place the dried berries on a rimmed baking sheet and cover with foil or plastic wrap. Freeze overnight. Afterwards, transfer the blueberries into a freezer bag and freeze. The blueberries should be kept in the freezer for no more than six to eight months.