Blueberry Surprise

The surprise for me was learning that blueberries would even grow in California.  About two years ago, I learned about Southern Highbush blueberries, which are a group of blueberries that were bred to grow and produce fruit in mild weather climates such as USDA zone 9.  Southern Highbush Blueberries were developed in Florida.  They include varieties with names such as O’Neal, Misty, Jubilee, Southmoon, and Sunshine.  The one pictured above is a Sunshine bush growing in my yard.  

I added a special acid soil mix to the planting sites and then supplemented with sulfur, because blueberries prefer acidic soil (pH 5.0-6.0).  I planted about 7 bushes.  They produce berries from June through August. They look healthy.   But some of the plants produce a very small harvest (maybe 20-30 berries).  And other plants produce many tiny berries.  

Whenever a heat wave hits, the new growth gets sunburnt and wilts.  Even when the weather is mild, the plants grow very slowly, even though they are getting regular watering from a drip system. Maybe I need to fertilize them more.  

Despite the problems, I think they are a great addition to my garden.  In this area, they are a novelty.  I have never seen them growing in anyone else’s garden in the Bay Area.  Plus, the berries are tasty and are great in pies and on cereal.

July 27 2008 06:18 pm | Blueberries