All types of blueberries grow best in fast-draining, slightly acidic soil. This is critical to successfully grow blueberries, as their roots need air. Clay soils will not do if you want a big harvest.
Thankfully, they can be grown in raised beds — this allows for better control over soil conditions.
Not only do blueberries require fast-draining soil that is rich in organic matter, they also require a soil pH of between 5 and 6. This can be easily monitored with test papers.
And after planting, blueberries appreciate a nice layer of mulch over their roots.
In field trials in our area, it was determined the best way to water blueberries is through a drip system. They responded well to receiving a good watering every other day.
When I am asked what varieties do best in our area, I find it difficult to give a definitive answer. Field trials are ongoing, and there are many types being tested. I do know that more than one variety should be planted to best achieve pollination.
Varieties showing early promise in our climate are Chandler, Ozark blue, reveille and misty. There are other good ones as well, and the southern highbush types seem to perform best here.
Blueberries are lovely planted along a fence line, a permanent crop that can bring years of healthy and delicious fruit. But like all plants, blueberries can attract pests — birds will love your berries, but often the biggest berry thieves are of the two-legged variety.
• UC Certified Master Gardeners are available to answer your gardening questions Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon at 953-6112. Questions for Heather can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org.