Jessica Damiano is a master gardener and journalist with more than 20 years experience in radio, television, print
Planting: Fall or spring, in a spot sheltered from strong wind. Lowbush blueberries, reputably the tastiest, are low-growing spreading plants; highbush blueberries are upright and can be grown as hedges that reach 6 feet tall. Half-high varieties are hybrids that grow 3 to 4 feet. All require full sun and plenty of air circulation, so be careful not to crowd plants. Blueberries require a lot of water.
pH range: 4.0-5.2 (Plant away from house foundations, walkways and walls, which may leach lime into the soil, raising the pH to unacceptable levels.)
Years until fruit bearing: 3 to 6
Pollination: Most are self-pollinating, but planting two or three different varieties will result in bigger berries and a larger crop.
Pruning: None for the first 5 years. Thereafter, remove old growth and thin as needed in late winter or early spring to allow air to circulate and sunlight to reach the center of the plant.
Fertilizing: Do not apply nitrogen the first year. Treat each plant with 4 ounces of ammonium sulfate in early spring of the second year. Apply a general fertilizer labeled for acid-loving plants annually, immediately after flowering.
Harvest period: July-September
Storage: Blueberries freeze well and remain fresh in the refrigerator for about a week.
Recommended varieties: Earliblue, Duke, Patriot, Bluecrop, Blueray, Northcountry, Northblue, Bluegold, Darrow, Elliott, Nelson