Grow your own Blueberries - Nov 12, 2008

The other day my mother was telling me how she had heard that a certain fruit could help prevent Alzheimer's disease. She couldn't remember what the name of the fruit was so it may be too late to help her. Scientists have discovered that Blueberries don't just taste great but they are good for you too. Blueberries are long lived easy to grow shrubs that can produce up to 5kg of sweet tasting berries every Summer. A 125 gram punnet of Blueberries costs $6.95 so a mature plant can produce $280.00 worth of fruit. A Blueberry plant costs under $15.00 so it could be the best investment you ever make.

Blueberries grow best in a sunny position and they love organic rich soil. They will also grow beautifully in a large pot so you can take it with you if you move house. Dig cow manure or planting compost into the soil before planting. Mulch around the base of your plant with sugarcane. This will add more organic matter to the soil as it breaks down and help keep the soil acid which blueberries love. In Spring your plant will have pinkie white flowers followed by berries. The berries turn blue before they ripe and then start to gain flavour and increase in size. The fruit will ripen progressively over 5 or 6 weeks. Eat the berries as they ripen they are as sweet as lollies but much better for you. Fruiting Blueberry plants are available in your local garden centre now.

Tim Pickles is a horticulturist and director of Tim's Garden Centre 2 Queen St Campbelltown 46267022.