All Blueberries are NOT the Same

All Blueberries are NOT the Same

IMG_0984We have the rabbiteye type of blueberries at Long Shot Farms.  We also have some bushes of the southern highbush variety.

The southern highbush variety will become ripe much sooner than the rabbiteye variety.  However most farms produce the rabbiteye variety in Georgia.  This type is indiginous to Georgia and is much easier to grow.  It is also fairly resistant to pests and diseases.

You can not tell the type of the blueberry bush just by looking at it.  In addition, they do not taste very different from each other.  The biggest difference is the timing of the ripening of the berries and the “chill factor” of the berries.  All varieties of blueberries require a certain amount of hours when the temperature is below 45 degees fahrenheit.

The chill hours are the amount of time that blueberry bush needs in dormancy to set fruit.  Without the needed hours, there will be no blueberries for us to enjoy.  Growing blueberries is not very complicated but there are many factors that need to be considered.  They include: 1) variety, 2) chill hours, 3) zone of the area, 4) timing of fruiting, 5) water requirements, and 6) ph of soil.

If you choose the wrong type and variety and less chill hours are required, you stand a chance that the flowers will bloom before the last frost.  If too many chill hours are needed, your area of the country may not get that many hours so the fruit will never set.

Water is a big factor in growing blueberries.  The blueberry plant hates “wet feet”.  Having a plant sit in water is the easiest way to have the roots rot.  On the other hand, if the roots dry out and stay dry, that too will kill the plant.  Too much water when the fruit is ripening will cause the skin of the plant to burst,  In addition, if the berry has too much water content, the taste of the berry will be affected as it will reduce the sweetness of the berries.

All of our berries are irrigated.  We constantly monitor the amount of water the bushes get in order to obtain the best berries possible.  It is a balancing act for us and for all farms that grow blueberries.