The blueberry is often called the perfect food. I think it’s on every top ten list of foods we should be eating. Blueberries have a very well deserved reputation for their healthful benefits, being loaded with anti oxidants, high fiber and vitamin C. They’re the perfect addition to pancakes, muffins, smoothies and salads, making them the fruit for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
As a plant they are pretty darn perfect too. They’re a nicely shaped shrub that will last for many years. They flower in the spring, and produce sweet, edible fruit in the summer. After losing their foliage in the fall their bare branches turn a lovely red. There are many varieties of blueberry. Some are compact or dwarf and will readily fit in a pot for your porch, patio or deck. Others are larger and as a group would make an attractive hedge. They enjoy an acid soil, so work well in an environment of rhododendrons or coniferous trees and shrubs. Once blueberries are in season they last on the bush, but are easily picked. They are a handy snack, not as juicy and messy as most berries.
If you’re unfamiliar with blueberries stop in at the nursery and increase your knowledge from the staff or by reading the hang tag on the individual plants. Don’t be intimidated by nurseries; the people who work there are always knowledgeable plant lovers who enjoy sharing their enthusiasm with you. They’ll be happy to direct you to the proper blueberry to fit your environment and needs.
Another way to find blueberries is Craigslist. I’ve typed “blueberries” into ‘search’ and found wonderful 25 year old shrubs bagged and balled and ready to plant. Sometimes people need to thin out or sometimes it’s a nursery going out of business. Whatever the reason, it’s a less expensive way to purchase several older, established plants.
I suggest finding a spot for some blueberry plants this spring. If you’re in a small house or apartment, a large pot will hold a nice compact plant. How lovely would it be to walk out in the morning and pick a few berries for your cereal? If your pot is on your porch, you’ll need to keep your watering can nearby for a daily soaking but you’ll be happy with your harvest.
The only real problem that I can see regarding blueberries is that I think the birds like the little blue orbs as much as we humans. If you experience this problem there are nettings available to drape the plants in as them come into season. To keep you further enticed and eager I offer you this simple smoothie recipe.
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)
6 oz vanilla or plain yogurt
3 Tablespoons orange juice
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 ice cubes