Blueberry - a promising berry crop
Blueberries are a rare and promising berry crop in orchards. Blueberries are a source of biologically active substances and vitamins, have anti-zingotic, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, and general strengthening properties. Berries contain vitamins C, E, A, flavonoids, anthocyanins, trace elements - zinc, selenium, copper, manganese, as well as plant hormones - phytoestrogens. By their taste, blueberries resemble a mixture of grapes and blueberries.
Blueberry belongs to the Heather family, the Lingonberry subfamily, the genus Blueberry. It is a deciduous shrub with a height of 0.7 to 2.5 m. By the type of growth, blueberries are divided into low-growing (up to 0.5 m), half-tall (0.7-1.5 m), tall (1.5-2, 5 m) and the "rabbit eye" (over 3.0 m). Of greatest interest when growing are semi-tall blueberries, which are characterized by high productivity and large-fruited, as well as large-fruited low-growing blueberries. Among tall blueberries, the most promising are late ripe large-fruited blueberries with high winter hardiness.
The wide geographical variability of blueberries allows you to choose the variety that is most suitable for cultivation in the region. Most varieties withstand winter temperatures without damage to -27 ° C, some varieties - lowering to 30-40 ° C.
For the cultivation of blueberries, light soils are suitable in composition with an acid reaction of the medium pH 3.8-4.8. At lower acidity, plants show signs of lack of nutrients due to poor digestibility. Soils with an acidity above pH 5 are not suitable for growing blueberries. The humus content in soils should be at the level of 3.5%.
Fruit plantings have a long term of use - more than 50 years, so you should carefully approach the preparation of the planting pit. Blueberries are planted in pre-prepared planting pits 60 * 70 * 50 cm in size, pre-filled with substrate. Four seasons “For blueberries and forest berries” based on peat, complex mineral fertilizer and Agroperlite. Soil Four seasons “For blueberries and wild berries” fully imitates the natural conditions of growth, contains the necessary amount of macro- and microelements and humus. The distance between plants in the row is 0.8-1.0 m, between the rows is 1.5 m. The surface soil layer is covered with a mulching layer of pine bark or larch up to 10 cm high.
Most often planted are biennial seedlings, which in the third year after planting begin to bear fruit. Mass fruiting begins at the age of 6-7 years. Early ripe varieties begin to bear fruit in the first half of July, mid-ripening varieties in the second half, late-ripening varieties in the first half of August. Harvested gradually, as the berries ripen, over 3-4 weeks. After harvesting, loosening is carried out to improve air exchange.
Throughout the season, substrate moisture should be maintained at 40-70%. Particular care should be taken to monitor soil moisture in the second half of summer. A lack of moisture at this time has a negative effect on the growth, maturation and laying of flower buds for the next season.
For the normal growth and development of blueberries, top dressing with macronutrients - nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium is necessary. The preferred methods of application are foliar top dressing or with watering. Phosphoric and potassium fertilizers are most often applied at the beginning of the growing season, in April, randomly with their subsequent embedding to a depth of 3-4 cm and subsequent watering. Nitrogen fertilizers are applied three times: 50% in April, 30% in May and 20% in June. Fertilizers are applied within a radius of 25 cm from the center of the bush. For top dressing it is convenient to use liquid complex mineral fertilizers - Our summer residence “For fruit and berry crops” and Four seasons “Universal”.
Blueberries propagate by semi-lignified cuttings. For rooting, it is optimal to use a substrate based on high peat and Agroperlite. The substrate Four seasons “For blueberries and wild berries” meets the requirements most fully. It is used both for rooting, and for subsequent cultivation in containers.