Blueberry Plants For Companion Plants For Blueberries
Companion plants are plants that grow well with your other crops or animals. They provide food, shelter, water and protection from predators. Some companion plants include: cacti, herbs (especially mint), vines like ivy, ferns and sedums, shrubs like azaleas and roses, trees such as oak trees and cherry trees etc…
There are many different types of companion plants for blueberries. You may want to consider some of them:
Mint: Mint is one of the most popular companion plants for blueberries. It provides a mild, refreshing taste when eaten fresh. It also helps keep down flies and mosquitoes which cause diseases in blueberry fields.
If you have a small garden, it will help reduce weeds and pests too!
Herbs: Herbs are another very useful companion plant for blueberries. They help protect against insects and disease. They also improve flavor and aroma of berries.
Many herb varieties are available for blueberries, including basil, chives, dill weed, oregano, parsley and thyme.
Vines: Vines are a great way to add shade to your blueberry field. They provide excellent drainage as they absorb rainwater and release it into the soil instead of running off into nearby streams or rivers.
Edible Flowers: Edible flowers can be mixed in with your blueberry crop. They improve the taste and add vibrant colors to your crop! Many edible flowers are also attractive to bees and other pollinators, helping to increase your yield.
Some popular edible flowers for blueberries include: calendula, clovers, goldenrod, lavender and violets.
Shrubs: Large shrubs provide great windbreaks for smaller plants like blueberries. They provide a natural barrier against strong winds which can easily destroy or severely damage young plants. They also provide shelter from the sun, keeping your plants from overheating.
Many shrubs provide berries or nuts for eating as well!
Perennials: Perennials are great long-term crops for your garden. Many of them increase the overall health of the soil and prevent erosion. They are usually quite drought-resistant.
They also provide food and shelter for other animals in the garden, creating a thriving ecosystem!
Trees: Trees provide long-term benefits to your garden. They soak up large amounts of water and release it slowly throughout the day, providing a steady water supply for your plants. Shade trees also keep your blueberries from being destroyed by extreme sun or heat.
They can also be a food source for your family! Some popular trees for blueberry fields include: apple, apricot, cherry, peach, pear, plum and walnut trees.
Grasses and Sedums: Sedums are a type of flowering plant commonly known as stonecrop. It is a drought-resistant ground cover that releases water back into the soil. They are extremely low-maintenance.
Grasses also provide great wind barriers and food sources for wildlife.
Flowers: Some flowers actually attract bees and other beneficial bugs which help your blueberry crop grow better. Some flowers to consider are clover, dandelion, goldenrod, lavender, poppies and wildflowers.
Pesticides and Fertilizers
While these things might seem like a good idea to have a healthier crop and bigger harvest, the long-term effects of using them can be devastating. Many of these products contain harmful chemicals that can leech into the soil and water, poisoning them. Also, some of these chemicals are so strong they can actually kill off helpful insects that pollinate your crop or keep away harmful insects that might want to eat your blueberries!
For these reasons, it is always best to go organic! By using the tips listed above, you should have a healthy and happy blueberry crop with no need for harmful chemicals.
Harvesting Your Blueberries
Once your berries start to ripen, you will have to harvest them for eating and selling. There are several different methods for harvesting your crop: Handpicking: Probably the most popular method, handpicking is exactly what it sounds like. You go into the field and pick the berries by hand.
This is good if you have a small crop and don’t want to mess around with anything too technical. However, if you have a large crop, this will be very time-consuming and take a lot of your time.
Ladders: To avoid climbing up and down a ladder constantly, some people prefer to use carts that are placed underneath the plant. The cart is then dragged to a fixed position, underneath the berry bushes. From there, you can dump out the fruit into a larger container for them to be taken away.
Carts can be bought or made at home.
Wagons: Some blueberry fields are so massive that ladders and carts are impractical to use. In this case, a wagon might be a better solution. A wagon can be pulled through the field to collect the berries.
They can be large as a truck or as small as a cart.
Pruners: For larger fields where handpicking is impractical, it might be better to use pruners or clippers to cut the branches with ripe berries. These branches are then placed in containers for them to be taken away later.
Sources & references used in this article:
Blueberry science. by P Eck – 1988 – cabdirect.org
Improving the wild blueberry. by FV Coville – Improving the wild blueberry., 1937 – cabdirect.org
Blueberry fruit rot caused by Phomopsis vaccinii. by RD Milholland, ME Daykin – Plant Disease, 1983 – cabdirect.org
Root dip treatments for controlling blueberry stem blight caused by Botryosphaeria dothidea in container-grown nursery plants. by WO Cline, RD Milholland – Plant disease, 1992 – cabdirect.org
Postharvest fungi of lowbush blueberry fruit. by DH Lambert – Plant disease, 1990 – cabdirect.org
Differential response of blueberry (Vaccinium) progenies to pH and subsequent use of iron. by JC Brown, AD Draper – Journal of the American Society for …, 1980 – cabdirect.org