Blueberry 2018 Report
Blueberry Age: 3rdyear first harvest
Location: The Sacramento valley near the Feather River. Zone 10
Varieties: Sunshine Blue, Emerald, Jewel, Sharp Blue, O’Neal, South Moon, Reveille, Jubilee
These blueberries are planted on a raised bed mostly for esthetics as they do not need to be planted on a raised bed under our soil conditions. We have a sandy loam that drains very well. This means we need to water them more frequently for shorter periods of time because blueberry plants have a very shallow root system. I have a row cover and pine bark to help keep the moisture in around the plants. The pine bark also helps keep the moisture in the ground for longer and add to the acidity.
I have had to replant 3 plants thus far. 2 Sunshine Blue and an O’Neal. Not sure why these plants did not make it other than there was suspicious gopher activity.
No obvious disease or issues during 3rdyear observed. There was a small issue with wilted berries that did not ripen on a couple of branches, but leaves looked ok. Will look closer into this later.
Most plants in this area remain evergreens despite reports that they should be otherwise. Meaning all of them kept their leaves although a few lost more leaves than others.
First Blueberries harvested on May 13, 2018. These varieties were O’ Neal and South Moon. Also our two top performing varieties
As of mid June (14th) the weather has hit 100 degrees several times this year, once in May and several 99 degree days this week. I continue to water them till the ground is saturated daily. I have not notice any problems with the heat thus far but over all this summer has had more cool days than normal.
Before planting this soil was prepared several years in advanced. One year I solarized the soil to keep out the weeds and one year I acidified it. Doing so takes a year to break down do its thing, so it is necessary to wait a year before planting if you go this route.
I have five rows of blueberries, so this report will go by Row with a photo for each.
Row 1– Sunshine Blue-Ripening best in mid June. Good size with a couple handfuls of berries off most plants. A tasty tiny bit acidic berry with out the strong blueberry flavor. This plant is an evenly bushy plant and is supposed to be an evergreen. Most of the berries are on the under side of the plant.
Row 2– Emerald-These are very large berries. There were not a lot of berries but huge. The plant was also quite bushy and green. Very pretty. They came ripe just after row 4 and as of mid June are still coming ripe.
Row 2– (back half) Jewel- These are very tasty but as of yet are very few. Good blueberry flavor and medium to large in size. Plant is not as bushy. It is on the shorter side so far. These plants are still ripening as of mid June.
Row 3– Sharp Blue This plant is a beautiful bushy plant with very few berries on it. The berries that are on it are hidden on the very bottom of the plant. Sharp Blue has a good size (large) berry. Living up to it’s name it has a bit of a sharp or acidic flavor to it. But at times can be similar to emerald. Maybe they need to sit on the plant longer.
Row 4– South Moon- and O’ Neal – I alternated these two plants because I read that they were good buddies. I think it was a great decision based on the outcome of this year. These two plants have a lot in common so I will review them together. Both had the highest output of blueberries per plant varieties. Both had excellent flavor and both where mid size. As of mid June they are done producing. They started first in mid May. The plants are relatively small. I had to replant the last O’ Neal plant but the rest looked great. So far these are my favorites for flavor and output.
Row 5– Reveille- These are sporadic bushes that flow everywhere. As of mid June they are still putting out blueberries, but not a lot. They are right behind row 4 for output. The size varies but tends to run medium. The flavor is amazing and could be one of my favorites. They are super blueberry flavor like with medium acidity. Would like to see these do well.
Row 5– (back half) Jubilee- These plants are also similar to the Reveille in how they grow. A bit sporadic. They put on less then the reveille but are a good flavor still with a medium size blueberry. They are still putting out a few blueberries as of mid June. They are a smaller plant as well thus far.
In April this bird netting was placed over the plants to preempt any birds from even thinking they will get our first crop of blueberries.
If you have any questions regarding our blueberries please don’t hesitate to message me. I am also available on instagram for your viewing pleasure.