Blueberry Backyard Growers Conventional Production Articles

Blueberries November 21, 2011 Print Friendly and PDF

The articles listed below are for backyard blueberry growers interested in conventional production.

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Blueberry Economics


Economic Analysis of Producing Southern Highbush Blueberries

Blueberries are a fast-emerging crop with a bright future; however, blueberries, just as other fruits, experience price fluctuations. This price volatility depends on several factors, including the variety produced and sold, locality, aggregate productivity, targeted market and timing.
 

Estimated Cost and Economics for Rabbiteye Blueberries

Rabbiteye blueberry (Vaccinium ashei) is the most important type of blueberry grown in Georgia. Rabbiteye blueberries are relatively high yielding with well-tended field commercial yields in the range of 5,000 to 8,000 pounds/acre typical on well-maintained fields. Fields may remain productive for 30 years or more.

Planning Budgets for Blueberry Production

This report is designed to provide planning data to farmers, research and extension staffs, lending agencies, and other people in agriculture.

Marketing Blueberries

Blueberries may be marketed at roadside stands, at pick-your-own operations, at on-farm sales or at farmer’s markets. There also are well-established wholesale markets for both fresh and frozen blueberries.

Questions to Ask at a Nursery

Blueberry growers who plan to buy plants from nurseries should arrive with a list of questions to ask. This article contains a few questions to help you get started.

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Blueberry Fertilizing


Amount of Liquid Nitrogen for Blueberry Fertilization (Table)

Gives information about how much nitrogen to apply to blueberry crops per acre, both annually and weekly.

Blueberry Fertilization

Fertilizer is usually applied to blueberries in the spring when growth begins and immediately after harvest. The exception to this is when the fertilizer is injected into the irrigation system, in which case, it is done on a weekly basis during the growing season (except during harvest).

Blueberry Fertilization Table

Gives information about how much fertilizer to apply to blueberry crops based on age of plant.

Fertigation

Fertilizer may be applied in liquid form through the irrigation system rather than surface applying dry granular material. This process is known as "fertigation."

Organic Matter Additions for Blueberries

Blueberries require soil with a pH of 4.5 to 5.5. For soils that typically have a low organic matter content, incorporating peat moss or well-decayed pine sawdust or bark will improve plant survival and growth.

Soil pH for Blueberry Plantings

Blueberries require a lower pH than many other fruit and vegetable crops. Before planting blueberries, test the soil to determine the pH level, as well as amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and organic matter present.

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Blueberry Freeze Damage and Protection Measures


Blueberry Freeze Damage and Protection Measures

Commercial blueberries are generally planted in low areas with high organic-matter content. These sites satisfy the cultural requirements of blueberries for a constant and uniform moisture supply.

Small Fruit Freeze Protection Passive or Alternate Methods

This course covers: winter freeze dangers, species sensitivity, methods of protection, spring frost and freeze dangers,as well as methods of protection to use for protecting blueberry crops from freeze damages.

Frost and Freeze Protection for Blueberries

Most rabbiteye blueberry varieties require 400 chill hours to 600 chill hours (hours below 45 F) to break dormancy. Until the cold requirement is achieved, an extended period of warm weather usually will not cause floral budbreak.

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Blueberry Pest Management


Blueberry Disease Management

Blueberry Insect Management

Blueberry Weed Management

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Blueberry Harvest


Postharvest Cooling and Handling of Blueberries

Blueberries are a popular early summer small fruit. Successful blueberry marketing requires that the fruit not only be of very high quality but that it also be properly packaged and thoroughly cooled.

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Blueberry Pollination


Bees, Blueberries and Pollination (Video)

Bob Danka for the USDA/ARS explains the importance of bees for blueberry pollination.

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Blueberry Propagation


Blueberry Propagation

Blueberries usually are propagated from softwood or hardwood cuttings by cutting selected twigs from healthy, disease-free mother plants. Cuttings are placed in propagation beds in a medium that holds moisture well but also allows adequate aeration.

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Blueberry Soil Tests


Collecting a Soil Sample (Video)

Do you know what chemicals or treatments are best for getting your garden or lawn ready for the growing season? In this YouTube video, Julie Treat, horticulturist with the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, shows the proper method for collecting a soil sample.

Instructions for Taking a Soil Test

To get a representative soil sample, follow the steps given in this article.

Soils and Composting: Soil Testing

Plants differ with respect to their soil pH and nutrient needs. Soils vary considerably in their capability to meet a plant’s nutritional needs depending on factors such as soil parent material, soil texture and structure, the amount of organic matter, biological activities, regional climate, and current growing conditions. Taking a soil test and using the recommendations that come with it will help plants receive adequate amounts of nutrients needed for plant growth.

Soil Testing Laboratories

Having soil tests performed by professionals in legitimate laboratories is important for blueberry producers, as producers of other crops. In Guidelines for Choosing a Soil Analytical Laboratory, researchers at the Ohio State University Cooperative Extension Service list considerations one should make when trying to decide where to send soil samples. 

Soil Tests

Knowing the type and amount of nutrients in your soil, could save you, as a blueberry producer, money. To do this, it is important to have your soil tested.

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Blueberry Varieties


Biloxi Blueberry Variety

This variety is recommended for southern areas of Mississippi.

Blueberry Varieties: Rabbiteye

There are many varieties of rabbiteye blueberries. Planting two or more varieties for cross-pollination ensures fruit set and earlier ripening.

Blueberry Varieties: Southern Highbush

A new category of blueberries, Southern Highbush, has been developed for southern production. These varieties combine the late blooming date and shorter ripening period of the northern highbush and the low chill hours and adaptability to the southern environment of the rabbiteye.

Bluecrisp Blueberry Variety

The flesh of the ripe fruit is so firm it has been described as crunchy.

Jubilee Blueberry Variety

Medium-sized fruit with: good color, flavor, firmness, and small picking scar.

Mid- to Late-Season Blueberry Varieties

This article lists several blueberry varieties that produce mid- to late-season.

Misty Blueberry Variety

This variety blooms and ripens about the same time as the Biloxi variety in Mississippi.

O'Neal Blueberry Variety

This variety ripens late April to early May in Mississippi.

Ozarkblue Blueberry Variety

Recommended for planting in the upper part of the South because it requires a period of 800 to 1,000 chill hours.

Pearl River Blueberry Variety

Fruit is firm, medium-sized, good flavor, small scar, and somewhat darker than other cultivars.

Santa Fe Blueberry Variety

Flowers later than rabbiteye and ripens late April in south Mississippi.

Southmoon Blueberry Variety

Fruit is large, firm with a good scar.

Star Blueberry Variety

Fruit is large and easy to harvest because of a concentrated ripening period.

Summit Blueberry Variety

Fruit is firm with large and excellent color, flavor and picking scar.

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This work is supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, New Technologies for Ag Extension project.