Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Blueberries!

As you know, we have 2 Blueberry bushes inside our fruit cage. They are about 4 years old and produce enough for us to snack on and occasionally bake with. Blueberries are acid loving plants but our soil is alkaline. For their first 2 years they were grown in supposedly acid based soil (the kind you buy for rhododendrons, azalea's and heathers). I tested this soil at the end of last year and guess what, it wasn't particularly acidic.

So taking the bull by the horns - so to speak - we decided to risk growing them in our soil. Last year (their first in our soil) they looked decidedly sick, pale etc. It was so wet they produced little fruit but enough. I also pruned them incorrectly to keep them manageable but know I know how to do it correctly. This year, having been fed seaweed as well as iron based feed designed to keep hydrangea's blue rather than pink, they are looking much healthier. They have cropped better but have not produced a particularly heavy or large berried crop.

In the west of the county of Norfolk, just outside King's Lynn, at Fairgreen, there is a blueberry farm, where their soil is acidic. This morning, we went to pick some ready to freeze for winter. Here is where they are Blueberry Farm

We picked 2 punnet's (we took one up for DS. & FDiL.), which weighed in total 2 1/4 kg, at a cost of £10.95 - they are £5 for a 1kg if you pick them or £7 per punnet if ready picked. You can also pick by the bucket. I think we were there for around 1/2 an hour. 500g in Tesco, sells at £3.75, organic ones even more. That amount in the shops would cost anywhere between £16 and £26, depending on whether they were organic or not.

Size wise, their berries - on the left - are huge compared to mine and slightly sweeter, but if baking with, we don't mind our more acidic ones.


17 comments:

  1. Thanks for the link to the blueberry farm! Just up the road for me- I will give it a visit. We had two blueberries planted in ericacious compost and they did nothing at all- we gave up!

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    1. I gather they can be tricky but, fingers crossed, we hope we have got on top of how to grow them. Certainly emptying our used tea leaves on them seemed to help.

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  2. Hi.
    We have this big blueberries here in Sweden too,but I don't by them!
    It should be nomalsized.
    I got really bad to my stomach 2years ago when I try the big ones.
    Never again! :(
    have a nice day,and take a look at my frugal blog :)

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    1. Had a look at your blog. Please don't feel you have to write in just English. If you look at Hilde's blog http://granheim2.blogspot.co.uk/, she writes in her native language then English underneath. I think the big blueberries are grown reasonably naturally on this farm but we only go there every few years.

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  3. Blimey, they are expensive little things, we had a bush in a pot once ( to give it the right soil) it got smaller instead of bigger so I gave up on it. Shan't bother again.

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    1. Which ones are expensive, the bought ones or ours? Wasn't sure which you are referring to? We should get around 1 - 2 kg in total off both our bushes if lucky. We thought the bought ones a little expensive but not as much as buying that amount in the supermarket. You are right though, they can be a right royal pain to grow!

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  4. Compared to my crop you have done amazingly well, I'll post a photo on my Blog .... get ready to laugh!!

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    1. Well, eventually they did well but we weren't sure they would. The smell of the flowers is heavenly, worth growing just for that!

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  5. We were in Kings Lynn this weekend, and I did see the signs. They are closed on Sunday, and was tempted, but no room in the freezer and hubby not keen either, so did not bother. I did pop out between the showers and foraged a pot of blackberries though!

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    1. I think they said they are open until the end of September in case you are passing and do need some.

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  6. We have never grown Blueberries but I love them. I do try to buy them if on offer as part of Aldi super 6 or if on a reduced sticker. I freeze them and use them in muffins.

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    1. We have fresh blueberries on our porridge every morning this time of year (we eat porridge for breakfast all year round!), then frozen ones or other frozen fruit in winter.

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  7. I got to the supermarket jut at the right time yesterday. They had just put the blueberries on half price. I got 8lbs for $8.00, I think that's about 5 British pounds. I didn't have any room in the freezer so I decided to can/bottle them. I got 12 pint/250ml jars and a few left over for snacking. In the winter 2 jars will make a nice pie or crumble.

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    1. That looks then, as though your half priced blueberries, when full price, would be about the same as ours picked at this farm. Shop prices are very much higher. My 2nd blueberry bush is just beginning to ripen.

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  8. HA! Dc I have been to that very PYO farm on many occasions and come away with baskets of beautiful, burgeoning blueberries. Delish, and the like of which I could never grow for myself. (Though good on you for persevering with yours.)

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    1. They are good from the farm aren't they, so much bigger, juicier and sweeter than those in the shops. I shall keep persevering, they only cost me £5 each a few years ago and have more than paid for themselves in that time.

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