Book Preview and a Free Giveaway

*** Win a free copy of A Gardener’s Guide to Blueberries by leaving a comment below***

 

Frequent readers of this blog already know I think highbush blueberry shrubs (Vaccinium corymbosum) should be grown in every garden. OK, every garden in zones 3 – 10, where they are hardy. The reason is simple, they offer something for every gardener no matter what your gardening focus.

 

Blueberries – A Jack of all Trades

Are you looking to attract birds to your garden?  Plant a blueberry bush. How about butterflies? Here in Connecticut, blueberries are a host plant for spring and summer azure as well as striped hairstreak and Henry’s elfin butterflies, to name just a few.

Are deer a problem in your garden?  Good news, Vaccinium is deer-resistant. Perhaps you’d prefer to plant a shrub that is native or has intense fall color. Blueberries are native to most of the eastern US and their foliage turns brilliant shades of red in the fall. And of course, if you are interested in growing edibles you definitely need a few blueberries in your garden.

The Ins & Outs of Growing Blueberries

Last year, as part of the Garden Designers Roundtable topic on Underutilized Plants I wrote about blueberries in a my post entitled A 4-Season Beauty with a Bonus. That’s when I first met the folks at Fall Creek Farm and Nursery, one of the leading producers of blueberry nursery stock in the world. They were so helpful, answering questions and providing many of the photos I used in my post.

A few weeks ago I got an email from Fall Creek about a new guide they had written called A Gardener’s Guide to Blueberries. They asked if I would like a copy to preview on my blog and I jumped at the chance. Then I asked if they would agree to give away a free copy of the guide to one of my readers (yes, that’s you) and they agreed.  In fact, they generously agreed to give away multiple copies!

 If you’re like me, the first question you probably have about this pocket guide for growing blueberries is whether or not it’s basically just a bunch of propaganda for Fall Creek. I’m pleased to report it is not. 

Yes, there are a few references to their website and a short paragraph about the company in the back of the book but all in all, A Gardener’s Guide to Blueberries is chock full of helpful hints. And even a few recipes.

The guide includes tips on planting, fertilizing and watering blueberries. Did you know that if you have hard water you should add some household vinegar to your watering can every once in a while?

I knew that having more than one variety of Vaccinium corymbosum would result in a better harvest but I didn’t realize they could be planted as far apart as 100′. That little tidbit opens up a bunch of options for designing with blueberries.

For many gardeners, one of the most confusing aspects of growing blueberries is proper pruning. The guide has a series of photos that show you, step by step, how to prune and what your shrub should look like after you’re done. There is also a troubleshooting Q & A section that addresses some of the issues you may encounter with your blueberries.

If you’re interested in getting your own copy of A Gardener’s Guide to Blueberries don’t leave without leaving a comment. I’ll draw a few random winners on Friday, July 29th and then Fall Creek will send you your guide. Good luck!

 

*** Win a free copy of A Gardener’s Guide to Blueberries by leaving a comment below***

 

19 thoughts on “Book Preview and a Free Giveaway

  1. OOOOH!! I want to win! Even as a landscape designer I still have questions about how best to grow blueberries. They love my naturally acidic soil and are related to my native huckleberries.

  2. I had no idea the two varieties could be plant 100′ apart – that is great information. I would love to read more…

  3. I would love to grow them , not only because I love to eat them but because I love the three season interest that the shrub offers. This book would definately increase my chances at success with them. Thanks, John

  4. Blueberries are possibly my favorite fruit! Ours are planted in an area that have become too shady – I need to move them this autumn. The make fine companions to my conifers with their spring flowers, summer fruit (that the birds usually get before we do) and fall foliage color.

  5. I’ve been considering planting blueberries since last year but still haven’t gotten around to purchasing any. Part of the issue is where to put them. I knew they needed multiples to flower but like you, had no idea they could be grown so far apart. Great advice.

  6. I grow ‘Northblue’ and they produced heavily the first years and are fully self fertile. My soil is acid, but I added lots and lots of peat moss when these were planted four years ago.

    But the leaves always drop in Sept. and so I get little fall color. They get some kind of leaf spot disease each year. Treating them means I can’t eat the fruit, so I’ve tried to leave them alone, and limit overhead watering.

    This year they did not fruit. They bloomed beautifully and the leaves look ok but no fruit resulted.

    So between the lack of fruit and lack of fall color, I’m not really getting the 4 season interest!

    • Sorry you’re having some issues with your blueberries Laurrie. I spoke with one of the experts on our research team and he said leaf spot is most often caused by long, wet periods and sometimes by overhead irrigation. This past couple of years have been pretty wet in the late winter and spring in many parts of the country. Not much we can do about that! However, he did say that often people will find that drip irrigation helps solve the problem.

      As for the lack of fruit, the number one issue is lack of pruning. Be sure to prune annually in the winter. We recommend pruning out 1/2 to 1/3rd of all the old, discolored wood. I know it seems like a lot but try it. You want the new upright canes to remain. Our Gardener’s Guide gives a great photo series that illustrates just how much you need to prune out. It seems counterintuitive but trust us – it makes a huge difference in fruit production the next year. So prune away!

  7. What a fantastic way to promote such a valuable native fruiting shrub. I’m looking to update beds in the front of the house now that they are in full sun. Blueberry is one of the natives I’m seriously considering. I planted a few small shrubs elsewhere but they have never really taken off, yet the low and high bush blueberries that were here when we started clearing 14 years ago, and I”ve protected from mechanical demise, are doing great. Their autumn color is my favorite.

  8. Here in the south, our native blueberry bushes are referred to as ‘huckleberries’. While the berries are smaller than the nursery varieties, they are also sweeter with a slight hint of vanilla.
    Like Joene, I appreciate the beauty of these hardy natives. The tiny, pink, bell shaped blossoms that cover the bushes in early spring make it a beautiful addition to a garden bed or border.
    How sad that so many of these natives are cut down or uprooted by new homeowners unaware of their value!

  9. This looks like a wonderful little book! I impulsively planted 3 blueberries this spring (knowing full well I should have tested the soil first) and the leaves are looking like they are nutrient deficient in some way… You’d think I’d know better but I was so excited. I will now test soil amend and plant more next year!

  10. I have 5 bushes but only one has really taken off. This was thefirst year i got to sample a few berries; usually, the birds get ‘em first.

    would love to read the book

    • Try some bird netting Fern. It helps a lot!

      Another recommendation – When you plant new, small blueberry plants, it’s really ideal to remove all the flowers the first year. It’s hard to do, I know, but it will result in a larger, fuller plant in the second season which means more abundant fruit.

  11. I’m dictating for my son 2 years old- I’m going to ask him – Do you want to help daddy plant blueblerries… Here is his answer: I likee da booey-booey i ya help daddee wato da booey booey n I watch em grow tall nd i pick dem mommy wash dem i eat dem yay I dance booey booey dance yay!

    • Tell your two year old that booey-booeys like him too! They are one of the healthiest foods he can eat. Tell him my kids like to freeze them and eat them frozen….like little mini-popsicles!

  12. Thanks everyone for all your great questions and comments. We love seeing what home gardeners have to say about blueberries. Congratulations to those who will win a copy of our charming little handbook – A Gardener’s Guide To Blueberries. You can also buy them at many local garden centers and order them online at Amazon for only $4.99. E-readers are available from many sources too. You can find all the details here:

    http://www.fallcreeknursery.com/gardeners/gardeners_gardeners-guide

    We’ve heard from some people that they buy a guide and a blueberry plant and give as gifts. We love that idea!

  13. Bummer that I missed this. Any chance of another “winner” being picked in August or Sept? ;O)

    I try to plant as many edibles in my garden as possible.

    But most of all, I try to encourage my grandchildren who live in TN to do so also. This has paid off over the years with purchasing books, seeds and plants for them.

    My daughter and son-in-law have serious health issues and the children who are 17, 15 and 10 and are home schooled, now take care of the farm and garden. I use to help out financially, but now have cancer also.

    This year, I took them thornless blackberries from my garden, Last year, I took them black currant bushes that I started from cuttings. I have tried cuttings from my blueberries, but have not been successful.

    My granddaughter and grandson built a greenhouse as a school project. They are interested in buying a couple of bushes. Any help with a good buying source would be appreciated.

    Thanks

    Babe

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