Blueberry cultivation in Ukraine can most often be observed in amateur gardening. Such a culture is not widespread, due to ignorance of the botanical features and techniques of competent cultivation, as well as an insufficient amount of popular science literature with recommendations for cultivation. Blueberries are known to Ukrainian gardeners under the name "Lohina."
Botanical features of the culture
Blueberry, or Vaccínium uliginósum, refers to a species of deciduous shrubs from the genus Vaccinium and the Heather family. The branching type of a shrub or shrub reaches a height of 35–70 cm. Some species have a creeping stalk. As a rule, the stem part is lignified almost to the crown. In appearance, blueberries have some similarities with blueberries, but they have a lighter stem and a broken receptacle.
The root system of the blueberry is a fibrous type that does not have root hairs. The length of the leaves does not exceed 2.5–3.2 cm. The leaf shape is obovate or oblong. In the autumn period, reddening and falling of foliage is observed. Flowers of small sizes, five-toothed structure, drooping type. Fruits are represented by rounded or rounded elongated blue berries with a characteristic bluish bloom. The flesh of the berry is purple, juicy and tasty. The plant belongs to centenarians and is able to maintain productivity for several decades.
The landing area for the acquired blueberry seedling should be sunny and protected from winds from the north. The place for planting is represented by sandy and sandy loamy soil with a good level of water and air permeability. Blueberries grow best on pre-excavated soils. It is very important that the soil is acidic, with a pH of 3.5–5.0. To facilitate and enrich loamy and clay soils, peat, sawdust or sifted sand should be added. If necessary, adjust the acidity of the soil using forest needles.
Garden blueberries: growing
Tall varieties and varieties of blueberries can be planted both in autumn and in spring. However, in Ukraine, early spring planting of berry culture is most often practiced, even before the stage of active kidney swelling. Preliminary, you should prepare the landing pits with a diameter of 0.8-1.0 m at a depth of 0.4-0.5 m. When digging, it is recommended to make 45-50 g of ammonium sulfate, 18-20 g of potassium sulfate and 55-60 g of superphosphate.
The root system of the berry seedling should be carefully removed from the container and the roots should be carefully distributed over the planting pit. You can not deepen the root neck of the plant, which should be located at the same level with the edges of the planting pit. Immediately after planting, abundant watering and mulching of the soil with sawdust is carried out. In the process of decomposition, organic mulch will serve as an additional source of nutrients for the berry culture, which positively affects not only the overall yield indicators, but also the quality characteristics of the berry.
The best varieties
At present, amateur gardeners have a great opportunity to choose a variety that will meet all the requirements for winter hardiness, endurance, productivity, resistance to diseases and pests and will have the best taste. When choosing, it should be remembered that varieties can be tall, short and medium tall.
|Grade name||Plant description||Berry characteristic||Advantages||disadvantages|
|Chauntecleer, or Chanticleer||Bushes of medium vigor, not more than 1.4–1.6 m in height, straight-growing type||Medium in size, weighing 1.78-1.89 g, light blue in color, with dense flesh and sweet-sour taste||The advantage of the variety is resistance to moniliosis, friendly maturation, transportability and excellent keeping quality||Almost completely absent|
|Berkeley, or Berkley||Tall, sprawling, 1.8–2.1 m high, with strong branching and large leaves of light green color||Medium or large, light blue, with a pleasant sweet taste||Berries do not crack, and frost resistance is −26 ° С||Unsuitable for long-term storage and transportation|
|Bluecrop, or Bluecrop||Vigorous and upright plant, with a height of not more than 1.6−2.0 m||Medium or large size, light blue, with a tart and pleasant taste||High productivity, good level of frost resistance and drought resistance||High susceptibility to shoot damage and the need for enhanced pruning|
|"Duke" or "Duke"||A vigorous and upright plant, 1.5-1.8 m high, with a large number of shoots||Light blue color, with a very pleasant, sweet-sour and slightly tart taste||High productivity, frost resistance up to −33−34 ° С. The variety is self-fertile, with friendly ripening||Needs enhanced cropping and quality drainage|
|Northland, or Northland||Frost-resistant plant, low, but quite powerful and sprawling, with a height of not more than 1.15-1.25 m||Medium-sized, blue, with relative density of sweet pulp||High and stable productivity, storage and transportation||The variety is demanding on conducting competent agricultural technology|
|Elliot, or Elliott||Late-ripe tall variety with vigorous and erect bushes no more than 2 m high||Medium in size, light blue in color, high in anthocyanins and tart taste||High productivity, frost resistance up to −28−29 ° С. Self-fertile variety suitable for transportation and storage||Needs proper and enhanced pruning and use of quality drainage|
|Aurora, or Aurora||Bushes up to 1.55 m high with a wide and slightly spreading crown of an upright type||Aligned in size, average weight up to 1.55 g, light blue, dense and tasty||Very low risk of anthracnosis and moniliosis. Frost resistance is at least −33−34 ° C||To increase the yield and quality of the berry, pollinating varieties should be planted|
A prerequisite for obtaining abundant harvests is the annual mulching of trunks circles with needles or oak foliage. High-quality mulching allows you to save moisture, improve soil acidity and reduces the need to destroy weeds. Standard berry crop care also includes activities such as shallow cultivation and moderate watering.
A year after planting, fertilizing should be carried out in early spring and in the middle of summer with nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium in a ratio of 1: 2: 1. All top dressing is carried out with obligatory plentiful irrigation measures. Each year, the amount of fertilizer applied should be increased by 10-15%. The introduction of organic matter in the form of rotted manure is highly effective.
How to prune blueberries
Pruning of bushes is carried out in the fourth year of life of the berry culture. To protect plants from freezing in the conditions of a snowy and harsh winter, the bushes should be tied with fir spruce branches or covered with non-woven material. When cultivating blueberries, it should be remembered that not all varieties have simultaneous, friendly ripening of the berry, so the harvest is carried out in two or three stages, preventing overriding on the bushes.