Best Blueberries To Grow In Ontario

Best Blueberries To Grow In Ontario
Edward R. Forte October 22, 2021

Blueberries

Best Blueberries To Grow In Ontario

Agdex#: 235/12 Publication Date: 02/90 Order#: 90-046 Last Reviewed: 06/98 History: Written by: Kevin Schooley - Horticultural Crops Advisor/OMAFRA; Leslie Huffman - Weed Management Advisor/OMAFRA.In addition, the plants provide ornamental value with their delicate white blossoms in the spring and fiery foliage in the autumn.Midwinter temperatures of -29°C to 32°C can severely injure or kill both flower buds and young branches.Lowbush or half-high blueberries (see section on Cultivars) may survive in colder regions which receive adequate and reliable snowfall.Blueberries require acidic, well drained, loose soils with a high organic matter content.Organic matter improves soil aeration and drainage while retaining moisture and nutrients.Blueberries establish better, grow more vigorously and yield more fruit if organic matter is incorporated into the soil prior to planting.Other sources of organic matter include, well-rotted manure, straw, compost, or aged sawdust.Soils which have a pH above 6.5 ,poor drainage, or a clay texture are not suitable for blueberry production.To create a raised bed, replace some of the soil with 8 cm of coarse material such as gravel or crushed stone to provide good drainage.Eradicate all perennial weeds such as quackgrass, bindweed and vetch in the year prior to planting.Sprinkle dry roots with water and place bare-rooted plants in plastic bags before storing.The distance between rows will vary from 1.5 to 3.0 m apart, depending on available space, aisle width desired, and any machinery requirements.Plant the dormant blueberry bushes in early spring as soon as the soil can be worked.Prune any broken roots or branches and set the plants 3 to 5 cm deeper than they were grown in the nursery.Blueberries have a shallow root system which is easily damaged by cultivation or deep hoeing.Mulching the plants with sawdust, wood shavings or clean straw will aid in weed control and help conserve moisture.Grass, such as creeping red fescue, can be planted and allowed to grow between the mulched bands if the sod is mowed regularly.As the plants grow larger, gradually widen the mulched area to 60 cm on each side of the bushes.When deficient in iron, young leaves become pale yellow and stunted, and plant growth is poor.To avoid possible burning of the blueberry roots, delay the sulphur application until one month after applying the fertilizer.The condition of bushes in background gradually improves as the soil pH becomes more acidic and suitable.Blueberries have shallow roots and require a uniform and adequate moisture supply throughout the growing season.A constant moisture supply ensures good plant growth and fruit production.The system slowly adds small amounts of water each day directly to the soil around the base of each plant.After the berries turn completely blue, leave them on the bushes for 3 to 7 days to develop their full flavor and sugar content.Harvested berries should be removed immediately from the sun and can be stored for a week or more in the refrigerator if kept dry.Birds find blueberry fruit very attractive and can eat the entire crop of a small planting if it is not protected.Prune highbush blueberries while the plants are dormant in late winter or early spring after the threat of extremely cold temperatures has passed.Pruning stimulates the plants, causing them to lose some dormancy and increasing their susceptibility to winter injury.Remove any damaged or diseased portions of branches and any weak, spindly growth at the base of the plant.Older bushes require regular annual pruning to produce high yields of large fruit.Any conditions which stimulate growth of the plants late in the season will increase their susceptibility to winter injury.Apply moderate rates of nitrogen early in the spring, avoiding applications beyond June.Make sure the sides are high enough so the rabbits cannot jump over the fence when the snow if fairly deep.If grass is planted between the rows, mow the sod short late in the fall to discourage mice from nesting near the blueberries.Note trickle irrigation system, frame for supporting protective bird netting, and addition of mulch.Plant several different blueberry cultivars for cross- pollination, to extend the harvest season.Fruit clusters are loose; berries are light blue, large in size, very firm, with a good, slightly tart flavor.Fruit clusters are small and tight; berries are medium to dark blue, very large, firm, aromatic, with good flavor.Fruit clusters are long and loose; berries are medium to dark blue, medium-small, moderately firm, with good flavor.Fruit clusters are tight; berries are medium blue, very large, slightly flattened, firm, with very good flavor.Lowbush blueberries are low, spreading, plants that often grow wild in northern regions of Ontario.Cherry and Cranberry Fruitworm moths lay their eggs on newly set blueberries just after bloom.To control both fruitworms, remove and burn infested berries promptly to destroy the larvae inside before they exit and pupate.Apply a recommended domestic insecticide (such as malathion or carbaryl) just after petal fall and repeat 10 days later.Reddish brown foliage on upper portion of highbush blueberry bush is caused by cankers girdling the stems.Examine the plants frequently for cankers which first appear as small, reddish, discolored areas on the stems.As the affected areas enlarge, the margins remain reddish and the bark in the central part turns gray and then brown. .

Gardening Blueberries

Being a native North American crop, blueberries have been widely used by First Nations people for centuries.It was only in the early 1900s with the development of easier-to-harvest, taller “high-bush” plants with larger berries that blueberries became a commercial crop.Breeding to shorten their winter chilling requirement has expanded the range where blueberries can be grown.The more recent adoption of harvest-shakers for small, low-growing “wild” blueberries has supported the rapid expansion of an affordable commercial market for smaller berries.They are fertilized to boost production and sprayed with pesticides to minimize insect and fungus damage.Choose blueberries with a uniform dark blue colour with a light gray “bloom.” An easy way to determine if the berries are fresh is to shake the container.Growing blueberries is a long-term project but they will continue to provide delicious seasonal fruits for many years to come.This means that the common heavy-clay, high pH, fertile, poorly drained soils in Southern Ontario are clearly not suitable.For each container, mix in 50 grams of powdered or pelleted elemental sulphur (to lower the pH below 5.0).If you still want to grow blueberries in your garden, dig out somewhat larger holes than the pots, then fill these with this same mixture.Spread a thick (3-inch) layer of mulch around the plants to hold back grass and weeds and to retain moisture for the shallow roots.There are so many familiar sweet uses for cooked blueberries—muffins, crisps, waffles, pies, jams, jellies and, of course, pancakes.Knowing that raw or frozen blueberries retain their phytonutrients, use them in smoothies, green salads, carrot salad, cold or hot cereals, layered with creamy yogurt or kefir, or stirred into fresh salsas.Crostini: Layer slices of barbecued melon over crisped bread and garnish with blueberries. .

Berries in the Home Garden – Halton Region Master Gardeners

You will always find that the berries you grow in your home garden are more sweet, juicy and flavourful than those you buy.That’s because commercially grown berries are harvested at the half-ripened stage to allow for maximum supermarket shelf life.They’ve been selected and crossed to bear larger fruit, more prolific berries, produce for longer seasons or to repeat crop.They grow in a variety of ways: on trees, on shrubs, on canes or as low-growing plants that spread by runners or underground stolons.Berries are an ideal crop for gardeners with restricted space, as they don’t need a lot and many can be successfully grown in containers.Grapes are classed as true berries, as are bananas, watermelons, eggplants, tomatoes and kiwis.If you are growing them to eat, make sure you protect your bushes from birds and other wildlife or they will get to the ripe fruit before you do.There are many kinds of berries hardy to Ontario that are easy to grow, from favourites like strawberries and blueberries to more unusual ones like lingonberries and cloudberries.The top four favourite berries in North America, based on commercial production and import quantities, are strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.Even if you don’t plan on eating the berries yourself, grow a few shrubs as a benefit for wildlife, including pollinators and foraging birds.Strawberries have been cultivated and crossed for millennia and all of the plants you’d purchase from a garden centre or from online suppliers are hybrids.Each plant needs plenty of space to develop and deep root run, like that in a raised bed.Commercial strawberry fertilizers often contain too much nitrogen, which results in lots of runners and leaves at the expense of berries, and the fruit that is produced will have a crispy texture and less flavour.You’ll often see terracotta strawberry jars and towers for sale in garden centres, but they are really not a very good idea.They provide very little room for the required root run, and since the containers are above ground they get hot and dry out too quickly.Strawberries can be grown in containers, providing they are large and deep and they get plenty of water regularly.Black plastic sheeting is another good idea (though it doesn’t look very attractive) as it will keep the fruit clean and warm the soil.Also if drip irrigation is run under the sheeting, it will ensure no excess water stays off the leaves, so mildew becomes less of an issue.Raspberries grow on lax, flexible canes that absolutely need to be supported on trellises or post and wire structures.They can grow from three to ten feet tall, depending on the variety and their canes are thorny and bristly.Raspberries are vigorous runners that will sucker and spread happily through your garden, so you’ll need to pull out any that pop up where they aren’t wanted. .

Recommended Berry Varieties for Ontario

Many factors go into decisions about what varieties to plant.Before choosing a variety consider location, soil type and intended market.Each year a team of researchers, growers, OBGA representatives and OMAFRA specialists, meet to discuss performance of berry varieties in Ontario and to suggest varieties which might be suitable for trial.We use the following definitions to group varieties as suited for general planting, limited or regional planting, or something to try on a small scale.General Planting.Well-known varieties of proven performance and market value.Limited/Regional Planting.These varieties have value but should be limited in extent of planting.Some may have proven valuable in trial plantings and warrant further commercial experience.Others may be adapted to a specific region or be useful only for selected markets.Trial Planting.Northblue Currant, Black Ben Alder.Hinomakki Red Raspberry, Black Jewel Raspberry, Fall bearing Autumn Britten.Himbo Top Raspberry, Red Summer bearing Boyne Killarney.Tulameen*** Strawberry, June bearing For pick-your-own and retail markets. .

Berries In the Home Garden – Halton Region Master Gardeners

Blueberries are very hardy plants, and they grow easily and fruit prolifically in the wild, so you know they can produce well in the home garden, with little fuss.A soil with a pH of 4.5 to 5.5 is essential for growing blueberries or other acid loving plants like rhododendrons or azaleas.Since most soils in Ontario are not acidic, you will likely need to amend your soil.As with all berry crops, birds are the competition.All will crop better in consistently moist, but not waterlogged soil.A natural woodland plant, they will tolerate partial shade but will fruit much better in full sun.Highbush Blueberries.Blueberries will only flower and produce fruit on two and three year old growth–so you need to let the plant grow to allow for fruit to form.Lowbush Blueberries.Lowbush blueberries are what we loosely call “wild blueberries” and they are the plants that are cultivated commercially.Unlike the Highbush blueberry with its shallow fibrous root system, the Lowbush blueberry has a taproot and a deep underground system of rhizomes and roots that help it tolerate drought and dry soil, acidic low-fertility soil, and even fire.Lowbush blueberry fruits are smaller in size than Highbush, but have more intense flavour, and they may have a higher anti-oxidant content than Highbush varieties.These plants require specific maintenance to grow them successfully.Lowbush blueberries bear fruit only on second year wood so need to be grown on a two-year crop rotation cycle.Blackberries grow and fruit well in part shade so if you don’t have a lot of sun in your garden this is one of the best choices for berries.They can bear fruit on canes that are up to two or three years old.Be sure to tie in the new canes as they grow in the spring, or they will quickly become a tangled mess.There are several cultivated varieties available. .

Ontario's Best Blueberry Picking Spots

Take an afternoon, visit a farm and pick your own this season!Berrylicious Fruit Farm, Oxford County.They also offer tours of the property, including the blueberry patch, growing vineyard, sugar bush, rescue ranch and ending back at the winery with a private tasting of our wines.The Hugli’s have been growing nutritious & delicious blueberries for over 30 years.There are 17 acres of blueberries with 17 different varieties that ripen at various times, so you’ve got plenty of opportunities to visit!They offer 9 different varieties of highbush blueberries, which ripen throughout the month of August.Where The Wild Things Are: Foraging In Northern Ontario.According to the team at Northern Ontario Tourism, bringing some key gear along makes for better picking. .

Growing Berries in Containers: How to Grow a Small Space Fruit

If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.Few things are as satisfying to a gardener as picking a homegrown, sun-warmed berry right off the plant and tossing it straight into your waiting mouth.If you’ve never grown your own berries because you think you don’t have enough room — or you think it requires too much effort — boy, do we have some great news for you!Berry plants are great candidates for container gardening, especially if you pay careful attention to which varieties you choose to grow.Containerized berry plants can easily be moved from one side of the deck to the other to maximize sunlight exposure throughout the day, so even if you have a semi-shady space, you can still grow plenty of fruits.For example, many varieties of full-sized blueberry bushes can top out at five to six feet tall and you’d need a super-big container to make them happy.And the rambling roots and long, prickly vines of raspberries and blackberries are notorious for taking over the garden, making full-sized varieties of these two fruits very poor candidates for containers.Look for Bushel and Berry™ varieties at your local garden center that have been bred specifically for growing in containers, such as Pink Icing®, Blueberry Glaze®, Jelly Bean®, and Peach Sorbet®.Cane fruits, such as raspberries and blackberries, were once relegated to the “back 40” due to their tendency to take over the garden.Until a few years ago, these aggressive growers were practically impossible to grow in containers with any amount of success.If your pot is too small, you risk affecting the health of your plants, and ultimately, reducing their growth and yield.To keep your plants happy, fill the containers in your small-space fruit garden with a 50/50 mixture of high-quality potting soil and compost (either commercially produced or homemade).The added compost aids in water retention, introduces beneficial soil microbes, and releases nutrients to the plants over time.The amount of water your pots need is dependent on the weather conditions, humidity, the type of container you used, and the maturity of the plants themselves.In the summertime, I water my container fruit garden on a daily basis, if we don’t get rain.For cane berries and strawberries, lightly scratch a 1/4 cup of a balanced, complete organic granular fertilizer into the top inch of soil every spring, being careful to keep the granules off of the foliage.Pruning is an important task when it comes to growing dwarf cane fruits, such as blackberries and raspberries, both in the ground and in containers.I drag my potted blueberry bushes into the garage every winter; they get watered once, in early February, and that’s it.If it doesn’t get too cold where you live, you can also try overwintering the plants by simply moving the pots to a protected area, right up against the house.A big thank you to Bushel and Berry™ for sponsoring this post and allowing us to share these great tips on growing berries in containers. .

How to Grow Blueberries

Blueberry plants can thrive and bear fruit in containers in any area that receives full sun.Choose Containers.For blueberry plants, that means opting for the largest pot possible, planting one plant per pot.Half-barrels and other deep, wide containers work well for keeping blueberry plants in for the long term.Moreover, it's important to choose a blueberry species and cultivar that's right for your climate.Blueberry bushes like very acidic soil, and a pH level between 4.0 to 4.8 is required for the plants to absorb water and nutrients and produce berries.Because most garden soil is not naturally this acidic, planting in containers enables you to better control your soil's acidity levels.You can buy or create an acidic blueberry-friendly potting mix to ensure your plants will thrive.If you can't find a high-acid potting mix, add a fertilizer blend designed for acid-loving plants to a third of the soil instead.Plant the Blueberries.The leaves of the blueberry plant can act as an umbrella, preventing water from making it to the base of the plant and into the container.If you're not able to water your blueberry plants for a week's time or more, move the plants into a more shaded area to conserve water.Blueberries don’t like too much fertilizer, so a single feeding in the early spring typically works well.Because acid washes out of soil over time, you may find that it's more effective to start with a half dose of fertilizer in the spring and then add a light monthly dose throughout the growing season.If yellowing of the leaves occurs, it's probably a sign that the soil pH is too high and is causing chlorosis. To rectify the issue, acidify the soil with fertilizer made for acid-loving plants. .

Backyard Berries: Blueberries, Strawberries, Raspberries

Muscadine grapes, kiwis (genus: actinidia) and most blueberries require two compatible varieties for successful pollination.The ideal site and soil conditions for your backyard berry patch vary depending on the type of fruit you grow.In many cases, these plants aren't fussy and will grow just fine in an average, well-drained garden soil with plenty of sun.Improved planter designs make it easy to create what's long been known as a "strawberry jar.".They're also one of the easiest and most rewarding crops, as long as you choose the right variety and take a little time to understand how the plants grow.These plants produce two smaller crops, the first in the usual June period and the second in late summer/early fall.They have a network of perennial roots that send up shoots, or canes, which usually live for two years.In the second year the same canes bear flowers and fruit, then die at the end of that season.To reduce the risk of infection, avoid planting them on soil where a member of the nightshade family (tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, eggplant) or wild Rubus have recently been grown.Raspberries and other cane fruits have shallow root systems, so it's important to remove any weeds, which will compete for nutrients.This generous spacing allows mulching between the beds with weed fabric and wood chips, or cultivating between the rows with a rototiller,.It also ensures good air circulation around the plants (to limit disease problems), and permits easy access for picking from both sides of the bed.A well-tended bed of brambles will produce for ten years or more before the original plants start to decline and need to be replaced.A single currant or gooseberry plant will produce plenty of fruit for the average household. .

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