Time to beat the birds and deer to the bushes… to harvest the sweet baubles in varying shades of green, purple, mauve and blue – victory. Yes, it’s Red, White & Blueberry Time in the NC Piedmont!
At Entwined Gardens we grow Premiere, Onslow, Garden Blue, & Yadkin blueberry varieties in our heavy clay soils.
I attended a lecture a few years ago by NCSU’s Jim Ballington
And here Dr. Ballington’s notes* for fool proof Blueberries – But for us I would rather be tasting so here are a few recipes and more information below.
Premiere is our earliest Blueberry – about 3 mm round Blue pearls of sweetness.
Our first pick yielded about ½ cup…perhaps a Blueberry Tart for dessert.
Simply use premade tart shells, a dollop of Lemon Curd and top with Berries can’t be any easier!
When I get a cup we’ll grill up some wild salmon and top with fresh Blueberry salsa.
1 cup blueberries or more for color
4 Kiwifuit, peeled & chopped
½ cup thinly sliced red onion,
2 Tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 Teaspoon honey
- Green Pepper Tabasco (jalapeno) to taste or cut up a jalapeno!
Mix ingredients in a small bowl. Cover and set aside. Great with chips or grilled salmon
- Mango – diced
- fresh ginger shredded
- Avacado – diced
- Vidallia onion siced – Or Green onions sliced
- Green Seedless grapes cut in half
- Strawberries (sliced) or Blackberries
- Cilantro – chopped
- Poppy seed dressing – drizzled to coat
- Cracker bread or bread sticks
– Ahead – Combine everything together except Arugula & cracker bread.
– Serving time – but arugula in botton of glass, add fruit mixture add a little more arugula
– Garnish with bread.
– Fruit keeps for a couple of days in Tupperware.
– I like to mix in a few other textures and colors of lettuce for color… the arugula gives it a nice spicy flavor to balance the sweetness!
– Serves 8-10
NC Certified Environmental Educator
Garden Conservancy Regional Representative
Some of my notes:
Check with your local extension agent for your area. Blueberries provide great fall color too, so tuck one into a sunny border!
*Note: For Zone 7 – all recommendations are Rabbit eye
A. Large Fruit, high quality
Premier (2) – early, self-pollinating (last week June)
Columbus – midseason, not self-pollinating
Onslow – Late, self-pollinating (3rd week July)
B. The very best quality
Yadkin (2) – midseason, self pollinating, medium size, medium to dark blue color
C. The Toughest Plants for red clay
Premier – early, self-pollinating (last week June)
Ira – early-midseason, not self-pollinating
Garden Blue (2) – midseason, not self pollinating – sweet
Tifblue – midseason, not self pollinating
Powderblue – late, not self – pollinating
– Full sun is preferred, but performance will be satisfactory with 50% sun.
– Soil -Acidic (pH 4.0 – 5.5) well drained soils
– Recommends roto tilling in 3 cu. ft of pine bark at the site where each plant is to be established.
– Surface mulch recommended pine bark, pine straw, aged pine sawdust or rye straw.
-Supplemental irrigation will be needed when rainfall is less than 1″ / week.
-Two year old nursery plants are the preferred planting stock.
-Pruning is required to maintain vigor and production of high quality fruit
-Young plants sensitive to fertilizers
-On young plants application of one TBSP of 10-10-10, or one handful of cottonseed meal spread thinly over the root zone several times during the first growing season will usually be beneficial.
-Double the amount the second growing season
-Pests – Japanese Beetles (treat with Sevin), climbing cutworms, fruit armyworms,
-Birds – Netting
-Deer – Wire cages
Now is not the recommended time to plant…. Make a note to plant in Feb./March.