A Community Newspaper for the way we live

By Delia Lopez

Blueberries are fabulous plants and provide year-round interest in the garden. They have glossy green leaves that are covered with white blossoms in the spring. They grow into an easy care shrub in most areas of Oregon. Our naturally acidic soil makes for happy blueberries. Flavorful blueberries are very nutritious and look great on the plant. Blueberries have great fall foliage colors and red twigs in the dead of winter.

The first blueberry plants I planted are right out my kitchen window, and they are an important part of my landscape design. I like the look of flowering shrubs surrounded by mulch. The mulch breaks down improving the soil, keeping down weeds and holding in moisture in the summer. I have a drip tube hidden under the mulch, with a timer on it in the summertime to water automatically. It looks nice year round, needs little maintenance, and provides fat beautiful berries.

Several varieties of blueberries are available. You can plant early, mid-season, and late-maturing varieties to extend the harvest. There is even a new low growing type that looks like it may work as a ground cover.

I have several varieties of blueberries and I always want more! I love variety! My grandsons love picking and eating whatever they can find growing at grandma’s house. I searched everywhere to find a Nelson. In a taste test years ago, it was rated tops with big berries. I was under-whelmed because it seemed a little less flavorful than some I already had. I think Darrow is my favorite for flavor.

The varieties I have include Duke, Spartan, Patriot, Nelson, Liberty, Darrow, Chandler, Elliot, listed in order of ripening early to late. Though Northblue and Chippewa are not listed on the chart, both are mid-season.

Blueberries are loaded with anti-oxidants. They are reported to help improve vision, clear arteries, strengthen blood vessels, enhance memory, reverse age related physical and mental declines, and promote weight control! With health benefits like that you cannot have too many! I bag up berries and freeze them unwashed by the gallon bag.

Blueberry muffins and pancakes are just the beginning of the treats one can enjoy using these mighty little gems. I also have a vita mix, and make a blueberry oatmeal smoothie for a quick breakfast to take on the go. I found the recipe at www.food.com. The search option is awesome! Put in what you have on hand; for example, blueberries and oatmeal, and you will get over 100 results. Click on search by “most popular,” to get them sorted by reviews! I have found great recipes going with the number of 5 star reviews. This bourbon chicken recipe at www.food.com/recipe/bourbon-chicken-45809 has over 2,000 reviews and is easy and delicious! Finding this site has made me enjoy cooking!

We are fortunate to have many blueberry farms close by. . This link (www.oregonblueberry.com/farms.html) has a list of Oregon Blueberry Farms. Even with all the plants I have, I still try to take my grandsons blueberry picking every summer. They have a great time and look forward to it every year. We end up with extra bags of berries in the freezer and they never fail to ask for blueberry something when they stay at Grammie’s house.

Do a little research and then call your favorite garden center I bet they will be able to order exactly what you want.

Now is a great time to bare root fruit trees,grapes and berries!

Happy Gardening!

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