Blueberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) is a low-growing plant that produces healthy berries. Belongs to the Heather family. The plant got its name due to the fact that the berries and juice are black. You can meet blueberries in the Taiga in Asia and northern Europe, as well as in some parts of North America. It grows in a subarctic climate. In the garden, blueberries are grown as an ornamental plant, for the purpose of obtaining tasty berries or for use in folk medicine.
Description of blueberries
Blueberry is a shrub that grows up to 15-50 cm in height. The branches grow at an acute angle in relation to the trunk. The leaves are rounded, serrated along the edge. In spring they are green, and by autumn they turn red. The root system is located at a depth of 6-7 cm. The flowers of blueberries are greenish-pink, and the fruits are spherical, painted in deep dark blue. Their diameter is 7-10 mm. The flowering period is May-June. Blueberries ripen in the second half of summer or early fall.
Planting blueberries outdoors
It is advisable to plant blueberries in a semi-shaded place. This plant loves acidic soil. Groundwater should be as high as possible. If you plant blueberries in the sun, you will have to spray the plant with water in hot summer weather.
In warmer regions, blueberries can be planted in August-September. In temperate or harsher climates, it is best to postpone planting until late spring.
The distance between the rows should be about 2.5 m, and between the seedlings in a row - 1.5 m.The depth of the planting pit is about 80 cm, the dimensions are 60x60. At the bottom of the pit, you need to pour expanded clay or other material for drainage.
With a low acidity of the soil, you need to mix the soil that we took out of the planting pit with peat in a 2: 1 ratio. For each seedling, add a quarter teaspoon of sulfur. If the ground is heavy, sand can be added. The mixture is poured into the pits. It should stand for several weeks.
It is best to plant seedlings 2-3 years old in the soil. Before planting, the seedling, together with an earthen lump, must be lowered into the water, and the planting hole with the mixture must be poured with a solution of citric acid (1 tsp per bucket). The soil must be loosened, a deepening of the required size must be made, and then the seedling must be placed. In this case, you need to spread the root system well, and then cover it with earth. After planting, the soil must be compacted and watered. It is advisable to mulch with peat or sawdust.
If the seedling is more than 3 years old, its branches need to be cut to 20 cm in height. This will make it easier for the plant to adapt.
Correct planting of the BLUEBERRY or garden blueberry !!! / Vegetable garden in containers
Care for blueberries in the garden
The main thing in caring for blueberries is timely watering. It is important that the soil is constantly slightly moistened, therefore it is necessary to water the blueberry bushes every 2 weeks. In drought, this is done more often. Every month, when watering, you need to add a little acid to the water. But you don't need to overdo it with watering either, as a fungus can develop. Therefore, it is advisable to mulch the soil with a layer of sawdust or needles.
Every 3 years in the fall, you need to apply about 3 kg of organic fertilizers per 1 m2... It can be compost or rotted manure. From mineral fertilizers, superphosphate, potassium magnesium in dissolved form is suitable. These fertilizers are applied every year. Fertilizers that contain chlorine should not be applied, as this plant reacts poorly to them. The condition of the plant is significantly improved after foliar feeding with various microelements. The procedure is performed in the evening.
At the age of 3-4 years, blueberries need pruning, as weakened branches and bony growths appear. The bush should have 8-9 good branches. Four-year-old branches are shortened, leaving 20 cm. Side shoots, which bear poor fruit, are also removed. When the plant is 15 years old, it needs anti-aging pruning. To do this, cut off all the branches, leaving 20 cm each. If blueberries in your garden serve only as a decoration, the bush can be given any shape.
Winter frosts are not terrible for the plant, but flowers can die from spring frosts. This should be taken into account when caring for blueberries in the garden.
Diseases and pests of blueberries
Pests such as scale insects and aphids can attack blueberries. To combat them, insecticides are used. Sometimes the plants are affected by gray mold or rust. If dark spots with a reddish tinge appear, this is miscospereliosis. With rust, the spots are brown, and with gray mold, the berries are mummified. When a fungus is affected, fungicides are used. For example, Fundazol. The sooner you start fighting blueberry disease, the easier it will be for you to defeat it.
If blueberries are infected with a viral disease (red ring spot, filamentous branches, etc.), the plant must be dug up and burned.
Collection and storage of blueberries
In the middle of summer, the active collection of blueberries begins. In the forest, it ripens first on the forest edges, and then on marshy soils in the lowlands of the forest. It is recommended to pick berries only from those plants that are less than 15 years old. Their age can be determined by the number of side shoots. The berries are harvested in dry weather. To significantly speed up the collection process, a special fruit picker is purchased. It works like a comb. The branches and leaves remain, but the berries fall into the box.
When the blueberry crop is harvested, it must be cleaned of leaves, stalks and other parts of the plant. To clear up the debris faster, you can simply fill the crop with water. The berries will fall down, and the leaves and twigs will float. After that, it will be easier to sort them out.
The berries are frozen, dried or jam is made from them. To dry blueberries, you need to pour a layer of berries on a baking sheet and dry in the oven at a temperature of 45-50 ° C. The berries are stirred periodically until they are completely dry. They are stored in containers made of wood or cardboard. The room must be dry and protected from the sun.
If you have a large freezer, wash and dry the berries, then lay them out in one layer on a tray. Put in the freezer as it is. If the tray is made of metal, line it in front of this paper towel. After a few hours, the berries will freeze well in the freezer, after which they can be poured into an airtight bag. You can store blueberries in the freezer for up to a year.
If you want to keep the berries as long as possible, wash and dry them well, and then place them in well-calcined glass jars. The container is closed with corks, and then filled with liquid wax. Banks should be kept cool and dark.
Types and varieties of blueberries with photos
Species blueberries are planted in the gardens, as the plant does not yet have varieties. Sometimes blueberries are passed off as one of the blueberry varieties. But in fact, these are different types of plants, although they are related. Sometimes they are confused, since in English the name of the plants sounds the same. Both blueberries and blueberries are called blueberry. The following types of blueberries can be seen in our gardens.
Hairy blueberry (Vaccinium hirtum)
The native land of the species is Japan and Sakhalin. Shrubs grow in forests and on bolts. Grows up to 1 m. Leaves are oblong, pointed at the end. The diameter of the berries is 5-7 mm. They are spherical and blue, almost black.
Caucasian blueberry (Vaccinium arctostaphylos)
It grows in the northern part of Asia Minor, as well as in the Caucasus. You can also meet the plant in the north of Iran and in some areas of Bulgaria. It is a tree 2-3 m high or a large shrub. The leaves are large, the berries can be eaten. The disadvantage of this species is the low winter hardiness of the plant.
Angus bilberry (Vaccinium angustifolium)
The native land of the species is North America. It is a low-growing shrub that does not grow above 0.5 m in height. The plant has very good winter hardiness.
Oval-leaved bilberry (Vaccinium ovalifolium)
In the wild, it grows in Japan, in some places in North America, and also on Sakhalin. You can also meet the plant on the Aleutian and Kuril Islands. It also grows on the Commander Islands. The height of oval-leaved bilberry is 3-4 m.
Panicle bilberry (Vaccinium scoparium)
You can meet the plant in such US states as Alabama, Carolina, California. Occasionally found in Colorado. This is a low-growing shrub that does not survive the winter very well. Plant height averages about 20 cm. It does not bear fruit annually.
Useful properties of blueberries
The main advantage of blueberries is the presence of antioxidants in the berries. They are found in other products as well. For example, in blackberries, grapes, red cabbage. But there are much more of these substances in blueberries. Blueberries are also rich in a variety of micronutrients. They contain a lot of magnesium, potassium, iron, etc. Not only the berries themselves, but also the leaves of the plant are rich in useful components. The berries and leaves also contain organic acids, pectins. They are rich in vitamins B, C, A, PP, etc.
Berries have antimicrobial effect. They are astringent and prevent decay. Blueberries have the unique property of improving vision, including twilight. Therefore, it is actively used by astronauts, and during the war the berries were eaten by British pilots.
People have long known that blueberries have a positive effect on visual acuity, relieve fatigue, and expand the field of vision. Therefore, the people use blueberries for vision problems. Scientists have found that this product improves blood circulation in the retina and aids in retinal repair. To improve lost vision, you need to consume a spoonful of fresh berries, previously filled with water, half an hour before breakfast.
Berry juice helps with skin diseases, burns, ulcers.
Blueberries - beneficial properties
But if you have a malfunctioning pancreas or duodenum, berries should not be consumed. Blueberries are contraindicated for oxalaturia, allergies and constipation. In other cases, the use of berries and decoction of leaves will bring many benefits to the body.
Blueberries: medicinal properties, folk recipes
Common blueberry is a medicinal plant growing in bogs, the berries of which have a healing effect due to their rich chemical composition and an optimal combination of micro- and macroelements that strengthen health.
In folk medicine, in herbalists, blueberries are called differently. Some call her chernega, others call her bilberry, still others call her bird, and still others call her a raven berry. No matter how blueberries are called, the therapeutic effect for the body does not change: blueberries heal diseases of the stomach and intestines, diarrhea and poisoning, removes stones from the kidneys and gallbladder, and strengthens vision when it deteriorates.
Blueberries are spherical in shape, with a delicate and juicy reddish-purple pulp, dotted with small seeds. The taste of blueberries is sweet and sour, astringent, pleasant.
Blueberries are a natural source of iron and manganese (I place among fruits and berries), as well as glycosides, tannins and essential oils. In addition, blueberries contain:
- sugars - up to 7%
- organic acids (citric and malic) - up to 1.5%
- pectin and a lot of tannins - up to 0.6%
- carotene - up to 1.5 mg%
- vitamin C - up to 6 mg%
- IN1 - up to 0.05 mg%
- B2 - 0.04 mg%
- P-active compounds (up to
- nicotinic acid.
Most often, blueberries are harvested in the forest and in the swamps, for which they call the "forest pearl", but if there is an opportunity, you can grow blueberries in the garden.
They go to the forest for blueberries in July-August, that is, now is the time to check the blueberry places for ripe berries. The weather is dry, which means it's time to pick berries and blueberry leaves. If the basket and buckets are full of blueberries on the way back, then when you return home, start drying the blueberries for winter consumption.It is easier to pick blueberries in the forest than to grow in the garden. Photo: Forest House Farm
The fact is that blueberries must be dried at an elevated temperature so that they do not sour and mold. First, you need to dry the berries in a dryer at a temperature of about + 40 ° C for 3 hours, and then increase the temperature to + 50-65 ° C and dry until completely dry. Dried blueberries are heavily wrinkled, do not clump or stain your hands.
Characteristics of blueberries
Bilberry is a low-growing deciduous forest plant, belongs to the genus Vaccinium, of the Heather family. The height of the shrub is from 10 to 50 cm, in the northern regions it is up to 10-15 cm altogether. The Russian name "blueberry" comes from the coloring properties of the juice of berries. The stem of the blueberry does not stiffen from the base, but remains green. Blueberries belong to the category of creeping plants.
The root system of the plant is creeping, with a main main root. Additional shrubs grow from the main root and thus new shrubs grow from them. Flowering begins in May. Blueberry flowers are white with a greenish tinge, often tilted downward to protect them from forest dampness. Blueberries are pollinated by insects, most often those that collect nectar.
Blueberry leaves are arranged alternately on the stem. They are small in size, oval in shape, with a small groove in the middle. The moisture that collects on the leaves rolls along the grooves along the stems to the root system, thanks to which the plant is insured against drying out. The leaves, along with the berries, have a very important medicinal value.
Blueberry fruit is a dark blue, black berry with a bluish bloom, which has about a couple of dozen seeds inside. Blueberries can spread quickly because birds eat their berries and spread indigestible seeds elsewhere. Blueberries ripen unevenly from June to August. At this time, forest blueberries become an integral object of fishing for many enterprising summer residents, who collect them for sale in the markets, and delivery to procurement points. The beneficial properties of blueberries can be enumerated for a long time. Due to the fact that this is a wild-growing forest berry, in the life of which a person does not interfere with his growth stimulants and other chemistry, it has a lot of healing properties. Here are just a few of them:
Maintaining eye health. Carotene, which is found in blueberries, promotes the production of the pigment radopsin, which makes it possible to see well in dim light. The components of blueberries restore the cornea of the eye, promote cell regeneration, provide good prevention of cataracts and myopia. Extracts from berries and leaves of blueberries are used for the production of specialized preparations that are included in the list of mandatory medicines for people suffering from eye problems. Rich source of antioxidants. Vitamin C and other beneficial substances prevent the accumulation of free radicals in the body, neutralize their effect. Natural antioxidants, which blueberries have, slow down the aging of the body, prevent the manifestation of coronary heart disease, atherosclerosis and even cancer. Eating blueberries helps to improve blood circulation. Effective treatment of diabetes mellitus. Unfortunately, humanity has not yet managed to invent a medicine that would help completely cure a person from this insidious disease. But blueberry extracts containing aldose reductase inhibitors can significantly alleviate type 2 diabetes. In addition, berries and leaves are used to treat early stage diabetes.For people with an increased risk of diabetes, even with a completely healthy body, it will not be superfluous to consume blueberries in their pure form, in the form of infusions and teas, as well as vitamin supplements. Promotes weight loss. Blueberries are a dietary product that not only improves metabolism, but also removes toxins from the body. It should be remembered that maximum efficiency can be achieved only when the berries are consumed fresh or quick-frozen, without the addition of other berries and fruits. Prevention of cardiovascular diseases. The incomparable antioxidant potential of this plant normalizes blood cholesterol levels and blood pressure, improves vascular health. Normalizes the digestive system. Blueberries are very helpful for diarrhea, indigestion, dysbiosis, inflammation of the gastric mucosa, hemorrhoids, liver dysfunction. In addition, blueberries have strong antimicrobial properties, preventing the action of pathogens such as staphylococcus, salmonella, helicobacteria and others on the body.
The growing area of blueberries is concentrated in the European territory of Russia and practically throughout the forest zone of Ukraine. Bilberry prefers acidic peat soils, coniferous forest edges and swampy areas. But since a person was never stopped by difficulties on the way to achieving a goal, he will make his way to the very depths of the forest to collect the desired berry. At the same time, it is important to remember the necessary precautions, namely, to wear rubberized shoes with a high bootleg, tight trousers and a jacket, and a hat. Vipers often live under blueberry bushes, and you can easily make friends with a tick in the forest.
The benefits of blueberries
Due to its rich composition, blueberries have a positive effect on all body systems.
For bones and joints
Blueberries support the strength of bones and joints, as they are high in calcium, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamin K. 2
For the heart and walls of blood vessels
Thanks to vitamins B4, C and folic acid in blueberries, you can reduce the risk of heart attack, prevent heart attacks and strokes. Blueberries reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood by strengthening the walls of blood vessels and preventing them from damaging them. 3
For the lymphatic system
Blueberries are rich in antioxidants. They strengthen the immune system and stabilize the work of the glands, dissolve blood clots and improve the condition of the vessels that make up the lymphatic system. four
For the nervous system
Eating blueberries can help improve motor function, motor coordination and memory, which deteriorate with age.
The berry protects the body from the negative effects of stress, strengthening the nervous system. five
Vitamin A in blueberries renews the retina of the eye, improves visual functions, normalizes blood circulation in the eyes and allows the eyes to withstand heavy loads.
Blueberries effectively fight conjunctivitis due to their anti-inflammatory and bactericidal properties. 6
For the respiratory system
Vitamin C helps blueberries fight respiratory diseases. The berry is a good remedy for coughs, sore throats and pharyngitis. It has anti-inflammatory and disinfecting effects. 7
For the intestines
Blueberries treat colitis, improve intestinal microflora, relieve bloating and flatulence, relieve constipation and diarrhea, and effectively treat hemorrhoids.
Blueberries are used for weight loss due to their fiber. eight
For the gallbladder and liver
Blueberries are useful in treating gallbladder and liver diseases. 9 It is often used for cystitis and other diseases of the urinary system.
Eczema, ulcers and lichens can be treated with blueberries. Vitamin C in the composition produces collagen, which is responsible for the firmness and elasticity of the skin.
Eating blueberries will prevent damage to the skin caused by exposure to the environment and direct sunlight. 10
The antiseptic, bactericidal and anti-inflammatory properties of blueberries help the body fight viruses.
How to store and consume blueberries correctly
Blueberries can be a great addition to any food - they add a tart, sweet aftertaste to dishes. Therefore, blueberries are most often used in desserts, as a filling for pies and pies, as an addition to oatmeal, yoghurts, smoothies and fruit salads.
In our area, blueberries are most often bought frozen. True, when defrosting, blueberries lose their shape, but not useful substances. Of course, whenever possible, you should eat fresh or dried berries, trying to choose the hardest and most ripe berries. Ripe blueberries contain over 80% water, so they can be stored for a long time without drying out.
How to grow blueberries forte
Without a doubt, every berry crop that exists in nature brings invaluable benefits and therefore a plant such as blueberry forte should be grown in every garden plot. The culture is not too capricious in breeding, the main thing is to choose the most suitable conditions for it.
Planting blueberries give preference to light, warm, draft-free areas. They develop well, bear fruit after legumes, vegetables, onions, and borage. The best soil composition is shallow groundwater, light mixed structure: sand and black earth.
The plant does not tolerate the neighborhood with all types of cruciferous plantings. For the strength of the soil around the blueberry bushes, lettuce and onions are planted quite often. But there is a certain condition, as soon as blueberries take root and begin to give full-fledged shoots, all closely growing vegetables are removed.
The culture can be effectively propagated only by seedlings, since by planting seed immediately in the open ground, you can not wait for the harvest. If a decision is made to grow a plant such as blueberry forte on the site and it is clear what to do with it in the future, you can get down to business.
Planting blueberry seedlings forte
For planting seedlings, first of all, seed is prepared. Each selected grain is pierced with a sharp needle, taking care not to damage the kernel. The prepared grains are placed in a glass container. It should be remembered that the sand is pre-washed and ignited.
Cover the vessel with a lid, shake slightly. Next, the seeds are poured with a weak solution of potassium permanganate to increase germination and disinfection. Small pebbles or expanded clay are placed in containers for sowing, covered with a layer of soil. Harvested seedlings are planted in the last days of February, March.
Seedling care is standard. Daily ventilation is carried out, the necessary humidification with a warm liquid, additional illumination is installed if necessary. After the third leaf appears on the seedlings, a dive is carried out. Seedlings are planted in separate vessels for the free development of the root system.
Planting blueberries forte outdoors
Garden blueberry forte does not require special skills and special care for planting. It is enough to wait for the establishment of good weather and the seedlings can be determined in open ground. Seedlings are planted, leaving a lot of space, since the tight conditions will not allow the bushes to develop correctly, which will subsequently affect the amount of the crop. The ideal soil composition is neutral or alkaline.
Healthy drinks with blueberries
Ripe blueberries can be used to make many healthy and delicious drinks.
Kissel from fresh berries
- 1 tbsp. blueberry berries
- 100g sugar
- 3 tbsp. spoons of starch
- 1 liter of water.
- Rinse the blueberries, crush with a pusher, add hot water and bring to a boil.
- Strain the resulting broth, add sugar and starch diluted in cold water.
- Stir quickly and bring to a boil again.
- Pour the kissel into glasses or cups and chill.
- 2 stalks of celery
- 2 bananas
- 100 g blueberries
- ½ lemon juice
- 250 ml of water.
Grind all ingredients in a blender and pour into glasses.
Blueberry juice with honey
- 200 g blueberries
- 2 tbsp. tablespoons of sugar
- 2 tbsp. honey spoons
- 4 yolks
- 1.5 liters of water.
- Squeeze the juice from the blueberries.
- Pour the pomace in hot water, bring to a boil and boil for 5-7 minutes.
- Strain and combine with juice.
- Add sugar.
- In a separate container, beat the yolks with honey and pour into the fruit drink, mix.
- Serve this healthy drink warm.