I've been thinking about putting in some blueberries too, so I've been
reading up on them. So what I say here is based on reading not
First--acidic soil. Most of our soil is basic (pH> 7) here in CA.
They suggest mixing it 50% with peat moss to a depth of 1 foot and a
diameter of 2.5 feet. I've seen some sites say deeper than a foot but
the plants are supposed to be shallow-rooted so that is probably
overkill. Like everything else they like 'direct sun, good drainage,
adequate water'. In LA that probably means morning sun and afternoon
shade. They should have at least 6 hours of sun though.
Secondly, you need about 2 'southern highbush' type bushes per person
to get good portion sizes over an extended season. The 'southern
highbush' have a lower chill requirement than other categories of
blueberry which is why they are the category that is good for CA. They
also fruit better if they are able to cross-pollenate between different
cultivars. So, if you have one Reveille, you'd want to buy a Misty or
a Bluecrop as the other bush (I think Bluecrop likes it a bit colder
than Misty though). I think O'Neal is another warm weather variety.
Anyway, buy bushes that differ from each other so they cross
pollenate--this is supposed to give you more yield and larger berries.
You can pick varieties that are supposed to be 'early', 'midseason', or
'late' in combination so that you have blueberries over a longer
Stores in your area probably carry types good for your area, so as long
as you buy two different kinds you only have to pay attention to the
exact names if you order on the web from someone outside the area.
If your area is shady you might consider going to a native plant
nursery and buying huckleberries, which are smaller and tarter and good
for muffins and pancakes. You can also grow these from seed. They
like the same soil but partial to full shade. If you have a problem
watering enough in the afternoon sun these might work better because
the ground will loose water more slowly in the shade. I think, as
native plants, they do not require pruning.
All the above are supposed to like a *lot* of mulch on top of the soil
due to their shallow roots and preference for moisture. The references
I found said 4 inches. I'm guessing they mean out to the 'dripline'
(the tips of the branches).
The references also say that for best results blueberries should not be
allowed to fruit in the first year--flowers should be removed as they
appear. There was also a detailed instruction on how to prune them in
winter but I forget the details. It did not sound any harder than
pruning roses (probably easier since there are no thorns to worry
about), so you'll probably have to look up the details yourself on
Again, all the above is book learning, I don't have personal experience
with blueberries yet.
I'm northeast of Salinas.