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blog post - acid loving berries



At 34 weeks pregnant, acid is on my mind - thanks heartburn! Gardens filled with thriving Rhododendrons, Camellias and blue hydrangeas tend to be a good indication you’re gardening on acidic soil.

With the exception of brassicas (broccoli, cauliflower and the like), most vegetables will grow on acid soil while some fruit will only grown on acid soil. High in antioxidants, blueberries are known as super fruits but with their stunning crimson autumn colour, they deserve to be recognised as an all round super plant.

For the best fruit crop and autumn colour, plant blueberries in full sun in a warm, sheltered position. They thrive in moist, well drained soil with a pH of 5.5 or lower. For this reason, plants are often grown in containers or raised beds where the pH can be controlled more effectively using ericaceous compost. Many of the soils I've tested in the area are on the acidic side of neutral and so the chances are blueberries would be fine in the ground in the right spot. However, its best to buy a pH testing kit to know the pH of your soil for sure before you invest in bushes as pH can differ in different areas of the same garden. Blueberries resent dry soil so don't allow them to dry out and if you can store it, rainwater is best for watering them as the lime in tap water will raise the pH of the soil over time. If you've got the space, plant a few different cultivars. Some cultivars are self fertile but planting a mix of cultivars will improve pollination and fruit set on each bush.

Making your own cranberry sauce to accompany the Christmas dinner is a lukewarm feat. What’s far more impressive is making your own cranberry sauce from the cranberries you grew in your own garden! Like blueberries, cranberries are acid lovers and they make the perfect understory plant to taller blueberry bushes as they enjoy the same growing conditions - a sunny position in moist acidic soil that doesn't dry out. They can be planted from October to December or March to April and depending on the cultivar tend to fruit from late September to mid October. However, they can take a few years to produce a heavy crop so plant them now and your homegrown, homemade cranberry sauce will be ready for Christmas 2020!!

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