Growing Blueberries

Lisa Ray, The Garden Advisor, Grow Something Today For Tomorrow, Blueberries

Blueberries are a favorite for many gardeners everywhere.  The plant is attractive year round.  In the spring, small pink flowers cover the bush.  So, in summer arching stems produce sweet, gray-blue fruits.  Then, in autumn the leaves turns red and brightens the landscape.  And finally, in winter the leaves fall off leaving the stems bear to offer structure to a bleak garden.

There are two basic types of blueberries:  rabbit eye and high bush.

The rabbit eye are best suited for the Southeast, as they are less cold hardy and more tolerant of heat.  These are more vigorous and their fruit is somewhat blacker.

The high bush are most often grown, and are more widely available.  These plants need a winter chill, and are not tolerant of intense summer heat.

Blueberry plants thrive in full sun, but will tolerate partial shade.  These plants need well-drained soil and a pH level of between 4.2 and 5.2 in order to thrive. 

Mulch with pine needles or water with a special fertilizer created for acidic plants.

Most blueberries need a pollinator.  Plant two or more different varieties to ensure a good harvest. 

The fruit does not become sweet until at least three days after it has reached it mature berry color.  The berry is usually ripe when you touch it and it falls off the stem.

Store the berries in the refrigerator up to a week.  Blueberries freeze well in its natural state, no cooking required.

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars


For Base:
Butter, for greasing
2 tablespoon sugar
1/8 tablespoon ground cinnamon
9 graham crackers
1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted

For the Filling:
16 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
2 eggs
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries

Directions

For the Base:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease the bottom of a 9 by 9-inch baking pan with butter. Then place parchment paper over the top, pressing down at the corners. In a food processor, process the sugar, cinnamon and graham crackers until you have the consistency of breadcrumbs. Add the melted butter and pulse a couple of times to fully incorporate. Pour into the lined baking pan and firmly pat down with the bottom of a glass. Bake for about 12 minutes, or until set.


For the filling:
     Add cream cheese, eggs, lemon zest, lemon juice, and sugar to the food processor and pulse until well combined. It should have a smooth consistency. Pour onto the cooked graham cracker base and then sprinkle with blueberries. They will sink slightly but should be half exposed.


      Bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes, or until the center only slightly jiggles. Remove from the oven and cool completely before Refrigerating for at least 3 hours. Once set, remove from pan using the parchment lining and slice into 10 rectangular bars.

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