Berries Blue: Growing Blueberries and Honeyberries
Apart from bearing beautiful blue fruit, many of these delicious berries offer a long season of interest, boasting attractive flowers and foliage, and fiery fall colors.
Healthy blueberries are the perfect fruit for a small garden or patio, providing a wealth of interest. In the spring, plants bear a profusion of tiny white flowers, followed by the blue summer berries, and, in some varieties, fiery scarlet autumn foliage. Grow blueberries in pots of soil-based ericaceous compost, and water using rainwater from a water barrel—only use tap water as a last resort during periods of drought.
While growing, give them a dose of balanced feed formulated for acid-loving plants every two weeks, and place pots in full sun or partial shade. Select a plant from the many varieties available that is naturally compact and suited to a pot. Some are not self-pollinating, so you will need to buy two plants. In a large pot, you could team them with cranberries, which like the same ericaceous growing conditions and will extend the fruiting season until fall.
Native to Siberia, honeyberry plants are extremely hardy. They are grown for their large fruits that look and taste like blueberries, and the best results are achieved by growing two plants together. Honeyberries also do well in pots of soil-based compost, and you can use water straight from the tap.
Apply a slow-release granular feed in the spring, and tomato fertilizer every two weeks after the flowers appear.
Tip: Berries are best eaten fresh or cooked in desserts. However, berries will keep fresh for several weeks in the refrigerator. Place them in a single layer in a storage container, ensuring that they do not rest on top of one another or the weight could cause bruising and result in rotting. If you end up with a glut, berries can also be frozen.