This season, I am anticipating diving into blueberry growing. I was hoping to get suggestions on which two to grow. The goal would be to have a staggered haverest, and to select two varieties that are fairly distinct from the other. I live in a northern climate. I’ve I have a few varieties in mind based off of descriptions, but I was curious what other folks were growing and enjoy.
On a side note, I was also curious how to protect the bushes from deer. Would wrapping the bushes in bird netting be effective? I was hoping to avoid having a yard full of welded wire cages, and given the shape of bluebeeries, they may lend themselves well to being wrapped in some way.
Hi! I’m in upstate New York and I consider myself a blueberry connoisseur because I’m damn near obsessed with that fruit and everybody knows it lol I can’t say I’ve tried a huge selection of varieties because I was limited to the local upick orchard and then what I’ve fruited myself. I also like fruit described as “sprightly” so if you can’t handle a little tart then please seek someone else’s advice. However, my two favorite varieties so far, and by far, are Spartan and an unlabeled variety that tastes nearly identical to Patriot - I actually thought it was Patriot but it bloomed slightly earlier. So, let’s just say Spartan and Patriot. Both of these are early varieties however, but the berries are large and just awesome. Bluecrop is good but is average and is the standard.
My least favorites are Rubel and Jersey, got rid of those, berries too small and mild. For comparison.
My late varieties haven’t fruited yet so I can’t comment on those.
I grow Northerns, but have limited experience. So many are out there. I wanted an early I saw Spartan mentioned the most so added it. this will be the first year fruiting so no real comment yet.
Liberty is a good producer, berries are tart till fully ripe, has a long hang time. They are blue, but not ripe yet. Not a bad berry, firm, very good I would rate it. Toro has loads of sugar and even unripe berries are sweet.Flavor is excellent, It has no firmness though. Chandler produces huge berries and they are very good too. Decent firmness. Moderate producer. Large plant that produces better with pruning by producing new fruiting wood. Legacy is one of those that has Southern in it too. But it has super hardy flower buds. taste is excellent. Biggest problem is they ripen over time and when blue needs 4 or more days so hard to tell which berries are ripe and which need more time. Good firmness.
Cara’s Choice, best flavor of all for me, but just by a touch.Good firmness. Small compact plant, moderate producer. moderate vigor. Still a winner.
I added a few like Raz and Pink Popcorn, although they are too new to give a review.
None of these are early mid to late season. Chandler produces for a long time. the latest are Cara’s and Legacy. I like them all for various reasons. I’m sure many other decent plants are out there too. I heard Bonus is a good one too, although taste and such are very subjective. I also grow two Southern Highbush. Sweetcrisp and Indigocrisp. Oh Ka-Bluey was given to me by a friend who almost killed it, i got it growing again. I have not tasted any berries yet.
I heard bluecrop is a fairly good berry it is a huge producer from accounts I read, which is always nice even if berry is good but not great, it’s still a blueberry! If I had more room as they are all moderate producers, i would look at the wild types (huckleberries and such), and half -highs too.
I second the Spartan variety and although haven’t tried them yet,two very late ones are Elliot and a somewhat new one,Aurora,that sounds interesting.
There’s no Deer around my place,but someone may have answers.
Here’s some Blueberry info from Fall Creek Nursery in Oregon. Brady http://www.fallcreeknursery.com/nurseries/varieties
Jersey and Olympia were the most flavorful here in my PNW climate. Jersey is vigorous and particularly richly flavored. Olympia is also very uniquely tasty and very ornamental with red stems. I grow 12 different varieties and these tasted the best to me.
This year I added Hardiblue. We’ll see how it does.
I live in deer country, and have to protect my fruit trees and strawberries, but have not had a problem with blueberries getting munched by deer. I would recommend to not wrap blueberry bushes in bird netting, as the shrubs’ “twigginess” will get severely caught and tangled in it. Build a PVC cage and drape the bird netting over the make shift structure. Keeps birds out and doesn’t snag the blueberry plants. My favorite varieties are Spartan, Chandler, Blue Ray and Nelson.
I’m not northern, but I also grow Chandler. It’s a winner! I’d like them to be a bit firmer just because I like really firm blueberries, but that’s my only complaint.
My favorite for taste is actually Sunshine Blue, but it blooms so early after any warm spells! It may be less hardy as well (not a problem here); I get confused on the genetics for the non-rabbiteye types. But if that one is hardy and will stay dormant in a colder climate, I really recommend it. It takes a good deal of shade and isn’t very finicky about pH like most blueberries.
I have had deer munch my Chandler back a whole year. My deer do hate that bird netting, so I use wooden poles stuck in-ground to hold the netting over the bush. I’m a little afraid it may have been a rabbit that got mine, but rabbits don’t usually eat the entire branches they cut off in my yard. I only protected for deer this past year and it worked.
Nothing better than your own bloobs!
We have a six foot fence surrounding our raised bloob bed with bird netting on top. We have gangs of deer and so many berry theivn’ robins, well we can’t eat all the robin stew we could make! Its a joke!
The biggest problem we face is keeping the soil acid. In a 8 plant bed we tilled in 4 bales of peat and 25# of elemental sulfur and cover it with 8-12 inches of hardwood mulch every year. It has yaken awhile but the pH is in the 5-5.8 range every year. BB’s are shallow rooted so make sure you can put 1’5-2" water every week.
I can’t remember what we planted but they were from Lowes and we are getting a lot of berries now!
Wow, lots of great suggestions. This will be fun! What really got me started was my 16 month old’s insatiable appetite for blueberries…I may need to take out a second mortgage to keep her fed and happy.
It sound like some of the favorites are Spartin, Liberty, Parriot, Chandler and then maybe Jersey, Legacy, Nelson, Darrow. I’d guess the quality of the berries also depends on growing conditions.
Thinking things through, I may end up buying three bushes instead of two…I have the room for it. Ideally I would want to buy blueberries from the local nursery here, but they didn’t know which varieties they would have in stock until April. So, I may have to go the mail order route instead just to be sure I’m able to plant some of the varieties that were recommended. Shopping around, it also looks like a lot of mail order are limited on varieties…One Green World looks to have quite a few though.
Here in Colorado, the suggested way of growing blueberies from our local ag extension is to actually bury an entire bale of peat moss, plastic and all. Poke a few holes in the bottom of the bale for drainage, and then cut a hole at the top for the bush to be planted in. Mulch around the top to keep water in and heat buildup down from the bale.
Sometimes I wonder how many blueberry plants are missmarked. I have a Jersey that is mediocre with small berries as @jxz7245 has said. I keep it only so my Blue Crop gets some cross pollination. Blue Crop has a strong blueberry taste. Darrow is ok and has its own unique taste rather than a standard blueberry taste.
Nourse Farms out of Mass has nice stuff and good descriptions, a lot of cold hardy stock. You’ll find them with a google search. I can’t say I think your local extension office is providing good advice.
I’m interesting to hear about Darrow - I planted two as a companion to Chandler due to reading they were a large berry, but if they aren’t amazing I would be interested to hear more and consider removing them. I want to make room to try the new Titan and Krewer varieties.
I also would like to hear if anyone has compared Elliott and Aurora, as I currently have two of each but neither has fruited, and I think I only want to keep one of the two varieties as a late blueberry (again to make room for Titan and Krewer!) any comparison feedback would be appreciated!!
There are lots of other blueberry threads on this forum.
Colo gets cold. I wonder if the Minnesota bred would be good for you. I have Northsky and Northcountry. The former is really small. The latter has sized up nice. They are ultra cold hardy. In zone 7, I can leave them in frozen pots outside all winter.