2021 SPRING UPDATE
The bushes are just starting to come out of dormancy as spring has finally arrived in the Lake Chelan valley. At this point in time we are anticipating being right on schedule with the same picking dates as 2020 (listed below.) As we get closer to harvest, we will start updating on actual true harvest dates. So – please use the dates below as a GENERAL GUIDELINE, knowing we can not predict Mother Nature and we have to let her do her thing! 🙂
2021 U-PICK INFORMATION
Starting June 27, 2020: FIELDS ARE OPEN EVERY DAY FROM 8 am – 2:30 pm
U-PICK $2.50/lb. – Blueberries, Raspberries & Blackberries All U-PICK berries are the same price by the pound.
WE-PICK $4.00/lb. – Blueberries (only) are available pre-picked at the fruit stand.
FROZEN $2.00/LB – We have frozen blueberries available year-round. Packaged in 5# bags
We would like for you and your family to have a fun and memorable experience at Blueberry Hills! Please take a moment before you go out to pick explain to your kids on how to identify and pick only ripe fruit. A fully ripe blueberry will be uniform in color and should easily come loose from the plant. A reddish ring where the fruit is attached to the stem indicates that the berry is not ripe. Don’t pick those yet. They’re not perfect! 🙂
Let’s teach our kids to be good stewards of the land and that all plants are living things to be cared for. Horseplay is not allowed in the fields. If you have any questions, feel free to ask one of our friendly staff.
WHAT TO BRING
Bring sunscreen, and plenty of liquids to drink. We also have bottled water available at the fruit stand. (Please remember to leave no trace and pack your garbage out of field.)
We do provide buckets for picking but NOT for taking your fruit home. We do tend to run out of buckets during heightened activity, so you are always welcome to bring your own. Wearing a belt around your waist to hang your bucket from is helpful if you’re looking to use both hands.
Clothing: If it’s hot, we encourage folks to wear a WHITE, loose fitting, lightweight, long sleeved cotton shirt. This will keep the sun off your skin and keep you significantly cooler. Practical footwear is a must, and don’t forget to bring a hat also to protect you from the summer sun. We encourage folks to come early on hot summer days. Our fruit stand and fields are open from 8-2:30 daily.
ESTIMATED PICKING DATES
- Blueberries – June 27, 2021 – end of August (or later – weather dependent. We’ve had blueberries in the fields until October, however the volume ends around the end of August.)
- Raspberries – June 27, 2020 – late fall when they freeze out
- Blackberries – Mid-August – late fall when they freeze out
Please check for more updates on our Facebook page.
Blueberry Hills Recommendations
2021 UPDATE: BUYING BLUEBERRY PLANTS AT BBH
Blueberry Hills typically sells our very own propogated nursey plants from our own cuttings in the spring. Unfortunately, this year we will not have nursey plants for sale. However, in Spring of 2022 we will have 2 kinds of gorgeous nursey plants for sale in the Spring: Darrow & Chandler. We will keep you posted next spring when they will be available to buy here at the farm.
PLANTING & CARING FOR BLUEBERRY BUSHES
SITE SELECTION AND PREPARATION Select a sunny location in well-drained soil free of weeds and well worked. (Fer you’n me, Buddy, that’d be a spot yer not doin’ nuthin’ with that’s close to a hose.) Locate in an area where irrigation water is available, as best results will be obtained by keeping the root zone moist throughout the growing season. Where the soil is poor or marginally drained, raised beds 3-4 feet wide and 8-12″ high work very well for blueberries. (Otherwise, the flat & lazy kind’a plantin’s best.)
A fail-safe way to grow blueberries in almost any soil is to incorporate peat moss into the planting medium. For planting directly in the ground, work up a planting area approximately 2-1/2 feet in diameter and one foot deep. Remove 1/3 to 1/2 of the soil. Add an equal amount of pre-moistened peat moss and mix well. One 4 cubic foot compressed bale will usually be sufficient for 4-5 plants. For raised beds, mix equal volumes peat moss with acid compost or planting mix. Blueberries thrive in acidic soils – between 4.5 –5.5. You will very likely need to amend your soil! DAD SAYS – IF YOU DON’T TEST AND AMEND YOUR SOIL – DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON BLUEBERRY PLANTS! THEY WILL NOT THRIVE – NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO IF YOUR PH ISN’T RIGHT! Your garden center representative can recommend a soil acidifier if necessary for your area.
SPACING Blueberries can be planted as close as 2-1/2 feet apart to form solid hedgerows or spaced up to 6 feet apart and grown as individual specimens. If planted in rows, allow 8 to 10 feet between the rows depending on equipment used for mowing or cultivating.
PLANTING For container stock, remove from pot and lightly roughen up the outside surface of the rootball. Set the top soil line of the plant about 1-2 inches higher than the existing ground and firm around rootball. Mound soil up along sides of exposed root mass. Water in well.
MULCHING Blueberries do best with a 2-4″ mulch over the roots to conserve moisture, prevent weeds and acid organic matter. Bark mulch, acid compost, sawdust, grass clippings, etc. all work well. Repeat every other year.
PRUNING Blueberries should be pretty heavily pruned (ABOUT 1/3 OF THE PLANT) each year to avoid over-fruiting which will result in small fruit or poor growth. Follow these steps after the leaves have dropped:
4. Remove low growth around the base. If it doesn’t grow up, it gets pruned out!
5. Remove the dead wood, and non-vigorous twiggy wood. Select for bright-colored wood with long (at least 3 inch) laterals. Remove blotchy-colored short growth.
6. If 1/3 to 1/2 of the wood has not been removed by the above steps, thin out the fruiting laterals and small branches until this balance has been obtained.
FERTILIZING Blueberries like acid fertilizers such as Rhododendron or Azalea formulations. For newly planted stock, use 2 tablespoons (OR LESS!) of 10-20-10 (or similar fertilizer) in late spring or once plants are established. (Be very careful! Blueberries are very sensitive to over fertilization! Less is always more!) For subsequent years, use 1 ounce of fertilizer for each year from planting to a total of 8 ounces per plant. Apply in early spring and again in late spring for best results. Always water well after fertilizing. DO NOT to fertilize after the 4th of July – as your bushes need time to go dormant before the fall. For organic fertilizers, blood meal and cottonseed meal work well. Avoid using fresh manure as it will burn the plants and, well, it smells like fresh manure. ;/
Blueberry Plants (2 per family member) Peat Moss (4-5 plants per bale) Soil Test Kit
Mulch (1 cu. ft. per plant) Fertilizer (details above) Soil Acidifier