1. Within clusters establish a system for blueberry products.
Information and Diagnoses
Abundant medical research suggests that blueberries are disease fighters. They have high antioxidant activity, probably associated with their blue ingredient, anthocyanin. The antioxidants help neutralize harmful byproducts of metabolism, the free radicals which seem to lead to cancer, age-related memory or vision loss, cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Two-thirds cup of blue berries contains 0.04 miligrams of beta carotene, 13 miligrams of vitamin C, 1 miligram of vitamin E, 97 IU vitamin A, 87 miligrams of potassium, 6 micrograms of folic acid, and 2.7 grams of dietary fiber.
The assumption is that blueberries can be grown well and we will devote much expertise to that. The first-order creative juices for the enterprise staff needed are how to add value to products of the land. Not at all limiting, the needs are for related (additive values) as well as enhancing values. These, for example, first-cut, are:
|Areas of mined benches require minimum leveling and restructuring.|
The blueberries are consumed by 93 species of wildlife. These include robin, titmouse, chickadee, cedar waxwing, tanager, and phoebe.
See The Blueberry Store, Grand Junction, Michigan
Preliminary cultivation instructions:
Select moist area exposed to long periods of sunshine (thus S and SW-facing slopes, The soil should be light (not dense clay) and with much humus. An acid soil is required. Place plants 4 feet apart in rows about 6-8 feet apart (later study exact optimum spacing, especially with hexagonal spacing being considered for gaining full sunlight on mature plants). Mulch plants (or use other techniques to retain moisture for the roots.)
Plants are shallow rooted and may be damaged by cultivation.
Remove 1/3 growth at planting time if spring planted or following spring if fall-planted.
After 3rd year, prune out low spreading branches and 1-2 old canes.
Plant 2 or more varieties for cross pollination.
Try to contact Dr. Robert Adams, Newport, Va., for advice and possible links.
There is need for a booklet, to be produced, later sold, on "The Productive Blueberry Patch - What We Now Know."
The questions before us, first to gather past answers and estimates:
Hayne and Cardinell (1949) observed that the fruits have been found in the stomachs of 93 species of birds. In their studies, robins and sparrows were most involved. Birds do eat blueberries, mostly from the ground, but "losses to birds in plantations of commercial size appear minor and not to justify much expenditure in crop protection. Damage in small plantations may be severe. The ground feeding habits of robins and other birds are probably beneficial, especially in small plantings where the number of birds per bush is great enough to remove all fallen fruit."
Virginia Tech has blueberry studies ongoing on a Russell Co. experimental farm.
Consider advantages of affiliating with www.VirginiaGrown.com and similar organizations.
Smith, D.W. and R.J. Hilton. 1971. The comparative effects of pruning by burning or clipping on lowbush blueberries in North-eastern Ontario. J. Appl. Ecol. 8(3)781-789
Mien, S. E. (1964). Chemical aspects of heather burning. J. appl. Ecol. 1, 347-67.
Black, W. N. (1963). The effect of frequency of rotational burning on blueberry production. Can. J. Pl. Sci. 43, 161-5.
Boultbee, R. (1956). Blueberry cropping experiment in Port Arthur District. Mgmt. Rep. Ont. Dep. Lands For. Fish Wildl. 28, 32-42.
Chapman, S. B. (1967). Nutrient budgets for a dry heath ecosystem in the south of England. J. Ecol. 55, 677-89.
Eaton, E. L. & White, R. G. (1960). The relation between burning dates and the development of sprouts and flower buds in the lowbush blueberry. Am. Soc. hort. Sci. 76, 338-42.
Hayne, D.W. and H.A. Cardinell. 1949. Damage to blueberries by birds.Michigan Agricultural Experiment Station Quarterly Bulletin, 32(2): 213-219
Robertson, R. A. and Davies, G. E. (1965). Quantities of plant nutrients in heather ecosystems. J. appl. Ecol. 2, 211-9.
Smith, D. W. (1969). A taximetric study of Vaccinium in northeastern Ontario. Can. J. Bot. 47, 1747-59.
Smith, D. W. (1970). Concentrations of soil nutrients before and after fire. Can. J. Soil Sci. 50, 17-29.
Smith, D. W., Hilton, R. J. and Evans, W. D. (1968). Wild blueberry management in Ontario. Brch Rep. Agric. .Rehab. Dvel. (Res. Proj. 25028), p. 26.
Trevett, M. F. (1956). Observations on the decline and rehabilitation of lowbush blueberry fields. Misc. Publs Me. agric. Exp. Stn, 626, p. 21.
Rogers, R. 1974. Blueberries, p.12-15 in Gill, J.D. and W.M. Healy. Shrubs and vines for Northeastern Wildlife, USDA For Serv. Tech Rpt NE-9, 180pp.
Minore, D. A.W. Smart, and M. E. Dubrasich. 1979. Huckleberry ecology and management research in the Pacific Northwest, USDDA Forest Serv. Gen Tech Rpt PNW-93, 51 pp with table. (re big huckleberry V. membranaceum)
A Virginia Extension Serevice farm in Russel Co., Virginia, specializes on blueberries.
Arrange for a commission (or wholesale) for sales of L. Mackenzie's Blueberry Farm Cookbook: 365 blueberry recipes you can prepare year-round,(2001) Homewood Books, 2682 Mad Tom Road, East Dorset, Vermont 05253
Use the book to find ways to add value to the berry crop (e.g., dried using local natural gas, a syrup, or wines)
Giles picked 1 gallon per hour in 2003 using a 1/2-gallon cup hung at front chest with string around the neck; working with both hands; dumping cup when full into a gallon container.
Note on price and details 2008
Windrush Farm Blueberries :The Blueberries are ripe and ready to pick!!--U-PICK OPENS SAT. AUG 23,HOURS: Sat. *9-1 , Sun. *1-4, Tue & Th. mornings, *9-12 noon and Tue & Th. evenings *6-8 p.m., *Picking may begin up to 30 minutes prior to opening; closed Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Blueberries are $2.25 per lb. (includes tax). Additional information at www.Windrushfarm.com.
Perhaps you will share ideas with Rural System staff about some of the topics above.
Revisions: October 22, 2006, December, 2009