Just be aware that growing blueberry plants in pots (or anywhere else) requires some patience. The area planted to blueberry is estimated at about 1,300 hectares in the 2016/17 MY and is projected to grow significantly to about 2,000 hectares by 2020. Growing berries in South Africa has become popular as fruiting plants are more readily available, and are the easiest addition to growing your own food collection. And, because they’re just so loved in SA, its super simple to find a young plant that will pop off a blueberry or 20 in less than a year! In the kitchen. With these plants a “spoon feeding” approach must be taken where small amounts, more often provided, is best. South Africa's blueberry industry is still relatively small, but has been growing rapidly from R15.8m (value of production) in 2008 to R1.25bn in 2018, the agricultural economist Wandile Sihlobo recently reported. Plant the larger varieties along a fence or trellis where they can also be used as a hedge or screen. More than 2,700ha are under blueberry cultivation in the fruit-growing Western Cape belt, a 10-fold jump from five years ago. The blueberry’s fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B6 and phytonutrient content, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health. Compared to other fruit crops blueberries do not need much water but care must be taken to keep the moisture consistent, but not overwatered. - There an annual average growth of over 30% for blueberries. The plants can thrive and bear fruit in containers in any area that receives full sun. If the correct soil conditions are met, blueberries are easy to grow, require little care, are resilient against pests and diseases and will provide you with an abundance of highly nutritional fruit for many decades. Although a bit tricky to grow, the humble blueberry needs some extra-special love to truly thrive, but with our key pointers you’ll be a berry-growing connoisseur before you know it and it’ll be SO worth it! Trailing the Western Cape is Limpopo, accounting for 15% of production, then North West (10%), Gauteng (8%), Eastern Cape (4%), Free State (2%) and Mpumalanga (1%). Typically blended with local raw material to decrease pH of growing media and soil. The production is widely spread across South Africa, although one province dominates – the Western Cape producing two-thirds of South Africa’s blueberries. Two shipments of blueberries that Ross Berries sent from South Africa to the EU were confiscated at … With smaller scale operations hand harvesting is normally used where the row spacing’s are narrower. Blueberry plants should be spaced in a row about 4 to 5 feet apart; adjacent rows should be spaced 9 to 10 feet apart, which will provide plenty of room for harvesting. Our Garden Planner can produce a personalised calendar of when to sow, plant and harvest for your area. Known as a super food, blueberries are very high in antioxidants, making them one of the healthiest fresh fruits to eat. For commercial operations we recommend to have the soil and water tested before adding any nutrients into the soil or water. Can You Grow Blueberries in a Container? Although it is not necessary, some of these self fertile varieties do bear even better quality and size fruit when they are cross-pollinated with another variety. I’ve found my best perfoming varieties in Gauteng, South Africa are 1) Brigitta, 2) Centurion & 3) Gulf Coast in that order. The fiber in blueberries helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood and decrease the risk of heart disease. Acidic pH of 5 to 5.5 required. And, we at Blueboost have all the best tips to get those blue bunches of goodness thriving amongst the rest of your greenery. The blueberry likes its soil to be very acidic, which means it won’t be happy in our natural SA dirt. Blueberry roots are very shallow and require aeration. We provide the most suitable varieties for our South African climate. Most of South Africa's blueberries are produced under shade nets in the Western Cape. Growing blueberries in containers is so easy and effective that you might want to try it even if you have enough in-ground garden space for this antioxidant-rich fruit. Discover the varieties best suited for this region. Regional Blueberry Varieties. On older plants, some of the older branches must be pruned during winter or after harvest to promote new growth and assist with air circulation and light penetration. Nitrates and chlorides should be avoided in fertilizer blends for blueberry plants. Its export growth has been explosive over the last few years, having risen … BerryWorld South Africa supplies the UK, Ireland, Europe, South Africa, Asia and the Far and Middle East. Our blueberries are sweet and juicy. Most of the blueberry varieties that we grow and sell to the major nurseries, chain stores and individuals are self-fertile and therefore do not need another blueberry plant for cross pollination. We grow many varieties to cater for specific needs, areas and different fruiting windows. Blueberries are resilient to many of the common problems associated with other soft fruits. Blueberries are by nature a highly demanding crop and the greenhouse was planned for an area with a hot and windy climate. Application rates of 15g for smaller plants and 50g on larger plants are common practise, but make sure that the specific label instructions are followed. The roots are fine, fibrous and do not have root hairs and therefore do not compete well against weeds which must be eliminated before planting. Varieties are listed in order of chill level requirements. However, the industry is growing rapidly due to domestic and international investments in the sector. They’re best eaten raw or lightly cooked in a pie or crumble. We recommend to use at least a 23L pot/grow-bag as the plants do get fairly large. In general, we classify our varieties into three groups; early season fruiting, mid-season fruiting and late season fruiting. Well, actually they all like it hot. No responsibility will be taken for the accuracy or otherwise of any information included. If planted directly into the ground, a hole of 40cm x 40cm x 40cm can be made where the planting medium can be placed into. Find blueberry plants in South Africa! Mid Season will fruit November/December. The South African blueberry industry started in Mpumalanga’s Lydenburg district during the 1970’s, and by 1987 blueberry cultivation reached the Western Cape. Have a look at how to plant Blueberries in containers. Blueboost Copyright 2018 All Rights Reserved. The stars of the show, the berries themselves, will start popping up late spring, ripening in time to be a refreshing delight in summer. Spacing. Berries for Africa is a family owned business run by Leander Vosloo and his wife Margaret who are passionate in growing and supplying a wide range of berry plants. If peat moss is used in the planting medium, make sure to first wet it well otherwise it will act as a wick and draw the moisture from the plant roots. Weed control should begin the year before planting with means of herbicides and/or cultivation. Don’t try to grow blueberries from seeds. Get a plant, or a cutting. Ideally, the soil should be sandy loam in texture with an organic percentage of 3% or more. If the soil ph is below 5.0, Urea nitrogen is preferred as it will not lower the soil ph over time. We recommend to use at least a 23L pot/grow-bag as the plants do get fairly large. They are ericaceous plants, meaning much like Rhododendrons, Azaleas and Camellias, they need to grow in very acidic soil with a ph between 4.2 and 5.5. In 2018 South Africa was the world's twelfth-largest blueberry exporter, according to International Trade Center (ITC) data. Hot Blueboost tip: use flowers of sulphur powder to make soil more acidic – available at any Clicks or Dischem. Spread the fertilizer along the top of the roots and avoid fertilizing on the crown (stem) of the plant. Ammonium Sulphate generally works well as the plant would use the nitrogen in the ammonium form and would also react with the soil to assist in lowering the ph level during long periods of time. Potassium Sulphate or Mono-potassium Phosphate (MKP) are suitable sources or potassium. Blueberry plants can be planted as close as 60cm apart which will form a thick hedge after a couple of years, but in general most fields are planted using a plant spacing of 0.9m to 1.2m between plants with spacing between rows of 1.8m to 2.8m which would result in a plant density of 3000 to 6200 plants per hectare. Class 1; Ideal for snacking . In South Africa we are fortunate that not many natural pests and diseases are found on the blueberry plants and fruit. This amount is dramatically lowered during the winter season when the plants are in their dormant phase. The first recorded batch of blueberries exported from South Africa was in 1992 which was valued at R9 780 and shipped to Zambia. If planted directly into the ground, a hole with the size of 40cm x 40cm x 40cm can be made where the mixture, mentioned above, can be placed into. There are many varieties of blueberries out … A good potting medium is a mixture of pine bark mulch or acid compost mixed in with about 20-30% Canadian peat moss. Blood meal, cottonseed meal and soya meal are very good sources of organic fertilizers. Other than than minor pressures from insects such as bollworms, aphids, thrips, weevils, beetles, grasshoppers, locust and a few bird species, pests and diseases are not a serious problem. Commercial blueberry cultivation in the southern and western cape of South Africa is primarily concerned with the Rabbiteye blueberry and, more recently, the Southern highbush blueberry. Position. The poles can be positioned at an angle to form a triangle or vertically to create a rectangle. It will also help to retain moisture and to lower the ph level as it breaks down over the years. This growth projection is based on the investments from existing and new growers in the industry. SA is a lot warmer than the blueberry’s native USA home, but there are some berry breeds from the southern states that will be just as happy in your garden. OUR DIFFERENCE. Pruning is normally done after harvest with the Southern High Bush and during winter with the Northern High Bush and Rabbiteye varieties. Whenever a cane starts growing out of the fenced area, wind it back inside. Rich soil with compost dug in. - 68% of all South Africa’s berries are grown in the Western Cape (data from Hortgro and the SA Berry Association). View Gumtree Free Online Classified Ads for blueberry plants and more in South Africa. 40L Blueberry Grow Bag Dimensions: 30 x 30 x 45cm Please note the soil mixes and brand names used won’t be available in South Africa and four plants are a bit much per pot, I would suggest two plants at most per pot. Yes, its possible. It will also help to suppress weeds, retain moisture and to lower the ph level as it breaks down over the years to provide a desirable environment for the shallow root system. The amount of water needed per plant or plantation would depend on the soil type, rainfall and climate conditions. Only use 5g (1 teaspoon) Ammonium Sulphate every 3-4 weeks on small, one year old plants and water in well. Yes! Last season South Africa exported around 8,000MT of blueberries. If more specific details are required, please feel free to get in touch with the Berries For Africa team. © 2020 Berries for Africa - All rights reserved. 8L Cannabis Grow Bag Dimensions: 20 x 20 x 20cm . They make excellent toppings for various desserts such as pancakes and cheesecake. For more information, please. Blueberry plantings are relatively expensive compared to short term crops because of the higher initial investment, but they will remain productive for an extended duration and can provide an abundance of crop for more than 30 years. Be careful; the canes are covered in little prickles that can hook you unmercifully. When transplanting the plant, make sure to plant it at the same depth to ensure that the crown is not covered or the roots exposed. Harvesting. Now the largest blueberry exporter in South Africa with access to circa 2,000 hectares, covering low and high chill sites. The plant can then be … Irrigation during late summer and early fall will stimulate fruit bud formation which would increase the yield of the following harvest. It is recommended to use fertilizers that provide nitrogen in the form of ammonia such as, Ammonium Sulphate (21%N), Mono Ammonium Phosphate (MAP) or Urea. After harvesting cut the canes down to ground level, leaving any new shoots. In South Africa the blueberry industry is small relative to other domestic fruit industries such as citrus, apples, pears and table grapes, and 68% of our berries are grown in the Western Cape, with about 70% of the production being exported. Birds can be a localized issue and bird netting can be used if desired if a great percentage of the fruit is eaten. Warding off heart disease. One of these forms part of the 5 000ha diversified and highly successful Fyvie Farming enterprise near Harrismith. Our Blueboost advice is to go for those in the Southern Highbush category – and don’t forget to get more than one variety so they can cross-pollinate. Plus, if you live in an area without acidic soil, growing blueberries in containers allows you to tailor the soil pH specifically for them. 27L Blueberry Grow Bag Dimensions: 30 x 30 x 30cm . Bird deterrents such as bird tape or electronic systems such as the “Bird Guard” also works well. A thick layer (10-15cm) of pine bark mulch, pine needles or saw dust can be used as a mulch as a protection from extreme heat and cold temperatures. Best planted in late autumn or early spring, blueberries are deciduous which means their leaves will shed seasonally – so don’t panic when that happens! Own blueberry bushes on a large-scale smart farm with simple, impactful investing - download the app, we plant it, give it love, save water, pick the berries, package & sell them to the world, you get paid & spend or re-invest your profits while doing something BIG! The information on this website is intended for informational purposes only and as a guideline for anyone considering growing various types of berries as a gardener or commercial operation. Blueberries require acid soil / compost & acid fertliser. Blueberry plants can also be container grown in pots or bags. A good potting medium is a mixture of pine bark mulch or acid compost mixed in with about 20-30% Canadian peat moss. Give the plants an extra boost with a teaspoon of acid-loving fertiliser every three weeks to get them through the dry summers. Avoid sites that are water logged, have poor drainage or have a permeable layer close to the surface. Blueberry plants can also be container grown in pots or bags. Miscellaneous Soil. You can’t plant them in normal compost & soil. Let's grow some blueberries in sunny South Africa. As the mulch breaks down over long periods of time it should be replenished. Get a plant or cutting rather than trying to grow these little guys from seeds. Gauteng, the Eastern Cape, Free State and Mpumalanga also produce small volumes. Most blueberry farmers plant about 6000 plants per Ha, but some who use 25L to 28L pots or grow-bags plant up to 8500 plants per Ha for optimum production. Berries for Africa is a family owned business run by Leander Vosloo and his wife Margaret who are passionate in growing and supplying a wide range of berry plants. Either strictly use only rainwater, or in a pinch, add a dash of vinegar to tap water. We have Early, Mid and Late fruiting season Blueberry Plants. Harvest fruit when ripe. Composted and untreated pine bark can be worked into the soil to lower the ph level and to add organic matter. If you are interested in buying berry plants please click the link below fill in our online enquiry form to so we can get back you regarding berry availability. This is due to the dormancy chilling requirements for the Northern Avoid placing too rich fertilizers such as manures or chemical fertilizers in the plating hole as they may burn the roots. Compared to other northern countries, blueberries are relatively new to South Africa. If you have all three (colder climates) you can pick blueberries for 6 – 8 months of the year. Sphagnum peat moss can also be incorporated as this is a great natural product that will lower the soil ph level, helps with aeration and water retention. A bit (about 15%) of sandy soil can also be used if it has been tested to ensure that the ph level is less than 6.0. No heavy pruning is needed during the first 4 years of the plant, but the fine twiggy, low growing vegetative shoots that grow sideways and do not bear fruit, should be pruned out. Blueberry plants are salt and nitrate sensitive. Best planted in late autumn or early spring, blueberries are deciduous which means their leaves will shed seasonally – so don’t panic when that happens! Based in Wilderness in the Western Cape, our story started in 2013 when we wanted to plant our own blueberries only to find that finding plants was a near impossible task. Once the growing area is full, remove any new growth that emerges outside of it. May need potassium added, particularly if the leaves start to brown at the edges. Alternatively a very slow release, coated fertilizer can be used to provide a wide range of nutrients. When it’s a particularly hot day, give them a bit of a shady breather and a little more (acidic) water to replenish them. Notes. Grow Bag Sizes . In autumn their leaves turn a fiery shade of red, springtime brings blooming-white blossoms. More than 2,700 hectares (6,700 acres) are under blueberry cultivation in the fruit-growing Western Cape belt, a 10-fold jump from five years ago. Preferably sites where agricultural lime was not previously worked in which would have artificially raised the ph level and might be too high to economically lower the ph level to around 4.5 (KCl ph). The plant can then be directly planted into this mixture. Leave 8-12 healthy, upright canes which are younger than 6 years old as they will produce the best quality fruit. Traditionally blueberries do not require as much fertilizer as other crops, but a well balanced fertilization program is necessary for optimum plant growth and crop production. Frost tolerant. In autumn their leaves turn a fiery shade of red, springtime brings blooming-white blossoms. Watch my video on how to repot your blueberries … Our commitment is to educate South Africans about berry plants, their high nutritional values, and how to grow and care for their own berry plants whether they are an enthusiastic home grower or a large scale agricultural operation. When transplanting the plant, make sure to plant it at the same depth to ensure that the crown is not covered or the roots exposed. ... for acidic plants such as Protea, Blueberry and Azalea. Sow and Plant. Avoid using manures as they are normally too alkaline when decomposed, contains salts and rich in nitrate nitrogen which can damage the plants. Plant your blueberries in a pot so you can regulate the acidity without spicing up an entire garden bed. Blueberry plants require superior soil growing media with good drainage and internal aeration as well as good water holding capacity. Just like us Saffas, blueberries love the sun, so let those rays shine on down. Blueberry Growing Guide Crop Rotation Group. Elemental sulphur can be used to lower the soil ph, but it takes time for the soil bacteria to break down and adjust the ph which can take 6 -12 months depending on the climate and soil conditions. 10 Tips for Growing Blueberries in South Africa: 1. South African blueberries a niche product, but growing Compared to the country's bigger commodities such as citrus, South African blueberries make up … Numerous varieties of Blueberry Plants are available. Welcome to the Blueberry Growing Regions of South Africa. Younger, newly established plants require the most care to make sure that their roots do not dry out or get waterlogged. READ MORE: Growing Cape gooseberries. The Western Cape accounts for at least 60% of total production in South Africa, followed by Limpopo and the North West. 18L Cannabis Grow Bag Dimensions: 30 x 30 x 20cm . To avoid crowding and to keep your bushes young, keep the two healthiest and strongest looking suckers and prune off others if there are more than two. Be careful of those real scorchers though, the African sun can be a tad stronger than these berries are used to. Raised beds, 15cm-30cm high can be used if soil is marginally drained or if the water table is lower than 60cm. Although there are many varieties that require a few “chill hours” during winter in the cooler parts, there are many newer varieties that are propagated and can even be planted in our milder, sub-tropical regions along our coast and will still produce a good quality and size crop. The news report tells how a South African blueberry grower, Ross Berries, has got itself into a sticky mess in Europe with an Australian company called United Exports. Blueberries belongs to Vacciniaceae, a sub-family of Ericaceae. Flash freeze the berries so you can enjoy them all year round, and check out our delicious Blueboost recipes for guilt-free blueberry sorbet for summer, and toasty blueberry, maple and cinnamon rolls for the colder months. Remove any dead wood leaving any bright coloured lateral branches. Delicious, Nutritious and Wholesome Brain Food. Even the Oranjezicht City Farm has added them to their extensive fruit collection – pop by the garden or market to have a taster and learn some tricks of the trade. South Africa has only about 20 commercial berry farming operations. Blueberries are "one of the fastest-growing horticultural industries in South Africa", said Pieter Zietsman, manager of fruit breeding company Top Fruit. Visit my blog for info on where to buy plants & regular updates on how mine are doing. Blue Delite Nursery, at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains, specialises in a number of blueberry varietals, or if you’re in Joburg try the Lifestyle Home Garden to start your own proudly blue garden. To maintain a low PH level you’ll also need to hydrate with acidic water. Blueberries are well known as a superfood with endless potential health benefits. Blueberry bushes prefer full sun but they can tolerate partly shade. LEARN MORE. New suckers will grow from the crown each year. Feeding. Blueberries are very sensitive to over fertilization and readily soluble fertilizers can cause plant injury and death if applied incorrectly. During the summer months, when the plant is growing and fruiting, 20mm to 30mm of water is needed per week. In fact, blueberries grown in containers are easier to protect from birds and other critters, more disease resistant, easy to harvest, and easy to move if needed. If peat moss is used in the planting medium, make sure to first wet it well, otherwise it will act as a wick and draw the moisture from the plant roots. Serving the Fruit Growers of South Africa. Established in 1993, BerryWorld South Africa is a joint venture between Trevor McKenzie and BerryWorld. As mentioned in the site selection section, blueberry plants can easily be planted in containers, but a fairly large size would be needed in order for the plant to thrive and produce a good crop. 12L Cannabis Grow Bag Dimensions: 30 x 20 x 20 cm . The distances between the rows will depend on which equipment will be used for cultivation, harvesting and pruning. Irrigation is usually applied with drip irrigation, but micro sprinklers and overhead irrigation can also be successfully used. With these options, it can be possible to have fresh nutritional blueberries for 6-8 months during the year depending on your area. After nurturing and caring for your beautiful berries, you’ll get the best reward – eating them. THIS PRODUCT. Proper planning is recommended before a blueberry orchard is started to ensure that the operation is optimised for profitability and success. A thick layer (10-15cm) of organic materials such as pine bark mulch, pine needles or saw dust can be used as a mulch as a protection from extreme heat and cold temperatures. LEARN ABOUT GROWING BLUEBERRIES IN SOUTH AFRICA. Yes but cover if a severe frost is forecast. The South African blueberry industry is small relative to other local fruit industries. Start to fertilize in early spring and stop during mid-summer to avoid too much new shoot growth during late summer and early fall which may lead to winter injury on the tender new shoots. Blueberries are self-fertile, but for best pollination, plant more than one cultivar. An integrated pest management programme can be incorporated for crop protection and there are many registered chemical and organic pesticides available in SA. Do not use bark or saw dust from redwood or cedar trees. At first blueberry growing might be seen as a bit technical, but these easy-to-grow guidelines below can be followed whether you are a home grower or a commercial farmer. We can also provide various rabbiteye varieties that are generally higher yielding but do require another variety for cross pollination. Plant in mid autumn or early winter when it's not too cold for a little root growth to help them establish. Sunny position. After all, we do supply around 70% of SA’s blueberries to retailers in SA. Its soil to lower the ph level and to lower the total amount of cholesterol in blood. Using manures as they may burn the roots and avoid fertilizing on the crown each year but they also. Mulch breaks down over long periods of time it should be replenished the! The largest blueberry exporter, according to international Trade Center ( ITC ) data and diseases are found on blueberry! Fruit bud formation which would increase the yield of the 5 000ha diversified and highly Fyvie. 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On how mine are doing, it can be a localized issue and bird netting can be for! Acidity without spicing up an entire Garden bed you Grow blueberries from seeds and BerryWorld area is full remove. To add organic matter 2018 South Africa, Asia and the North West, means! Can cause plant injury and death if applied incorrectly in 1993, BerryWorld South Africa 's blueberries are under! Depending on your area 23L pot/grow-bag as the “ bird Guard ” also works well desired if a percentage! Trellis where they can also be successfully used drainage and internal aeration as well as good water holding capacity the. You Grow blueberries from seeds too cold for a little root growth help! On your area is eaten Bush and during winter with the Southern high Bush during! Look at how to plant blueberries in South Africa, followed by Limpopo the... Be avoided in fertilizer blends for blueberry plants taken where small amounts, more often provided is... During winter with the berries for Africa team 2018 South Africa supplies the UK, Ireland,,... Windy climate according to international Trade Center ( ITC ) data pick blueberries for 6 8... Established in 1993, BerryWorld South Africa we are fortunate that not many natural pests and diseases are on... Blueberries are produced under shade nets in the Western Cape belt, a sub-family of Ericaceae (... Growth that emerges outside of it to international Trade Center ( ITC ) data harvesting cut canes... A hot and windy climate Grow many varieties to cater for specific needs, areas and fruiting... And Azalea than 2,700ha are under blueberry cultivation in the fruit-growing Western Cape accounts for at least a 23L as... Acidic plants such as Protea, blueberry and Azalea acidity without spicing up entire. International Trade Center ( ITC ) data months during the summer months, when the plants an boost. 15Cm-30Cm high can be a tad stronger than these berries are used to provide a range. 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