Blueberries Too Bitter

no ripe blueberries

Q: I have two blueberry bushes. The last several years the fruit has been too bitter to eat. How can I sweeten them up?

A: Here are three tips:

1. Make sure they are in full sun all day. Blueberries use light to make sugar so the less light, the less sweet the berries will be.

2. Don’t fertilize heavily. Use a slow-release organic fertilizer like Milorganite, Holly-Tone or E. B. Stone. Fast-release fertilizers like 10-10-10 push the plant to produce more fruit than it can ripen successfully.

3. Keep birds off. They recognize ripe fruit better than you and they start “picking” each day earlier than you. Don’t drape netting onto the bush. Construct a square scaffold from PVC plumbing pipe to keep the fruit and twigs away from the netting. Make sure the netting goes down to the ground on all sides. Check the netting each day to be sur no birds are caught. A berry is ripe when it falls into your hand when you touch it.

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