Blueberry Pruning and Adopting a Row

Earthen Heart blueberries are primarily of the “Jersey” variety, which is genetically the closest to wild blueberries; rich in anti-oxidants, very nutrient dense and very sweet.  A few bluecrops and other varieties are also planted around the property as well and, as blueberries cross-pollinate they are all technically a new variety.

There are 12 rows that make up a little over 1/3 of an acre.  Currently seven rows are up for adoption:  rows 2, 3, 4, 9, 10, 11 & 12.  When you adopt a row, you have priority access to care for them, clear the row, prune them, pick them, eat them and do whatever you want with them.  You should plan a minimum of 10-20 hours for the year.  You do not have to commit to doing all the work and we will step in to do what ever is not done but only after all other rows have been attended and we communicate with you.

Then you can leave half of what you pick or make a nice barter/trade offer.  In the past wine, pickles, venison and other trade items have been gladly received and then the person takes all the berries they picked home.

Ideally we will also be working collectively at times during peak season (usually late July to mid-August) to make jam, juice, wine, fruit leather and other value added products. If you work to process these foods as well you can camp out on the property (or stay in the house) for a few days and go home with lots of various blueberry products!

blueberry ice cream!

These berries have not been sprayed or fertilized since at least 2011 when we arrived.  Irrigation is also taken care of passively by the existing water of the area.  We are hoping to dig a pond and create a solar pump in order to be able to move water around but even in the drought year we had no major issues with water shortage.  Mulch from the forest and dark soil from the area can be added if needed but thus far the yield has been good to great.

lots of red shoots need to be pruned back

Blueberry pruning should happen late winter and early spring; after serious cold is over but well before buds have broken.

Here is a link to a pretty good resource for pruning blueberries from University of Tennessee Extension.

There are many other videos and documents out there.  Feel free to research a bit on your own and come up with at strategy for a row.

One or two of the larger canes can be removed at the base every year in order to allow for new growth. Most of this (much harder) pruning has already been done over the past 5 years.
Very few if any of these big cuts still need to be made (depending on the row). Loppers are needed for that job and we have some here.
mostly regular pruning shears are needed
young growth needs to be tamed
older and low branches can be removed

Once you visit one time and we talk and philosophize about the berries for a while you can feel free to tend to them as needed.  We have a small group of dedicated people already but really need a few more committed folks to get this little patch of berry heaven tended properly!  You will want a pair of shears, gloves and waterproof boots when you come out.  We might be able to offer you some of those items but please come as prepared as possible!  Reach out if interested in any of this – or (269) 447-1355.