Blueberry harvest with globe thistle flowers--July, in my veg garden

Remember the story about Johnny Appleseed spreading fruit trees across the country?  Well, that causal approach didn’t work out for me. 

My peaches rotted.  My raspberries got some sort of  terminal root virus.   

But this year, I’ve got a bumper crop of fruit–thanks to blueberry bushes.  Almost every other day we pick enough fruit for dish of yogurt, a pan of scones, or a plate of pancakes.    And these homegrown blueberries taste  just divine.  

Finally, a fruit I can grow well. Blueberries are easy in the South--

So how did we turn the corner this year?  Bird netting–and lots of it.   In years past (and my little bushes are several years old) the birds feasted on this super easy fruit crop.    This year we netted early and well.  We pick fruit though the net and won’t remove it till the end of the season.   Good coverage is essential.  Otherwise birds will be tempted and get trapped inside. 

Black bird-netting saves the harvest

Three more things to remember about growing blueberries: 

  •  Full sun–or as close you can get
  • Acid soil
  • Grow at least two plants–three is better–for pollination

My plants are a dwarf called Blue Sunshine.  I bought them years ago from Wayside Gardens, but couldn’t find them listed today.    Instead try the NC farmers market for plants that thrive in our area.  And last time I was at Camellia Forest  in Chapel Hill they had a wonderful selection of blueberry plants.   

Sturdy blooms last a long time on this Globe Thistle--

Now to the other blue in my fruit and vegetable patch–my tall and stately Globe Thistle.   Neither a fruit or a vegetable, it’s there because it’s fun to look at.   Bees also love it–good for pollination.  But when I placed my vegetable garden slap in the middle of the back yard (to take advantage of the best sun), I decided it needed lots of eye candy.  

Veg gardens should be pretty too--I surrounded mine with a brick border and flowers

Iris and pansies for spring, daylilies for early summer and my thistle just keeps blooming and blooming.  I love looking out the kitchen window at this plant. 

So what’s fun to look at in your veg gardens?  Any big tomatoes or peppers yet? 

PS–Speaking of blueberries and yogurt–did you know it’s easy to make yogurt at home?  Check out this link to my friend (and blog-reader) Linda’s website for a short video about making your own yogurt.   With homegrown blueberries, it would be out of this world.