Today, let’s throw some light on the process of how to grow blueberries from seed as very few of you know about this method of cultivating these nutritious berries. Quite a few number of people believe that blueberries can only be grown with the help of young blueberry plants. But, this is not the only way of growing blueberry plants. You, with a little bit of assistance can grow these successfully at homes or anywhere in your garden.
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Loaded with flavanoids, blueberries are considered a power house of rich nutrients that help the body to fight off inflammation and diseases. Below, we have listed a few important and easy steps that will enable you to grow these yummy berries easily, either outside or at home. Do look below and get started.
Steps in extracting and preparing the seeds of blueberry
If you are looking for steps on how to grow blueberry using seeds, then here is the first and very important step. First of all, your blueberry seeds have to be extracted and prepared before you can start sowing these and grow young seedlings. You have to procure the blueberry seeds from such berries that have stayed in frozen condition for at least three months.
Here are a few steps in blueberry seed extraction and preparation:
1. Procure ripened blueberries in summer
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The best time to obtain blueberries is summer when these berries have reached the ripened stage and appear fleshy with blue-blackish color. You can check if these have ripened up by using your fingers to press on the flesh and check if these squish easily. You need to gather as many blueberries as possible as this will increase your chances at better cultivation using seeds.
2. Storage of blueberries in the freezer
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As a second step in growing blueberry plants from seeds, you need to freeze these in the freezer compartment of your refrigerator for at least three months. This is done as a part of cold stratification of the seeds. Cold stratification helps the seeds to germinate nicely and successfully. But before freezing the berries, make sure to store them in plastic bags with seals.
3. Thawing of blueberries
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Once you have successfully finished this important step of cold stratification, its time to take out the berries from the freezer and thaw them. Thawing has to be done at room temperature and is a vital step.
4. Blueberry seed extraction
The seeds of blueberries can be extracted using any of the three methods, namely: extraction using the kitchen blender, food grinder and mashing the berries in a bowl.
Blueberry seed extraction using the kitchen blender
Once your blueberries are thawed to room temperature, its time for extracting them using your kitchen blender.
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There are a few important steps in this regard that you must follow:
1. Put 3/4th cup of blueberries in the blender. The blueberries must be thawed before placing these in the blender.
2. Now, pour water to cover 3/4th of the blender.
3. Run the blender at maximum power for at least 15 seconds.
4. Let the mixture stand for five minutes before you see the blueberry pulp particles suspended in the water while the seeds would appear at the bottom of the blender.
5. Now, take a portion of the blueberry pulp out of the blender and add some fresh water to the mixture.
6. Let the seeds sink once again to the bottom and settle.
7. Again, take out a little of this mixture while adding some fresh water to the blender. Again, seeds must settle down.
8. Keep doing this procedure until you see all of the pulpy mixture is gone and only the seeds have remained at the bottom of the blender.
9. Take out the seeds and spread these out on a dry towel for drying.
Blueberry seed extraction using the food grinder
Another method to extract blueberry seeds is using the food grinder. Let’s look at few of these steps:
1. Put 3/4th cup thawed blueberries in the grinder and then grind these properly.
2. The ground pulpy mixture must then be poured in a mason jar.
3. Now, wash the grinder well so that no residue is left inside. Pour the remainder of the mixture into the jar as well.
4. Then, fill 3/4th of the grinder with water and put on the lid. Now, the grinder has to be shaken thoroughly. Do this for a couple of minutes.
5. Let the pulpy mixture stand and settle down.
6. Repeat the same steps (from 5 to 9) from above.
Blueberry seed extraction using a bowl
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Look at this simple method of blueberry seed extraction:
1. Once your blueberries are thawed, place 3/4th cup of such berries in a bowl.
2. Using a sturdy pedestal, mash the berries properly.
3. Keep mashing until a pulpy mixture has formed.
4. Pour the mixture into a mason jar.
5. Wash the bowl with water and let it also pour down the jar so that no pulp remains inside the bowl.
6. Follow the same steps in pouring off the pulpy mixture and drying up the seeds on a dry towel.
5. Collection of the seeds after extraction
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After you have extracted the blueberry seeds using the above methods, its time for collecting them. If you have used a bowl for extraction, then, as the last step, you have to pour the mixture through a wire mesh colander. Gather all the small seeds that appear reddish brown in color. Then, take a dry towel or a newspaper and spread the seeds.
Important steps on sowing and germinating blueberry seeds
After you have extracted and gathered your blueberry seeds, its time for sowing and seed germination.
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Also Read: How to grow Roma Tomatoes in Pots
Please take a look below and follow these steps:
1. Filling the pots
First of all, choose pots in which to grow your blueberries. Thereafter, you have to fill them with potting soil made out of coarse sand, peat and loamy soil. The pots chosen may have any depth, but its better when you buy 12 inches pots. The soil mixture must have equal proportions of the above mentioned ingredients (peat, loam and sand).
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After the pot is filled with potting mixture, its time for spreading the blueberry seeds all over the soil surface. Take a pinch of seeds and sprinkle them. This has to be followed by spreading a layer of milled peat over the seeds. But, make sure that you don’t cover the seeds completely.
2. Showing sunlight to the pots
After the seeds have been sowed in the pots, you must take them out in the sun to show them sunlight. However, do not expose the pots to direct sunlight. Instead, cover them up with thin newspaper sheets to offer shade.
3. Watering the seeds
Watering is a vital step in gardening and no plant can survive without water. The blueberry seeds sowed in the pots must be watered to keep the soil moist. Use a sprayer to water the top layer of the soil instead of a glass that can lead to seed damage, owing to a strong water pressure.
4. Removal of the newspaper
It would usually take about a month for the seeds of blueberries to germinate. After you see them germinating, you must remove the newspaper that you used as a shade. This is needed so as to acclimatize the seedlings to the usual outdoor environment.
5. Thinning the blueberry seedlings
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After removing the newspaper, you have to let the seedlings grow to at least 2 inches. Don’t overcrowd the pot with more than two blueberry seedlings and thin them to two per pot. In doing so, make sure that you clip off the weaker seedlings and keep the strongest one for further growth and propagation.
6. Fertilizing the seedlings
Once the seedlings have been trimmed or pruned, you have to feed them with fertilizer of your choice, preferably an organic one. However, fertilizing should start only after two to three weeks. You can also use a liquid fertilizer.
7. Transplanting the seedlings to your favored place
Once your blueberry seedlings have been trimmed and pruned, its time for transplanting these at spots like the garden bed or indoor containers. Before you transplant, take time to take the pots to a shaded place and water them on a weekly basis. Do not water more than this. The depth to be maintained must be one inch.
Also Read: How to grow Kiwi Fruit in your Garden
How to grow blueberries from seed – Some important care tips
Blueberry plants need to be cared for. Some of the most basic steps you need to follow are:
1. Watering is essential
Never over water your blueberry plants. This will drown them and cause clogging. Water in balance. You can utilize just two inches of water weekly.
2. Pruning blueberry plants is very important
Pruning or trimming or thinning is important to eliminate unhealthy seedlings. Winter is the most appropriate time to do this. During the first year of its plantation, a blueberry plant flowers have to be clipped off completely. Doing this allows the plant to focus all its attention on producing berries. Trimming also prevents the spread of diseases.
Once the first year is over, you need to prune the blueberry plant every year. Trim any dead or decaying branches or twigs from the base of the plant. While trimming the plant, you may notice discolored or patchy spots on the plant. These also have to be removed by pruning.
3. The blueberry plants need to be fed with fertilizers
Try using a natural or organic fertilizer that will not harm the plant. One can buy alfaalfa seed meals for this purpose. This will encourage the productivity of the plants. You need to fertilize twice, once during the start of spring and again once spring is nearing its end.
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Harvesting begins only in the latter part of July or at the start of August.
Blueberries are packed with nutrients and can be grown and propagated easily from seeds. However, these plants need proper care and may perish if you do not follow the above mentioned steps. Give them enough sunlight and heat, enough water and fertilizer. In no time these will grow healthy and will be ready for harvest. Hope you all will have no problems now that you know how to grow blueberries from seed. Believe us… it’s not that difficult!
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