Blueberries

Blueberries are an important part of our diet.  Six years ago when Norman started having Avasten shorts in his eye to stop the macular degeneration in his left eye, the doctor told him to take pills to strengthen his eyes so he didn’t lose his sight.  The presavision pills cost so much we did some research and found that blueberries gave the same benefits and some said more.   So we tried them since we were raising our own.  We just made sure each day he got at least a half cup of blueberries.  It worked, the doctor was very impressed with his progress and agreed the berries worked as well as the pills and he thought even better than the pills.  We froze all we didn’t eat fresh and when the frozen ones ran out we started using the dried blueberries.  We have had the dried berries ever since.   When we went on our last cruise I forgot to bring any blueberries with us.  We tried to get some on the ship but were lucky to get four a five a day and when we got home after a week without blueberries there was a marked change his Norman’s sight.  It took two weeks to get his sight back to where it was before the cruise so now we know for sure the blueberries make a big difference.  We still have a serving of the dried blueberries every day and have added the fresh berries as well.  I get a quart each week of the fresh and we both share those on our oatmeal each morning.  As Norman says ” We have a little oatmeal with our blueberries.”  We have a different eye doctor here, in fact he has two one for the macular degeneration and one for the cataracts and glaucoma and both doctors agree the blueberries are working wonders on his eyes.  Knowing this for sure now we started blueberry plants here last Aug.  These are special plants developed by the University of Florida to grow here in zone 10 and the three plants we got back in Aug and doing great. photo-on-2-16-17-at-11-05-am

This is the first one we put in and as you can see it is loaded with berries and more blossoms coming every day.   The other two bushes are not as good as this one but they too are doing fine and setting berries every day.  I have no idea how long the season for berries are here but it looks like it will be quite a while.  Norman waters them every other day and I feed them every other month so they are well cared for.  I talk to them every day!!

Monday we saw the berries from Chile were replaced by ones from CA and in some stores are going up in price so Norman suggested we put in more blue berry plants if we could get them now.  We went to Lowes and found some good plants so got the potting soil and cow manure and some mulch and Norman went to work.   When we first came here there was a flower garden along the side of the house.  We later turned that into a pineapple bed but the pineapples all ripened while we were in TN and the raccoons got all the pineapples and we had a mess with all the weeds that grew while we were away.  So we dug up the pineapple plants and gave them to Patty to add to her bed, she now has about forty plants that give her a pine apple each every year.  She eats lots of them fresh and freezes the rest and our bed was removed and turned back into lawn.  Of course our lawn was mostly weeds that the lawn service kept cut each week so it didn’t look too great but at least it was neat and the homeowner’s association was happy.  So Monday, Norman put back the edging for this garden and he dug up all the weeds and got that bed ready for blueberries.  That was no small job as he had no tools like we had in TN but with a hoe and a child’s trowel he managed to pull out most of the long weed roots.  A couple he had to use a saw on, those tap roots must have gone to China.  Anyways by afternoon I went out with him and we got the new soil in to supplement the sandy soil we have here and we planted three blueberry bushes in that bed. unnamed-2

This is the bed beside the house.  You can see my herbs in the raised bed outside the dinning room window and the rose bush in the conner.  You see these bushes are much shorted than the ones in the pots that we put in last Aug.  They are the same age as the others but they were cut back last fall and this is all new growth on them now.  I will not cut them back this fall and they will get to be four foot tall before I prune they at all.  They are healthy plants and loaded with berries already.  Berries only grow on new growth so as the old branches grow taller they send out new shoots that bear the berries.  photo-on-2-16-17-at-10-32-am

This is the first one in the line.  You can see all the berries already there and the new ones coming.  photo-on-2-16-17-at-10-32-am-3

This is the middle one.   You see it is very low to the ground and all the berries on this year’s growth but it does have quite a few berries and more are coming.  photo-on-2-16-17-at-10-33-am

And this one is the star of the garden.  It is loaded with berries and blossoms even if it is small.  As you see they are all good looking plants and the leaves are very healthy and strong.   Now if we can keep them wet enough and the soil acidic enough we should be able to grow our own berries again in the next couple years.   We do have enough room out back for three more plants and if these do well we will add those also.  We don’t have much land here but we manage to find a little here and there around the house.  Have a great day.

About Carol (Ouma) Petts

I am a retired teacher. I have taught all levels from kindergarten through college and have been retired now for over 20 years. The last ten years we have lived on a farm and lived off the land, growing our own food and canning for our extended family. Now we have sold the farm and are moving to Florida to truly retire. I guess I have always had a short attention span as this is our 11th move. We have moved from a small farm in New Hampshire, to more city type living, small business adventures, focusing more on traveling, Florida living, Georgia, and Tennessee farming and now back to Florida. My blog is a way to keep my children up to date on what I am doing and letting them know I am still alive and well. My children are spread across the country from New England to Florida, Nova Scotia to New Mexico and CA and several places between, They let me know what they are up to by commenting on my blog but they are so busy with their own lives most times I have to assume " no news is good news". Now I are starting on a new adventure so will try to give daily updates until we get settled into a routine. Then I know even if I am getting older and should settle down I will start looking for some new and exciting adventure to start. Welcome aboard. Norman died Oct 30, 2017 so I am continuing the journey alone with the aid of my children, grand children and great grand children. At present I am living with my daughter and we are 7 in one house and cover four generations. We range in age from 7 to 85 and are finding common ground, we are living proof that multi generations can live and function in a three bedroom house if they really want to. Soon my grandson will have his house built next door so we all will have a room of their own except for the seven year old twins who by choice will share a room.
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