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National Blueberry Month

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July is Blueberry Month!

blueberries-1031221-1920.jpgMaybe it's because Maine residents speak highly about them; but Americans love blueberries - especially in the summer season. The blueberry is a summertime favorite fruit shared in fruit salads, cheesecakes and oatmeal from April through late September. The blueberry is rich in antioxidants and low calories (one cup is just 80 calories!); but it also has other great qualities that may surprise you. It's time to eat more blueberries; start this month during Blueberries Month. 

5 Fun Facts About Blueberries

1. Eat blueberries and reduce memory loss: Studies show that blueberries slow cognitive decline as individuals age. It's possible that blueberries protect the brain by clearing toxic proteins around the cerebral region.

2. Blueberries are used as a natural food dye: You may notice that your hands stain after eating a bunch of blueberries; and if the blueberry juice gets on your t-shirt - consider that article of clothing ruined. American colonists used to boil blueberries mixed with milk to make grey paint.

3. The perfect blueberry isn't quite blue in color: The perfect ripe blueberry should have a dusting color to it; but don't wash it off until you are ready to consume them. The dusty look protects the berries from spoiling. 

4. There are two main types of blueberries: Highbush and Lowbush. Highbush blueberries are commonly found in the grocery store; whereas lowbush blueberries are smaller, sweeter and are often used in juices, jams and blueberry muffin mix. Then, there is a more unknown type called the hybrid half-high.

5. We can thank 10 U.S. states for producing 98 percent of blueberries for our consumption: Thanks to Maine, California, Florida, Oregon, Washington, New Jersey, Mississippi, Indiana, Georgia and Michigan.

How to Plant Blueberries

Blueberries are relatives to the azalea and the rhododendron plants and are grown on bushes planted in long rows. They thrive in acidic soil at a PH level of 4-5. The more organic matter the blueberry bushes have, the more likely they are to grow in the acidic soil. It's suggested that orchard growers mix the organic matter before planting the blueberry bush into the ground. Do not add fertilizer right away, instead fertilize the ground one month after planting the bush. Once this is done, a hole should be dug about 20 inches deep for the growing process to begin.

Bushes should be planted in early spring for summer consumption.

Orchard Management: Protect blueberry crops

Peak blueberry season runs from June to August; and birds and wildlife like to feast on blueberries just as much as we do. This summer, fruit growers will need to keep a lookout for robins, bluejays and other types of birds that are looking to make your blueberry bush their next meal.

dee-8050-65673.1327604302.1280.1280.jpgThe most effective way to protect berries in orchards is by draping blueberry bushes with bird netting. Bird nets from Deerbusters are easy to use and are lightweight for the homeowner to do without added hands. They are made from a polypropylene material that is loose fitting to easily drape over plants. Not only are these garden nets good for bird control; but they will also prevent deer from causing damage to the fruit bush, as well.

Celebrate red, white and Blue-berry Month this July; and follow the conversation on @Deerbusters Facebook page using hashtags #blueberries and National #Blueberry Month.