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Saturday, 7 December 2019

Cassia, Cinnamon but not with Fish Mint

We start with another look in part 2 Cinnamon and cassia in the Spice it Up segment  plus growing an unusual mint in Vegetable Heroes;

SPICE IT UP

Cassia vs Cinnamon part 2
Last week in part 1 of this segment about cinnamon and cassia, Ian the herb and spice expert talked mainly about where and how, each of these spices are produced.
  • One thing to note: in America, Cassia Cinnamon is just called cinnamon and Sri Lankan cinnamon is called Mexican cinnamon.  
Keep this in mind when reading recipes on the internet or in American cookbooks.
Also, how to tell them apart just by looking at the cinnamon sticks, or feeling and tasting the power.
This time, we’re delving a bit deeper and giving out some recipe ideas also.
I'm talking with was Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au
Let’s find out.


There were some tricks of the spice trade to trap unwary customers.
Cassia is from a different tree mianly grown in China, Japan and Vietnam.
All of the bark is taken from the tree to make cassia quills. These look deceptively like the more expensive cinnamon quills but here's the difference.
Cassia on the left: Cinnamon on the  right
  • Cinnamon quills have many concentric layers
  • Cassia quills only have one concentric layer.
If you want to make Chai tea, think twice before using cassia cinnamon.
This type of cinnamon is too strong, but the true cinnamon, or what I regard as true cinnamon from Sri Lanka, is milder and sweet.
  • Think cheap spice, is it really worth it?
Remember unless that cinnamon powder that you bought feels smooth with any any grittiness, it’s probably been adulterated with cinnamon outer bark. 
Mulled wine jelly

INGREDIENTS

Rind of 1 orange
Rind of 1 lemon

2 cinnamon quills
6 cloves
1 vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped
100ml vodka
10 gold-strength gelatine leaves
200ml port
2 cups (500ml) red wine
2/3 cup (150g) caster sugar
300ml thickened cream
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Herbies Mulled Wine spices can be susbtituted for the cinnamon, cloves and vanilla bean.
METHOD

Place rinds, cinnamon quills, cloves, vanilla pod and seeds and vodka in a bowl.
Stand, covered at room temperature for 4 hours or overnight to infuse.
Once citrus mix is ready, soak gelatine in a bowl of cold water for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, transfer citrus mixture to a pan.
Add the port, wine and sugar, then place over low heat and cook, stirring, until sugar dissolves (don't let it boil).
Squeeze gelatine to remove any excess water, then add the leaves to the pan and stir to dissolve.
Cool slightly.
Strain the mulled wine into a jug, then pour into a 1-litre jelly mould.
Cover and chill overnight until set.
When ready to serve, whip cream then fold in ground cinnamon.
Unmould the jelly, then serve with cinnamon cream
If you have any questions for me or for Ian, why not write in to Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

VEGETABLE HEROES

Houttuynia cordata is Vietnamese Fish  Mint Herb
  • What is this fishy smelling herb with a hint of citrus which is also known as chameleon plant, fishwort an bishop’s weed?It’s also known as Dokudami which means “poison-blocking plant” and was often used for the exact same purpose.

Vietnamese fish mint is a flowering plant native to Japan, Korea, southern China, and Southeast Asia, where it grows in dark moist, shady places and along river banks.
Sometimes submerged deep in freshwater areas.
Houttuynia cordata: Fish mint
A somewhat invasive plant, it can be found growing on hills, fields, and even between cracks in asphalt.
In those countries it’s used as a leaf and root vegetable.
Vietnamese fish mint smells like a combination of fresh fish, mint and citrus, and has large amounts of the aromatic chemicals myrcene and undecanone.
These and many other naturally occurring chemicals are the basis of its huge list of medicinal uses.
According information about this herb it treats stomach aches, indigestion and swellings. Among other things.
  • Leaves can also be crushed to a paste to cure insect bites, rashes and itching.

The leaves are sort of heart shaped, and the plant itself grows to anywhere between 20 – 80 cm, depending on the climate and conditions you’re growing it in.
Vietnamese fish mint does have flowers in summer which are greenish-yellow and only 2-3 cm in size.
Fish Mint
Although mine has never flowered/
At first glance, a fishy tasting herb doesn’t seem all that appealing but, you can use in fishy flavoured dishes, with grilled meats, fish and noodle soups. 
The roots are rather interesting and grow to resemble a big ball of spaghetti which can be eaten raw or cooked.
Some people prefer the roots to the leaves because they have an aromatic flavour like ginger or galangal but without the heat.
How to Grow Vietnamese Fish Mint
Vietnamese fish mint is apparently an extremely common garden plant inf the UK and is able to withstand temperatures down to -150C.
However, the variety grown in England is the one with mottled technicolour splodges called Houttuynia cordata Chameleon, where the one grown in Asia is the plain leaved variety.
These plants grow best in very damp, rich soil either in the garden border or in the boggy margins of a pond, being perfectly happy with their roots entirely submerged in water.
In full sun, they’ll have a stronger taste and more intense colour on their leaves.
But if you’re keen on a milder flavour, then grow it in partial shade which will give you larger pungent leaves.
The plants are extremely vigorous and will spread out in all directions because of the vigorous roots system.
This plant is super tough, and in moister areas it really can be weedy, but if the plant strays too far, they’re pretty easy to pull out.
However, there’s no reason to plant it out into the garden because it grows really well in pots in a shady location but keep it moist.
That’s all there is to it.
There’ll be plenty of leaves for you, the chooks and the guinea pigs.
Cooking with Fishy Mint
Vietnamese fish mint can be eaten in all the same ways as regular coriander-sprinkled in salads, stir-fries and added to soups and stews.
It makes a pretty good garnish and is traditionally used in Cambodia, chopped up and sprinkled over a salad of sliced hard-boiled duck eggs with fried ground chillies, mint, chopped raw shallots and roasted peanuts.
In Malaysia the leaves are added to a spicy coconut laksa and in Thailand it’s used in heaps of salads, whereas in Vietnam, it’s used summer rolls.
  • SALAD with FISH MINT HERB

Sauce: 2 teaspoons rice vinegar (I use Chinkiang), 1teaspoon chilli oil, 1 teaspoon. sesame oil, 1 teaspoon. soy sauce
Marinate 10 minutes, not more.
Top with chopped coriander, spring onion, and finely chopped smashed garlic.
Serve.
Vietnamese summer rolls (serves 4 makes 12 rolls)
Dipping sauce
2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
1 tbsp fish sauce
Juice of ½ lime
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 tbsp chilli sauce 60 ml water
For the rolls
12 x 22 cm extra thin dried Vietnamese rice papers
18 cooked king prawns sliced in half lengthways
2 large handfuls of Thai basil leaves, mint and vietnamese mint leaves.
16 chive leaves
½ a cucumber cut into matchstick sized pieces
2 carrots grated
150 crisp lettuce leaves.
Make the dipping sauce by mixing the peanut butter, fish sauce, lime juice etc.
Working with one rice paper round at a time, dip it into a shallow bowl of cold water and leave it to soften for a minute.
Remove and lie on a damp paper towel and cover with another damp paper towel.
Continue until you’ve done 6.
To assemble the rolls take one round and arrange a few prawn halves tip with thai basil, mints chives, cucumber carrot and lettuce leaf (torn or folded to fit)
Fold the edge of the paper closest to you over the filling then fold in the sides and roll the whole thing up like a burrito into a tight cylinder.
Place on damp tea towel to prevent it from drying out. Repeat with other round.
Serve.
Why Is It Good for You?
When you’re allergic to a substance, your body produces histamine, a compound that initiates an immune response.
Studies have shown that Vietnamese fish mint has inhibitory effects on histamine release, possibly blocking it and reducing its effects.
This herb is high in antioxidants, promotes intestinal balance by discouraging harmful bacteria from thriving in the digestive system.
THAT WAS YOUR VEGETABLE HERO FOR TODAY

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Pruning 101: Deciduous vs Evergreen and Sea Urchin Hakea

We start with part three of a new series “pruning 101” with landscape designer Jason Cornish, in Design elements and a fabulous pom pom flowers in plant of the week.
DESIGN ELEMENTS
  • Pruning 101: Deciduous vs Evergreen.
Deciduous and evergreen plants have different pruning needs.
Have you ever had a shrub, say philadelphus that you thought wasn’t performing-no flowers for several years, so you transplanted it or pulled it out?
Perhaps you weren’t timing it right?
Philadelphus coronarius
I'm talking with Jason Cornish from www.urbanmeadows.com.au
Let’s find out.

Marianne's Tips on Pruning
Pruning group
Pruning method
Time of pruning
Examples of plants
Flower on current season’s growth
Old wood thing. New growth shortened.
Winter/early spring
Roses, abelia, buddleia. Hibiscus rosa-sinensis
Flowers on previous season’s growth
Immediately after flowering
Spring
Spiraea, Rondeletia,Prunus glandulosa, Acacia, Callistemon, Grevillea
Flowering on older wood and spurs
Maintain tidy shape
After flowering
Prunus cerasifera & other prunus species
For showy fruits
Cut away most of leaders
 After fruiting if needed
Cotoneaster, pyracantha, Berberis spp.
For showy foliage
Prune 50% of growth’ feed and water
Winter to spring
Abutilon, Aucuba japonica-gold dust plant. Buxus.  Hebe, Euonymus.
Non flowering evergreen
Do not prune back beyond green foliage into older wood
Late winter
Conifers

If you don’t know what shrub or tree that you’ve got, the best advice is to wait until it flowers or sets fruit, and then prune after that.
  • In the case of philadelphus, as soon as the shrub had finished flowering, cut out all of the stems which have just flowered.
  • Prune them back to around a third of their length. They will soon start to produce new stems which will provide the flowering stems for next year. Don’t just prune little bits off the end 
If you have any questions for me or for Jason, please write in to realworldgardener@gmail.com

PLANT OF THE WEEK

Hakea petiolaris; Sea Urchin  Hakea
There are many reasons to like a particular plant which affects our choices.
For some it’s the flowers or the perfume, for others it’s the colour of the leaves.
But for something completely different, others like a plant because of the sound the wind makes through the leaves of that particular plant.
Hakea petiolaris flower
So what will appeal with this plant?
I'm talking with Adrian O’Malley, horticulturist and native plant expert.
Let’s find out.

For grey leaves, and spectacular flowers, the hakea is something to think about if you want a native small tree.
Medium tree 5 to 11 m high. Leaves are pale grey, broadly  obovate in shape and range from 5-15cm long by 2.3-6cm wide. 
Endemic to the south west of Australia, occurring at the coastal plain, jarrah forest and wheatbelt regions, often at the ancient granite outcrops of Western Australia. 

The only thing to watch for is high humidity can make them short lived.
Still, if you collect the seeds, then grow some more from seed and you’ll have another tree quite quickly.

If you have any questions for me or for Adrian, please contact us or write in.

Cinnamon But Not With Watermelon

We start with a look Cinnamon and cassia in the Spice it Up segment , and growing your own watermelon in Vegetable Heroes;

SPICE IT UP

  • Cinnamon and Cassia part 1
Cinnamomum zeylanicum
Most if not all, cooks or chefs would’ve used cinnamon in their cooking at some time or other.
However, most likely the powdered form was used mainly.
What about the cinnamon sticks?
Is that where the powdered from comes from? 

If it's the bark of a tree, how does cinnamon get harvested?
Who rolls those sticks, is it by machine or by hand?
Let’s find out.
I'm talking with Ian Hemphill from www.herbies.com.au

  • There are two types of cinnamon, Sri  Lankan cinnamon or Cinnamomum zeylanicum, (pictured) and Cinnamomum cassia or just 'cassia."
  • They come from different trees and are grown in different countries.Cassia cinnamon is grown in China,  Japan and Vietnam.
  • Can you imagine all those cinnamon sticks that are from Sri Lanka, are all hand rolled by ‘cinnamon rollers.’
You will know be able to tell the difference between cinnamon and cassia.
  • The cinnamon scrolls have more rolls than cassia, and the cassia powder has quite a strong almost bitey flavour compared to the sweeter milder flavor or real cinnamon, if you test the powder on your tongue. 
  If you have any questions for me or for Ian, why not write in to Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville 1675

VEGETABLE  HEROES


Watermelon Citrullus lanatus
  • Did you know that there’s an Australian Melon Association?
  • What’s more interesting though is that watermelons are thought  to have evolved from a Citron, which grew in the Kalahari desert in Africa.

And who would’ve thought that watermelon fruit can be seen in drawings in Egyptian hieroglyphics dating back 5,000 years.
Why? Because the Egyptians believed that by placing the Watermelons in the burial tombs of Kings, it would nourish the occupants in the afterlife.
From Egypt, watermelon spread via trading ships to other countries along the Mediterranean Sea and then to Europe by the Moors people during the13th century.
  • Where Belong Watermelon?

No surprises that watermelons belongs to the melon family or cucurbits, and can be round, soccer ball-size or an elongated, egg shape with smooth, hard, thick, green or yellow skin or rind.
Some watermelons are strongly striped with dark green markings, and others are only faintly mottled dark green.

The colour of the inner cool, sweet and refreshing flesh varies from red to yellow.
Dark brown seeds are arranged around the centre.
What may be surprising to you is that the pale rind just beneath the hard skin, can be cooked and eaten like a vegetable. Now that's a surpirse!
  • In fact you can make rind pickles!

Sowing Watermelon
In temperate and subtropical districts plant out seeds or seedlings from September through to early January.
The same goes for Cool temperate districts, although December and January is better for seedlings rather than starting from seed.
In Arid areas, lucky you, you have from September through to March.
For tropical areas, another one you have to wait for the cooler months, April to July.
Growing Watermelon
Watermelon prefers to grow on new, fertile sandy-loam soils with a high humus content-that is, lots of compost and manures.
Plus they need lots of water and room.
The soil must be well drained.
Don’t try to grow watermelons in heavy soils.
Add Dolomite lime if your soil’s acidic because watermelons  prefer alkaline soils.
As with Zucchinis, make a mound full of that good stuff, and plant three watermelon seeds about 5 cm deep.
Watermelon flowers 

They may be thinned out later.
  • Don’t bother with pots, because they germinate so easily.
  • Another thing, don’t bother with saving seeds from the melon you bought from the supermarket, it’ll be a hybrid and your seed grown plant will be quite different.If you like saving seed, get an open pollinated variety of seed.

Where to Grow
Like Pumpkins, Watermelon needs plenty of room to grow sending out long vines and the fruits are quite heavy.
Watermelons also have very shallow root system and they need lots of moisture.
The soil should never dry out, and mulch helps with that.
Luckily, Watermelons are self -pollinating, so you only need one plant unless you are growing seedless melons which require a pollinator.

If you’re planning to grow your melons up a tepee unless you can work out a sling system using soft cloth or pantyhose, it’s probably better to grow them along the ground.
There are a few varieties of watermelon and I’m sure you’ve got your favourites.
The most popular is the Red Tiger –that’s a cylindrical melon with dark green skin and dark red, very sweet flesh. One of the few melons that have very few seeds.
Then there’s Viking- a medium to large, elongated melon.
Allsweet is large and oval-shaped.
My favourite is Sugar Baby, a small, round melon.
So how do you know when it’s ready?
Melons are ready to pick when the part in contact with the ground is turning yellow and the fruit sounds hollow when tapped.
Why Are They Good For You?
Watermelons are a good source of Vitamin A and C, the minerals potassium and iron.
Watermelons also contains high levels of lycopene a powerful antioxidant - lycopene is found only in small select group of fruits and vegetables. Watermelons are 90% water, that’s why they’re so refreshing.
AND THAT WAS OUR VEGETABLE HERO SEGMENT FOR TODAY 

Saturday, 23 November 2019

Pruning When and Bluebells

DESIGN ELEMENTS

When To Prune

Pruning is one of those jobs that eventually every gardener that grows anything will undertake.

Now that you’re committed to pruning that tree or shrub or hedge, what is the most important consideration do you think?
Do you know the name of the species of plant?
Some gardeners would have the ubiquitous plants like murraya, Viburnum tinus, star jasmine and Japanese box.
Others may be more adventurous and have Chinese fringe flower,(Loropetalum chinense), Bower vine (Pandorea jasminoides), or even a trumpet vine (Beaumontia grandiflora).

Do you know when it’s about to flower or set fruit?
So when should you prune it?
Well, today it’s about when’s the best time to prune.
Let’s find out.

I'm talking with Jason Cornish from www.urbanmeadows.com.au
Jason's tip is to wait until after flowering before commencing pruning as a general rule.
Pruning hedges is different because the flowers are not the feature, but the neatness is.
Depending on what the plant species is, for hedging, pruning occurs 2-3 times a year.
fore example, viburnum hedges.
For vigorous hedges such as Plumbago, you will need to prune 4-5 times per year.
  • TIP:If you don’t know what shrub or tree that you’ve got, the best advice is to wait until it flowers or sets fruit, and then prune after that.
  • Jason's General Rule Nr 2 : Jason’s strategy is lightly and often.
If you have any questions for me or for Jason, please write in to realworldgardener@gmail.com

TALKING FLOWERS

Bluebells
There are English (Hyacinthoides non-scripta) and spanish bluebells. (Hyacinthoides hispanica).
  • Family: Asparagaceae
Flowering in Spring, the bluebell is blue.  but, there are also bluebells that have a creamy colour or an off white hue and even pink.
It might not look like it but bluebells has six petals.  These petals are all fused up together forming a narrow bell shape.
The main differences between a Spanish bluebell and  English bluebell 
English bluebells flower on one side, Spanish bluebells flower on both sides of the stem.
English bluebell is stronger scented. Spanish bluebell has only a very slight scent.
Spanish bluebell grows well in full sun but English bluebells prefers at least partial shade.
Spanish bluebell flowers lift their heads towards the sun. English bluebells never do.

  • Superstitions:
Bluebells is a tool used for calling fairies.
“Ring” the bluebells like you would a normal bell and the fairies would come. But the downside is - if you actually hear it ring, it’s a superstition that someone that holds dear to your heart will die.
  •  In a vase.
Cut the bluebell stem straight across the base and place in shallow water in the vase. Any more water and the stems will soften and fall over.
Replace the water in the vase daily.
I'm talking with florist Mercedes Sarmini of www.floralgossip.com.au

Video was recorded live during broadcast of Real World Gardener on 13th November 2019

Pruning Saws and Blueberries

We start with a look at pruning saws and why you might need two in Tool Time,, growing your own super fruit in Vegetable Heroes; part two of a new series “pruning 101” with landscape designer Jason Cornish, in Design elements and a blue flowers in talking flowers.

TOOL TIME

PRUNING SAWS 
There comes a point in your pruning when secateurs, and loppers just won’t do the job.
Do you strain, grit your teeth and pull faces when cutting large branches in your garden that your garden loppers can’t handle?
Let’s face it, the size of the branch is too big but not big enough to call an arborist, so what do you do?   
Get a pruning saw and here’s why.
Let’s find out. 
I'm talking with Tony Mattson General Manager of www.cutabovetools.com.au

There are two main types of pruning saws and both have different purposes for different types of cutting.
  • Folding saw is typically straight and limited in length of blade-usually up to 200mm
  • Fix pruning saw is curved and used for branches that are greater in diameter than 200mm.
 The pruning saw blade is made as a metal blank and the teeth are then machined into the metal.
The metal is then hardened so they don't wear and chrome plated so they don't rust.
Chrome plating will wear off eventually, ( faster on cheaper blades,) so it's important to clean the blade after use and oil the blade with light machine oil.
Tony prefers not to use vegetable oil because it leaves a sticky residue.

Did you know that pruning saws have less teeth than most woodsaws?
The other difference is that the teeth on pruning saws are larger and sharper, making the job of cutting tree branches easier.

Tony’s Rule: the length of the pruning saw blade determines how big a branch you can cut. Half the length of the blade, is the maximum size of branch that you can cut.
Tony also recommends that , if the chrome coating has worn off, oil your blade after you have used and cleaned it.
If you have any questions for me or for Tony, why not write in to Realworldgardener@gmail.com or write in to 2rrr, PO Box 644 Gladesville NSW 1675.

VEGETABLE (FRUIT)  HEROES

Blueberries
Would you have thought that the second most popular berry after Strawberries are Blueberries?
Blueberries are the fruit of a shrub that belongs to the heath family which includes cranberries, azaleas and rhododendrons.

  • Did you know that Blueberries are one of the only natural foods that are really true blue in colour?
  • They’re sort of a bluey purple colour and have what’s called a waxy ‘bloom’ that protects the surface of the blueberry.
  • This bloom you can rub off with your finger if you’re curious to see what the true colour of blueberries are.

WE all know what blueberries look like from the punnets that are sold in the supermarket, but what do they look like when they’re growing on the plant?
Blueberry bushes, Floriade Venlo
Blueberries grow in clusters and come in sizes from a pea to a small marble.
Did you know that blueberries are one of the only fruits native to North America, but it wasn’t until the early 1950’s that blueberries were first brought to Australia.
Why’s that?
A couple of guys- Messrs Karel Kroon and Ralph Proctor from the Victorian Department of Agriculture trialled growing them.
But, Australia was out of luck there because these guys couldn’t get past the disease problems.
Twenty years later, the Victorian Department of Agriculture tried again.
This time, a chap called David Jones carefully planted and tended to his blueberry seeds and eventually successfully grew several blueberry plants.
Still, it wasn’t until the 1980’s that Blueberries were commercially available.
Where to Grow?
Blueberries like a sunny position but will also get by in some shade (but not too much, otherwise you won’t get too many flowers.
Blueberry flowers

The best time for planting is between late autumn and spring, when plants are sold bare-rooted and are less likely to suffer from transplant shock than at other times of the year.
You can buy containerised blueberry plants all year-round though.
What They Need?
Blueberries need moist soil, good drainage and lots of organic material.
Blueberries are acid loving plants that do best in soils with a pH between 4.5 to 5.5
If you can grow Camellias and Azaleas, you can grow Blueberries.
If you don’t have that ph you will have to add either elemental sulphur (where the pH is too alkaline) or lime / dolomite (where the pH is too acid). If the soil pH is higher the plants may show signs of iron deficiency.
If that sounds too hard, grow you blueberry plant in a pot.
Tip:Very important when growing blueberries. they have a very fine fibrousy root system, just like Azaleas, and this root system needs a porous medium in which to grow, a bit like coarse sand from where they came from.
If you have poor drainage, then grow them in a raised bed or at the very least, on a mound of soil and use lots of mulch.
Or, like me, grow them in a pot, but grow a couple to increase pollination.
So, a little bit fussy there.
When to Grow
Not all blueberry plants are alike, so choose the variety for your region carefully.
Did you know that there are three varieties of blueberry species?
  •  Highbush, Lowbush (wild) and Rabbiteye.

Highbush varieties can be broken down into either Southern Highbush or Northern Highbush.
Gardeners in the know about chill factor will now know, that means a certain amount of hours below 70C.
The highbush variety, grows to 1.5–3 metres, and has many different cultivars.
In Victoria, Tasmania and Southern New South Wales, you are more likely to find the Northern Highbush, high chill variety for sale in your nursery.
Winter chilling  is quite high -(over 1000 hours below 2°C) but they can still tolerate high summer temperatures.
  • The fruit of the Northern Highbush is harvested later in the season, from December to April.
  • For temperate areas which don’t get too cold in winter, you need to grow the warmer climate Southern Highbush and Rabbiteye varieties (originally grown in the southern states of America)
  • These do well on the NSW North Coast and produce high value, early season fruit. These varieties are harvested from June to February.
  • For Northern NSW and Queensland, you can grow a variety called Rabbiteye
  • The rabbiteye is a low chill, late season variety that’s best at coping with warm and humid summers

Rabiteyes can also cope with dry conditions, making it right at home in Arid climates too.
And where does the name come from?
Rabbiteye Blueberries

Supposedly during the ripening stage when the blueberry is pink, if you look closely you will notice the calyx appears to be little rabbit eyes looking right back at you.
  • IMPORTANT TIP: Blueberries fruit on the tips of the previous season’s growth.

I spoke to a blueberry grower last year and was told to let the shrub establish first.
That means, you must pluck off the flowers in spring so it doesn't set fruit, but the 3rd year you can let it flower.
If you let them establish for the first two years apparently the plants will last a lifetime!
 Once your Blueberry shrub is established new stems will come up and fruit for up to four years initially from the tip to down the whole branch.
From the third winter onwards, cut back old, dry stems every winter.
Cut them back either down to ground level or to a vigorous new shoot near the ground.
They first produce sideshoots from the base of the plant soon after flowering in spring. Then in early to midsummer, vigorous growths push up from the base of the bush.
Hard pruning in winter will encourage this renewed growth and result in larger, earlier fruit.
SHARPEBLUE
Generally a tough bush that needs constant picking of the ripe fruit or they’ll get too soft.
MISTY another tough evergreen variety.. It is an early fruiting variety, with light blue, medium to large fruit of excellent flavour.
Blueberries are pest free apart from caterpillars and birds, and if you prune the shrub so its open in the middle it reduces fungal disease.
Selecting and Storing Blueberries
Pick or buy blueberries that are firm and have an even colour with a whitish bloom.
Important:Blueberries are another fruit that don’t ripen off the bush.
Blueberries should be eaten within a few days of picking or buying.
Ripe berries should be stored in a covered container in the fridge where they will keep for about 1 week.
Bees are needed to pollinate blueberry flowers

Don't wash blueberries until right before eating as you’ll remove the bloom that protects the berries' skin from going bad.
If kept a room temperature for more than an hour, the berries will start to spoil.
Blueberries can be frozen.
Why are they good for you?
Blueberries have large amounts of anthocyanins,- antioxidant compounds that give blue, purple and red colour to fruit and vegetables.
Not sure what all the fuss is about? Antioxidants are very well known for their health benefits, especially their ability to reduce damage to our cells and Blueberries contain more antioxidants than most other fruits or vegetables
Blueberries are also a good source of Vitamin C, Vitamin E, manganese and both soluble and insoluble fibre like pectin.
A cup of blueberries will give you 30% of your RDA (Recommended Daily Allowance) of Vitamin C.
Plus they’re low in calories.
If you think they’re too fussy to grow,  for the same price as a cup of coffee, treat yourself to a punnet of Blueberries, eat them straight out of the punnet (wash them of course) and enjoy the health benefits.
AND THAT WAS OUR VEGETABLE HERO SEGMENT