I can always remember having blueberry bushes growing up as a child. I also remember my family dabbling in strawberries, peach trees, and blackberries. There were only two fruits that grew effortlessly and vigorously, blackberries and blueberries. I don’t remember much about our strawberries production. Maybe because the experience was so short lived due to the very reason of poor production. Or maybe it was too much maintenance. I’m not sure. But the peach trees did produce. Just not the plump fruit that when bitten into juice runs out and down the corners of your mouth. They were small, very small. I’m sure the pit made up 75 percent of the fruit. They made great throwing objects for me and my brother. Often at each other. However, I do remember a family member collecting what little fruit those trees were able to produce to make wine. At least they didnt go to complete waste.
For me, summer just wouldn’t be the same without blackberries and blueberries. Our blackberries grew wild along a fence separating our property and a neighbors pasture. Over time they have grown full and hearty. Not only the bushes but the fruit too. Goodness, some of the berries measure from fingertip to knuckle. There’s just something about fresh picked wild blackberries that make this country girl want to get out the flour and rolling pin! In the summer my dad will call and say, “Ashley, I’ve been picking blackberries this morning. I picked over a gallon. Want me to bring it over?”. What he really means is, “Ashley, will you please make me a blackberry pie?”.
Ohhh the blueberries. I’m pretty sure they’re supposed to be called bushes but ever since I was little our blueberry bushes just kept getting bigger and bigger. My dad is 6’7″ and these bushes now tower over him. Goodness at what point are they considered trees?!
These three bushes produce so many berries it’s crazy. It doesn’t seem like 3 bushes could provide that much fruit. Although, our neighbors and friends pick off of them and they still provided us with a bountiful supply. Each year you will see new shoots peaking out of the ground beneath the lowest blueberry limbs. Their mint green and gorgeous purple stem cannot be mistaken. Ahhh they are so pretty. Each year they’d come up and each year my dad would clip them.
Ever since I got married these traditional summer pickings became next to extinct. That is until we started transplanting blueberry shoots from a mother plant of one of the three plants from my dad’s house. We started with transplanting just one shoot maybe 2 years ago. I told Daniel it probably wouldn’t start providing fruit for 3 years. I was wrong. It started bearing fruit last year. While not a lot but setting the bar a little higher each year to come. This past weekend we transplanted 6 shoots. I’m pretty sure I saw that at the hardware store they sell blueberry bush transplants for almost $7 each. Wow, we are already in the ‘good’ with a savings of around $42. Perfect! I can only hope that these will take hold and flourish as the bushes did back at home. For these bushes to grow abundantly and provide my growing family with fresh juice, jam, and treats would sure be a God send. Not only be a potential source of income for our homestead.
If you’re interested in transplanting blueberry shoots this should be done in early spring before (as my dad would say) the sap is running. If you’re unsure when that is you can always look up transplanting blueberry shoot recommendations for your area online.
Next you have to find a mother plant.
Hopefully, a friend or family member has a mother plant with available shoots for your picking. Of course this would save you money. Once you find a mother plant with shoots you’ll want to take a shovel and go out from the base of the shoot about 6 inches to a foot.
Then dig up all the way around the shoot keeping that same distance from the base to loosen the shoot free. You will be cutting through its root system at this time. Don’t worry they should take hold once you get them back in the ground.
Okay, you have your shoot(s). Find an area with full sun for your transplant. Now you’ll need to dig a hole double the depth and width of what you dug up with your shoot. This allows fresh loose soil for your newly cut roots to move more easily through.
At this point you’ll need to fill the hole with loose dirt until your transplant sits flush to the ground. Once this is complete you’ll want to fill in around the plant with soil. Viola! You have successfully transplanted a blueberry shoot! Now it’s very crucial to water your transplant. Don’t wait. Water heavily the day you transplant. If you can’t transplant the day you dig up your shoots you may be able to wait a day or so if you wet the roots and soil then wrap it up with a plastic grocery bag. Planning ahead and doing it in the same day is best. Now you can mulch around the base to hold in moisture and your done!