Picking Blueberries: When and How To Harvest Your Fruit - Backyard Boss
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Picking Blueberries: When and How To Harvest Your Fruit

Blueberries are a delicious treat and are easy enough to grow in your garden! But, once your blueberries have started to grow, you will need to know when they are ready to be picked and how to harvest your berries. This article will give you advice on the best time to pick your blueberries, what tools are necessary to use when gathering your blueberries, and how to harvest this fresh fruit.

Growing Blueberries

Blueberries ripening on the bush. Shrub of blueberries. Growing berries in the garden. Close-up of blueberry bush, Vaccinium corymbosum.
Image Credit: vaivirga via Shutterstock

There are a few things you need to remember when growing your blueberries, for example, they produce fruit each year but it all depends on how you care for them. Blueberry bushes love sun and will produce more fruit if they soak up as much as they can get!  These plentiful bushes prefer acidic, well draining soil, and regular pruning. With everything considered, blueberries are known to be one of the easiest fruits to grow.

Pruning

It is important to prune your blueberry bushes each season in the winter. By doing this you will keep your plant healthy and it will yield more amazing blueberries. Pruning your blueberry bush is not very difficult. All you need to do is cut off dead, broken, short, weak, and spindly shoots, stems and leaves.

When Is It Time To Pick Your Blueberries?

fresh blueberries
Image credit: MaraZe via Shutterstock

Blueberries need time to grow and get extra ripe and juicy, so don’t be in a rush to pick them once you see them. There are a few ways to tell if they are ripe and ready to be picked.

The first thing you will notice is the color. Your berries will have turned a stunning shade of blue. As your berries grow they will change colors starting off as light pink or white, gradually turning to green and finally blue. They are not ready until there is no white/pink or green left on them.

Another way you can tell your blueberries are ripe is if they are falling off the bush. If you have to tug at the blueberry to get it to come off, then that means it needs more time to mature.

The last and best way to tell your blueberries are ready is the taste test. Texture and flavor are most important when it comes to your berries. If it has a sour, tart taste, wait awhile until you decide to harvest.

What You Will Need

When it comes to picking your blueberries there are a few things you will need.

  • a bucket
  • harvest blanket
  • metal fruit harvesting comb (optional)

You shouldn’t be wearing gloves. You want to be able to feel the berries because they are very delicate and wearing gloves increases your chances of squishing them.

Now It’s Time To Harvest!

Modern family picking blueberries on a organic farm - family business concept.
Image Credit: AstroStar via Shutterstock

Now that your blueberries are all blue and you have your bucket and blanket, its time to start harvesting your berries. Picking your blueberries is not going to be hard at all because if they are ripe they will fall right off the branches.

There are three simple ways to pick your blueberries, first is the “tickle” method. Simply place a cluster of blueberries in your hand and tickle them with your fingers like you would if you were tickling a baby. The ripe berries should fall off the stem right into your container.

You also have the option to use a harvesting comb if you have one handy. To use this tool first get the teeth of the comb underneath the foliage of the blueberry bush. Then, with a sweeping motion of your arm, pull the comb upwards. The fruit should fall right off! This is one of the faster ways to pick blueberries

The third method you can try is holding the branch with one hand and with the other gently pick the berries off of the stem and into your palm. Make sure to not plug or tug on the berry or hold them too tightly with your fingers because they will break. You should be able to brush your finger along them and reap the benefits of a big harvest!

It’s That Easy

Berries are an amazing fruit to grow and eat each summer, they taste great and are a healthy snack everyone can enjoy. It is important to know when your blueberries are ready because you don’t want to pick them too soon. You want to make sure they are completely blue in color with no green or pink left in them and you want to make sure they are soft but not mushy when you touch them. But when in doubt you can always try the taste test to tell if they are ready to be harvested.

You also now know what you need to harvest your blueberries and how to harvest them without ruining them by pulling them off of the stems.

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