Blueberries. They are loved for their ability to protect consumers against ageing and cancer. Photo: Dorling Kindersley
Despite both incredible financial and nutritional benefits that come with blueberry fruits farmers in Kenya have not yet discovered this fruit which is grown widely in North America and Europe.
Blueberries are not native to Africa, but Kenya has a large population of Europeans and Americans, especially in Nairobi, and they might welcome a favorite fruit that is not available for thousands of miles.
Soil: Blueberries do well in acidic soil. The soil pH should ideally be between four and five. The more organic matter added, the more tolerance to acidity blueberries will have.
The blueberry is a shallow-rooted plant so it requires a soil that hold moisture, but also drains well and doesn’t stay wet.
Planting: Holes of about 20 inches deep and 18 inches wide are required. Thereafter set the bush, with its roots spread out, at a depth of one inch more than it grew in the nursery and pack the hole tightly with soil.
Fertilizer: Apply fertilizer one month after planting, not at time of planting. Then apply 1/2 ounce of a 10-10-10 fertilizer in a band around the plant 6 to 12 inches from the crown.
Care: Mulch to keep shallow blueberry root systems moist, which is essential. Apply a 2-4 inch layer of woodchips, saw dust, or pine needles after planting.
Prune plants in late winter or early spring before new growth begins.
Harvest: Don’t rush to pick the berries as soon as they turn blue. Wait a couple days. When they are ready, they should fall off right into your hand.
If you plant two-year-old blueberry plants, they should start to bear within a year or two
Some of the health benefits of blueberries include: protection against ageing and cancer, maintain brain function, may lower blood pressure, have anti-diabetic effects, and prevent heart diseases among many.