Blueberries are one of the most nutrient rich foods in the world; they boost our immune system and can improve our overall health if consumed regularly. Not only are blueberries a convenient snack food and a tasty addition to many meals but they also contribute to our longevity in these three major ways:
- Heart health: blueberries are high in fiber, vitamin B6 and folate which help prevent damage to blood vessels, and buildup of cholesterol in the blood stream. This can do wonders in decreasing your risk of developing heart disease.
- Cancer prevention: blueberries contain gallic acid and two major antioxidants; vitamin C and vitamin A. These three supplements work together to help prevent tumor growth, decrease internal inflammation, and ward off cancer cells.
- Overall skin health: Regular doses of vitamins A, C and E provided by blueberries can repair sun damaged skin. Collagen, the protein that holds the skin together, relies on vitamin C as a crucial nutrient that works in our bodies as an antioxidant to help prevent damage from the sun. Vitamin C also supports collagen’s ability to smooth wrinkles and improve overall skin appearance.
Despite the many health benefits and nutrients from this superfood, blueberries are not always the most financially friendly food in many grocery stores. Thankfully, growing your own potted berries at home is an option. A blueberry plant generally lives for 30-40 years; this means sweet, organic, FREE berries for years to come after the initial planting costs. Follow these five steps and you will be enjoying fresh blueberries in no time:
Step 1: Note that growing blueberries in a container versus in the ground is very different. Blueberries grow in a specialized soil with low pH, so maintaining this pH in a pot is much easier. Use a 12 inch planter to pot the blueberry bush in. January or February are the best months for planting in California.
Step 2: Dig a hole that is 1 inch shallower than the plant’s root ball. Gently loosen the roots around the root ball and place the shrub in the hole. Finish filling the hole with water. Gently pack soil around the base.
Step 3: Allow the soil to drain water well.
Step 4: Make sure the plant is in the appropriate climate to grow successfully. This is key. If you are growing in California, make sure that you purchase a breed that grows well in a warmer climate.
Step 5: Water the plant 1 inch – 5 cm per week. Make sure to prune the plant as this promotes more growth and production. The berries will be ready for eating in June or July.