– Blueberries grew where
I lived in the Midwest. But when I moved to
Tennessee in the early ’70s, nobody around here had
heard of blueberries. They might have heard of a
blueberry muffin or something. So we planted a whole lot
of blueberries back then, and they have turned out to
be a great crop for Tennessee. It’s about a week after
the summer solstice at the end of June, and the blueberries
are in full production. So today we’re in Clarksville at the Reynolds Family
Blueberry Patch. Goodness gracious,
this is a forest. Look at all these berries. Well hello, Sarah. – Hello. Hi.
– Nice to see you. – Good to see you again. Thanks for coming. – This is a beautiful
blueberry patch. – Thank you. – How many plants do
you think are here? – We have between 80
and 90 bushes here. – [Jeff] Wow, and how long have you been
growing blueberries? – [Sarah] We planted the first
bushes about 10 years ago and the more recent ones
about four years ago. – [Jeff] Wow, what kind
of varieties do you have? – [Sarah] Most of what we
have here are the rabbiteye. They do better in the
Tennessee climate. – [Jeff] I find that too. – [Sarah] And we have
several different ones. We have mostly Premier,
then we also have varieties called the Climax and
the Bluebell as well. – [Jeff] So what do you
do with all these berries? – [Sarah] We like to share them. We pick them and for
a couple years now I’ve been selling them at
the local farmers market. – [Jeff] Oh, cool. – [Sarah] Yes, and then we
also have friends and family come and help
themselves as well. – [Jeff] So in your experience
do blueberries require a lot of care? – They’re actually
pretty low maintenance. We put sulfur in the soil
when we first planted them. – The sulfur helps to
make the soil more acidic. Because blueberries have
to have an acidic soil. – [Sarah] But other than
that, we don’t prune often. We don’t have issues with
other pests so we don’t spray. So they’re very low maintenance. – [Jeff] Honeybees can’t
pollinate a blueberry flower. The blueberry flower is a bell
shape and it’s pretty long to get in there and
it takes a bumblebee to pollinate blueberries. – [Sarah] And we
have plenty of those. – [Jeff] And do
you have problems with birds getting the berries? – [Sarah] We did when we first
planted them and we tried putting nets around. – [Jeff] Oh, that’s such a pain. – [Sarah] It was, they got
caught, we got caught, all that. (Jeff laughs) So we just planted more and
now there’s plenty to share. It’s not overrun
with birds anymore. – [Jeff] And you have
a flock of chickens, they run out here some? – [Sarah] We do. This is a perfect shady
spot for them to take their dust bath and they like
to eat blueberries as well. (Jeff laughs) So you may see them
dodging in and out. It’s a good hangout
place for chickens. – Once you have an
established blueberry patch, the rabbiteye blueberries
are known to put out suckers that come off the main root. So here’s a root going
back to the plant. With this root then,
you can take a shovel and cut it right here, you do
this during the dormant season in the winter, and cut
that off and dig this up and put out another plant. This is how you can
propagate more blueberries off of your patch. You’ll have to keep it well
watered, that first summer. Sarah, tell us how you
pick the blueberries and how often they need picking. – Once they start to ripen
it’s pretty important to pick them
throughout the week. They ripen at pretty different
rates as you can see here. But they’re very easy to
pick once they’re ready. Just a gentle pull
should take it off. But when you’re picking
you wanna be sure that even certain ones like
this aren’t quite ready. They still have that
pink on the bottom. So you wanna be sure
not to tug on those until they’re ready. But these are good. – [Jeff] They just come
right off don’t they? – They do. And it’s also important to
not forget about the ones kind of hidden inside the bush. – [Jeff] So you have to sort
of dig for them a little bit. – You do. Most of the best berries I
find are kind of in the shady parts of the plant and they
come off just like that. – [Jeff] Oh, look at that. Mm, mm. So the blueberry plants
send up new younger growth. So your patch being
less than 10 years old, you haven’t had to take out
a lot of your old wood yet. But eventually you will want
to take out some of these older branches and let
the new branches come in. – [Sarah] Right, absolutely. – [Jeff] Well Sarah, I guess
you wouldn’t want this bush to get much taller, would you? – Right, especially if you’re
on the shorter side like me. At a certain point you
can cut those down. – And then these lower branches
too should be taken off so the berries aren’t
touching the ground. – [Sarah] Yes, absolutely. – Well, I find blueberries to be a gorgeous
ornamental plant. So you should plant
some in your landscaping just for their beauty. But the real beauty is
the delicious berries that you can get with really
not a whole lot of trouble. And so we really encourage
people to plant blueberries. They’re a great crop
for Middle Tennessee. We’d love to thank you Sarah
for having us out here. – [Sarah] Thank you. (upbeat music) – [Narrator] For inspiring
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