Posted: 28/06/2014 at 12:31
Bekkie and anyone else considering this, test your soil pH before planting blueberries in the ground. Blueberries require a low pH of about 4 to 4.5 to do well. This is easily controlled in a container by using ericaceous compost but that compost doesn't work so well when added to the ground as the natural pH of your soil will always eventually dominate. If your soil is alkaline, then it can even kill blueberries or at best the crop will fall dramatically. Many growers (including myself) find that blueberries actually prefer to be grown in containers and the best advice I can offer is to use large ones. Fill with a mixture consisting of 50% John Innes formula No 3 (or, alternatively, topsoil), 30% ericaceous compost and 20% well rotted farmyard manure (bagged stuff from garden centres is ideal) all mixed with a handful of fish, blood and bone. After planting, mulch with a layer of ericaceous composted bark to help keep the roots damp at all times (blueberries have feeding roots very close to the surface and if these dry out, that's when you see problems.) Feed regularly with a liquid feed which is designed for ericaceous plants. For the first 2 years, also feed extra nitrogen (eg nettle 'tea') to encourage lots of long, leafy stems to develop - these will bear the fruit in future years.
I do, however, agree that for the vast majority of fruit (well, plants in general) that in the ground is always preferable. It's just that blueberries are fussy little b*99ers and do require special treatment.