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Cranberries: Tasty, very healthy, undemanding and harvested at the end of May

Do you know the Kamchatka blueberry? You can harvest it already in May, often before the first strawberries ripen in your garden. Although the dark blue fruits taste similar to classic blueberries, they are not round, they have an elongated shape. Kamchatka blueberry is the name used for Kamchatka honeysuckle or blue honeysuckle, even though it has nothing to do with blueberry from a botanical point of view. You can easily grow an unpretentious shrub in your garden. Read how fast it grows, how to plant and prune honeysuckle, and what its tasty fruits contain.

You can look forward to harvesting Kamchatka blueberries as early as May.

| Photo: Shutterstock

Kamchatka honeysuckle or Kamchatka blueberry:

Source: Youtube

The blue cone-shaped fruits of the Kamchatka bilberry are harvested from the end of May to the beginning of June. They contain a large amount of vitamin C and group B vitamins. They are rich in the minerals iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. They act as an antioxidant, have an antibacterial and diuretic effect. They also help to cleanse the body or prevent sclerosis and cancer. At the same time, growing Kamchatka blueberry is not difficult. It is very undemanding and easily withstands frost. In addition, it is minimally susceptible to diseases and pests.


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This blueberry is easy to grow

Hardy shrubs from the honeysuckle family originally come from Siberia and the Kamchatka Peninsula. Here, people liked them for their unpretentiousness.

Unlike Canadian blueberries, which need acidic soil and the addition of peat for successful growth, Kamchatka honeysuckle will also grow in regular garden soil.

The Kamchatka honeysuckle has the same blue and tasty fruits as the blueberry.  They're just not round.The Kamchatka honeysuckle has the same blue and tasty fruits as the blueberry. They’re just not round.Source: Shutterstock

Kamchatka blueberries thrive in both acidic and alkaline soils, so there is no need to fertilize with special preparations that lower the pH of the soil. They grow well in the sun and in partial shade and tolerate relative drought.

Conversely, waterlogged soil is not good for them. They are hardy and bloom with bright yellow flowers as early as February, when it is usually still cold.

The sweet fruits, which look and taste like oblong blueberries, have a thin skin and are harvested when the flesh turns a dark blue color. In garden centers you can find different varieties of Kamchatka blueberries. They differ in the size of the bushes, the time of flowering and ripening of the fruits, as well as their taste and size. Choose or combine several species and you can look forward to a rich harvest.

Honeysuckle is often grown here as an ornamental shrub. But only Kamchatka honeysuckle has edible fruits of great taste. Other ornamental species of honeysuckle have inedible to poisonous fruits.

How to grow a Kamchatka blueberry

You can grow the Kamchatka honeysuckle on its own in a flower bed, create a hedge out of it due to its abundant foliage, or keep it at home in a container on the terrace. It usually grows as a shrub growing to a height of around 150 cm. At first it grows upright, later it becomes quite bushy.

It stands out for its longevity and frost resistance. “You can harvest up to 3 kilos of juicy oblong fruits from one Kamchatka blueberry bush,” Deník said in the article Fruit you may already be reaping.


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Kamchatka blueberries are ideal for planting in autumn or early spring. A distance of 1.5 to 2 meters is sufficient between the bushes. Keep the soil moist in the first season, in subsequent years watering is only necessary during extremely dry periods. Plants grown in containers need to be watered regularly.

How to plant Kamchatka honeysuckle was described by the website Gardens decorexpro:

  • Soak the plant before planting for 30 minutes into the water
  • Dig a hole as deep as the root ball and 1.5 times wider
  • Remove the plant from the pot and insert into the prepared well
  • Cover with soilgently firm and water
  • Add mulch with a layer of organic matter

“When planting, remember that in a few years the bush will become very powerful. Every four years it is therefore advisable to rejuvenate it more vigorously. Thanks to it, it will not only have new growths on which it will bear fruit, but also the crown will shine through and the blueberries will be tastier. Honeysuckles bear fruit on one-year shoots, often already in the second year after planting,” he recommended rejuvenation iRecipe.

This is how the Kamchatka blueberry blooms:

Prune in autumn, when the honeysuckle leaves are falling, but early spring is also suitable, before the branches start to sprout again. Kamchatka blueberries begin to bear more fruit from the age of three. Fertilize them every year during the growing season.

How to make a cut

“When cutting, remove horizontal branches (mainly those near the ground) and those that grow overhanging. Leave approximately 12 main branches. Shorten the branches that you leave above the point of branching, so they will start to form strong fruiting shoots. For old bushes, you can perform a radical rejuvenation cut at the end of autumn. Shorten all main branches approximately 30-40 cm above the ground, not shorter! The plant will sprout new branches, of which you will leave 12-15 of the strongest and healthiest,” he described the procedure House and garden.

We harvest spring blueberries:

Source: Youtube

Grow Kamchatka in pairs

The Kamchatka blueberry belongs to pollinated plants, so it needs a second suitable pollinator. Therefore, it is recommended to plant at least two bushes and different varieties at the same time. “Amur, Altai, Modrý Triumf, Fialka, Morena and Remont are among the most commonly cultivated and popular varieties here. It is good to combine, for example, a variety that fruits earlier (Altaj, Fialka) with a variety that fruits later (Amur, Blue Triumph),” he advises House and garden.


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You can also consider hand pollination to increase the yield. “Kamchatski blueberries bloom from the end of winter to very early spring, when the pollinating insects are still not very active. Hand pollination can be done by lightly brushing the flowers with a small soft brush,” the website advises RHS.

Propagation of Kamchatka blueberries

Kamchatka blueberry bushes are propagated by cuttings.

Kamchatka blueberry makes great jam.Kamchatka blueberry makes great jam.Source: Shutterstock

“In summer, look for young shoots that are about 20 cm long, without flowers or fruit. Cut them off with sharp, clean scissors and place them in pots with soil. Leave the cuttings to overwinter in a cool and bright place. In spring, plant the cuttings in the garden, where they will root easily with sufficient moisture. Propagation by grafting is even easier. Even in this case, find a young shoot that is about 20 cm long, without flowers and fruits. Bend the shoot down and fix it in the soil. Once the shoot takes root, you can separate it from the mother plant,” the website described the procedure Plantura Garden.

What to do with the fruits

Tasty Kamchatka blueberries can be processed like any other fruit from the garden. But it is definitely best to eat them right away and fresh. But you can also freeze them, preserve them, or make a cake out of them.

Pudding:

They will taste good in pudding, as a dessert decoration, in white yogurt sweetened with a spoonful of honey, or they make excellent jam. Just be careful that the birds don’t harvest your crop, which also like these blueberries very much. It is therefore a good idea to protect the fruits with nets during ripening.

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