Blueberries could make a good fruit crop for home gardens since they require small space. At present, blueberry plants are not common in home plantings because the plants require highly acidic soil conditions for best results. Few backyard soils in Ohio are naturally acidic enough to grow quality blueberries. The grower of blueberries must, therefore, make extra effort to acidify the soil before plant establishment. Then, the acidity level must be maintained over the life of the planting. Due to the special concerns associated with the rather demanding soil requirements of growing the crop, the soil must be amended with organic matter and the pH must be corrected before proceeding to establish the planting.
Blueberry plants begin to produce fruit in the third season; however, they do not become fully productive for about six years. Once in production, it is necessary to protect the fruit from loss to birds.
Blueberry bushes have very shallow root systems and are very sensitive to water fluctuations. They need at least 1 to 2 inches of water per week. In dry seasons, supplemental watering is essential to obtain good yields of high quality products. However, do not apply water after early September unless soil is very dry.
Blueberry plants normally do not need to be pruned for the first three years. Remove blossoms that appear in the year of planting and second year after planting to stimulate vigorous growth.
It is important to know the anatomy of a blueberry bush before attempting to prune blueberries (Figure 2). During the fourth year, the dormant plants should be pruned in mid-March. At this time, remove dead and weak branches and thin, terminal wood with small buds. Prune interior crossing branches to admit light to the center of the plant.
In the second through twelfth years, apply 1 to 1.5 pounds of ammonium sulfate (2 to 3 pounds of 10-10-10) per 100 feet of row each year for fertility and acidity maintenance. Apply 0.5 pound of the ammonium sulfate at bloom, and the remaining 0.5 pound 4 to 6 weeks later. If plant leaves become chlorotic, apply 2 to 3 ounces of ferrous sulfate or iron chelate around the base of the plants each year.
UPDATE: A summary of my berry-growing efforts is here http://arizonavictorygarden.blogspot.com/2009/05/growing-berries-in-arizona.html