The Q&A Archives: Fig and blueberry varieties

Question: What is the best variety of fig and blueberry plants to use in my area and how should I prepare the soil for them?

Answer: Figs will need some winter protection in your region, but the following grow well according to Virginia Tech:
'Celeste'?pear-shaped, ribbed, sometimes with a short neck and slender stalk to 3/4 in (2 cm) long; the eye (opening at apex) is closed; the fruit is small to medium; the skin purplish-brown or bronze tinged with purple and covered with bloom; the pulp whitish or pinkish amber, of rich flavor and good quality; almost seedless. Main crop is heavy but of short duration. There is rarely an early, "breba", crop.

'Brown Turkey'?broad-pyriform, usually without neck; medium to large; copper-colored; pulp is whitish shading to pink or light red; of good to very good quality; with few seeds. The tree is prolific. The main crop, beginning in mid-July, is large; the early, breba, crop is small. This cultivar is well adapted to warm climates. It is grown on all the islands of Hawaii.

'Brunswick' ('Magnolia')?leaves narrow-lobed; fruits of main crop are oblique-turbinate, mostly without neck; fruit stalk thick, often swollen; fruit of medium size; bronze or purple-brown; pulp whitish near skin, shading to pink or amber; hollow in center; of fair to good quality; nearly seedless. Ripens over a long season. Breba crop poor; large, bronze-skinned; flesh light-red; coarse.

'Marseilles' ('White Marseilles', or 'Lemon')?fruits of main crop round to oblate without neck; on slender stalks to 1/4 in (6 mm) long; of medium size. Those of breba crop, turbinate with short, thick neck and short stalk; yellow-green with small green flecks; pulp white, sweet; seeds large, conspicuous.

Highbush Blueberries are best for your region and include Bluegold, Blue Crop, Earliblue, Lateblue and Jersey

Preparing the soil for planting is much the same as preparing for a home garden. To find out the pH and fertility of your soil, have the soil tested prior to planting by the Virginia University Soil Testing Lab. It is a free and valuable service. Any fertilizer recommendations from the soil analysis should be added and mixed in with the soil in the spring when the soil is worked up for planting. After planting, no fertilizer should be applied until growth has started. Apply 10-10-10 at 100 lbs/A (2 1/2 lbs/100 ft row, or 2 oz/plant) when growth starts, and a further 100 lbs/A of ammonium sulfate six weeks later. The second year, apply 10-10-10 at 200 lbs/A and two applications of ammonium sulfate at 100 lbs/A and two applications of ammonium sulfate at 100 lbs/A at 6-week intervals. The third year, apply 10-10-10 at 300 lbs/A plus the two applications of ammonium sulfate at 6-week intervals. The fertilizer application should be increased each year until mature bushes (six years) are receiving about two pounds per plant per year. These amounts should be halved if no mulch is applied. The fertilizer should be applied in a uniform application over the mulch. Fertilizers with 2% magnesium oxide (represented by a fourth number such as 10-10-10-2) are recommended.

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