Regreting my Berkeley Blueberry Purchase

eating_my_yardMay 24, 2011

So, I bought a Berkeley Blueberry bush last night from Lowes for $14.99. In my head, I was thinking this isn't one of the ones on my wish list, but I couldn't resist because it was so healthy and big looking. Then I came home and read the reviews on blueberry cultivars and realized why it wasn't on my w/l. It says that it isn't suitable for home gardens, that it has only fair flavor, and is soft from the get go.

Anyway, is anyone growing a Berkeley and is happy with the bush? Or...?

Thanks for any comments.

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alan haigh

Berkely is one of my favorite as grown in southeastern NY. Very nice, big fruit with plenty of flavor. I can imagine it losing some zing if grown further south, but here most of the highbush have pretty similar flavor but larger sized fruit improves the texture, unless you enjoy a slight grittiness in your fruit. Picking is also bound to be quicker with big berries- and one day you will discover how time consuming picking can be.

Jersey and Darrow are the only 2 I'd recommend against growing here- J for flavor reasons, D for lack of production (but incredible brix, probably due to it's fatal flaw).

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 12:05PM
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ericwi

I have yet to meet a blueberry that I didn't like, so long as it had a chance to get ripe. You have to start somewhere-if the shrub looks healthy, I would go with it.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2011 at 12:44PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

I went to a major local nursery and the 3 to 4 year Berkeleys had much more fruit than any of the blueberry plants.At that time I was looking for a particular variety and didn't get one.Then I too saw a Berkeley at Lowes,again with much fruit and $10 less than the nursery charged.I planted it about two weeks ago.Let's help them grow,maybe we'll be pleasantly surprised.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 2:36AM
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ganggreen

I agree with harvestman, I grow it here in zone 5 Pennsylvania and like it fine. I don't necessarily agree that all of the highbush varieties taste the same but I can't really say that I'm unhappy with any of the 6 or 7 varieties that I have, they all just have slightly different characteristics.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 5:15AM
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alan haigh

No, they certainly don't taste the same- they're just isn't nearly the same range between ones I like best and least as their is in the tree fruits.

Once you start harvesting quarts they all go into the same container and you never see blueberries sold anywhere as a specific variety. Still, if blueberries were my primary home orchard thrill I'm sure I'd obsess on the specific qualities of each variety.

Some varieties I haven't tasted may be different and enough better to make a big deal about as Fruitnut has mentioned in, I think, sugarcrisp or bluecrisp (or whatever they derived from the awsomely successful Honeycrisp).

Berkely is one of my favorites for its plentiful large fruit and good sugar and texture.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 5:55AM
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molex

My Lowes had those same plants on sale for 7 bucks. I got two Legacy bushes, They also were carrying O'Neil and Duke.

    Bookmark   July 19, 2011 at 7:53AM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

Just an update on my Berkeley.I tasted the first berry this morning and liked it very much and a neighbor did too. It was mild but sweet.Our summer has been cool so far this year and the growing is about three weeks behind the usual,but things are starting to heat up.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2011 at 11:23AM
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Rainie1946

I just bought this plant on the recomendation that this was the garden persons' fav. Of three he told me he had growing in his yard....so when I saw your post it upset me, as I already planted it and it cost more than I wanted to pay so put back two other plants I was going to buy.....it is a nice size and looks good.
I decided if it does not make it thru the next winter intomspring, it's the last time I will attempt growing blueberries....
I'd already boughten 4 of the ones I always see in nursery s like blue crop, and jersey, I do not have any idea if they are good or not either, does anyone here have exp. with these names.?
Any advice one how to grow blueberries?
I live in walla walla Washington where we have hot dry summers once it gets past the rainy spring time.
The directions always say, FULL SUN or 3-6 hrs. Sun a day......
Thanks for any help.....the berkley may have berries tis yr. the others are smaller and I know it takes a while for them to produce. Rainie

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 9:00PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

Hi Rainie,
I'm also growing Bluecrop and Jersey.To tell the truth,I like them more than Berkeley.
I bought two scrawny Jerseys and Drapers from Home Depot a couple of years ago at season's end for $3.33 each.Now the Jerseys are the best growers I have,shooting up a lot of canes and the berries taste good too.
The Berkeley berries are rather mild and the skin seems a little thick.They do produce well.
Right now,I have more plants in containers than the ground.I mix about 60-70% Pine and or Fir bark mulch and the rest peat moss in a hole or container.Make sure your ground soil drains well.They need a pH about 4-5 to grow well but may get by with a little bit higher. Brady

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 10:51PM
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alan haigh

I said they taste similar, not alike. Let's just say I've never known anyone to separate varieties when harvesting. Blueberry gourmets can certainly enjoy the subtle differences in flavor but once you are harvesting quarts a day you may find the differences in flavor rather unimportant. Here the texture of Berkley is not softer than other varieties of similar size as far as I've noticed.

What really makes a difference in flavor is opening up the plants and giving branches plenty of light. The big berries on top of the plants are usually the sweetest- especially first pickings.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 6:24AM
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bamboo_rabbit(9A Inverness FL)

Harvestman,

Three years ago I would have agreed with you but not now. I pick and store my sweetcrisp BB separately for fresh use as they are far and away superior to the rest. Once you freeze them they are all the same but now for fresh eating I pretty much just use the sweetcrisps.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 8:04AM
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alan haigh

BR, forgot about your Sweetcrisps. Still awaiting a verdict on whether they can be grown in Z6. I sure will try them if I think they'll perform here.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 6:07PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

harvestman,
I checked in the patent information for Sweetcrisp and during Winter dormancy, it's hardy to -15C or 5F.It looks like it may get a little too cold in your Zone for them sometimes,unless they are physically moved during that time. Brady

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 11:37PM
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