Blueberries are ripe; some better than others.
I have not been very good about providing blueberry information lately even, but here is a summary of my latest experiences:
For those that are new or haven't paid any attention to my posts in the past but may be interested now, I have Duke, Berkeley, Bluecrop, Blueray, Elliot, and Draper blueberry plants.
In 2006 I started with about 10 each of Duke, Bluecrop, Blueray, and Elliot along with 3 Berkeley. I put 3 Berkeley, 3 Bluecrop, and 3 Blueray in a 50/50 mix of soil/peatmoss and of these I still have 1 Blueray, 1 Bluecrop, and all 3 Berkeley alive and producing well. All of the others I put in 100% peatmoss and of those, all Dukes are still good, half of the Bluerays are good, and none of the Elliots or Bluecrops will survive this season.
During the last five years (including this one) I have gotten about 50 total quarts from each Duke and about 40 quarts from each Berkeley, and all of these will put out 3 to 12 quarts per plant in this their 7th year in the ground. Duke is not my favorite flavor, and it is hard to harvest, but it has been the best for me as far as return on investment goes. Berkeley is one that has an interesting flavor, is beautiful, and has become my favorite but I have not seen it for sale anywhere since my first year buying them in 2005.
I will get about 1 quart from each of my remaining Elliots this year and only one looks like it will survive the season. Don't buy this variety (my opinion). It matures late when you can find good blueberries at stores, it doesn't taste as good as others, and it has not survived as well as others although there may be a reason for this in my case. Each of my original plants gave me about 15 quarts each during their life.
Bluecrop was the first big producer for me and I had a ton of berries in about years 3 and 4, but they over-produced and then suffered. They taste great, and are great for about 5 years and maybe longer if you cut off a lot of the berry buds each winter. I got about 30 quarts per plant before death, but some of these were small because of over-production.
Blueray is hard to judge, because of difference in how I planted them and when I planted them. I have 4 plants that will give moderate crops this year (in year 6 or 7) and these plants look good. Others have died just after a large crop or after extreme heat and dry Augusts. For some reason I still love this variety. the taste is great and the plants have done well for the most part. Each of my original plants gave me about 40 quarts per plant so far and the ones still going will do better, although they only have moderate crops this year.
Draper is one I planted in the fall in about 2009. I have 6 of them. I used my experience with other ones to plant and care for these differently. They have been amazingly healthy until this year. This spring they have absolutely huge numbers of blooms so I tried to remove about half from each plant in March. The plants have managed to leaf out well, maybe as a result of the berry/bloom removal. I will get about 5 quarts each from these this year.
In summary, I would prefer to not plant Bluecrop again, but will still plant Blueray. These are similar. I am done with Elliot. I keep trying to find a reason to not like Duke, but each year Duke comes through again. Berkeley was originally an afterthough in my posts, but it has risen to the top of what I recommend for gardeners. It is by far the most beautiful plant and the most consistent and healthy. Draper is still too new to form a strong opinion on. All that said, I still have to keep in mind the differences in how I planted them, so it is possible that Elliot looks worse and Berkeley better because of those differences.
As of right now, 50% of my Dukes are ripe for this year, 20% of Berkeleyes are ripe, about 15% of Bluecrops are ripe, and 10% of Blueray. Drapers are just starting to turn blue and Elliots are barely hanging on just trying to survive.
I will post a follow-up later to talk about my latest opinion on planting and care that are needed in my part of the state. The heat and dry summers the last two years have changed some things for me.
As a disclaimer, I am really just a hobby guy and I would not claim to be an expert in blueberries at all, but I have learned a lot of things NOT to do and am happy to share so you guys don't waste a lot of money like I have.