Methods for Extracting Blueberry Seeds
You can use blueberry seeds from blueberries you pick off a bush or berries from the grocery store to grow blueberry bushes. You’ll have better results with freshly picked berries. Lowbush blueberries grow quite well from seeds, and you can plant the seedlings in rows, open fields or as ornamental plantings in your yard. After freezing the blueberries for three months to break their dormancy period, use one of the following methods for extracting the seeds:
- Blender – Add three-quarters of a cup of thawed blueberries to your blender. Add water to fill it about three-quarters full. Blend the berries for about 10 seconds, and then let the seeds settle to the bottom, separating from the pulp. This takes about five minutes. Slowly pour off some of the pulp and add more water. Let the seeds settle to the bottom again. Keep doing this until all the pulp is gone. Take your seeds out of the blender, placing them on paper towels to dry.
- Food Grinder – Place three-quarters of a cup of thawed blueberries in your grinder. Grind them until pulverized, and then pour the pulp into a quart jar. Add some water to the grinder, swirling it around to remove any seeds and pulp. Pour the water into the jar, as well. Place the cap on the jar and allow the seeds to settle to the bottom. Use the steps mentioned for the blender to pour off the pulp, and then dry the seeds in the same way.
- Mash the berries – If you’d rather mash your blueberries by hand, that works too. Place three-quarters of a cup of thawed blueberries in a bowl. Use a pedestal or potato masher to crush the blueberries. Place the mashed berries in a quart jar, and then follow the instructions used for the grinder to separate the seeds from the pulp.
How to Plant Blueberry Seeds
Sometime in January or February, get ready to plant your blueberry seeds indoors. When spring arrives, your blueberry seedlings will be large enough to plant outside. Follow these steps for sowing your seeds:
- Select a 3-inch deep box that’s large enough for the amount of seeds you have.
- Fill the box with ground sphagnum moss. Moisten the moss before placing it in the box.
- Sprinkle the blueberry seeds over the moss.
- Cover the seeds with a thin coating of moss. Make sure you don’t make the moss too thick.
- Place the box in a room where the temperature is from 60° (15.5°) to 70° (21°C).
- Cover the box with newspaper.
- Wait about one month for the blueberry seeds to germinate.
- Take off the newspaper to reveal tiny seedlings.
- Place the seedling box in a sunny location, and keep the seedlings moist.
- Allow the seedlings to grow to 2 or 3 inches tall.
- Carefully transplant the seedlings to pots filled with 2 to 3 inches of a soil mixture made of one-third part peat, one-third part sand, and one-third part soil.
- Place the pots in a sunny spot, and keep the soil moist.
How to Transplant Blueberry Seedlings
Once your blueberry seedlings are potted, keep them inside or in a greenhouse until all danger of frost is past. When it’s time to transplant the blueberries, choose a spot that has acidic soil with a pH of 4.5 to 4.8. Plant the seedlings about 3-feet apart, covering them with 2 inches of organic mulch. The mulch provides nutrients and retains moisture for the transplants.
If your transplants produce any flowers during the first two years, remove them so that the vegetation can grow strong enough to support the berries. Prune your young blueberry bushes annually, removing broken or dead canes. Make sure to keep your blueberry bushes watered throughout the summer months because they have shallow roots that can dry out easily.