Blueberries in Spain, varieties and care with sensors-Controlled irrigation

Blueberries in Spain are increasing their production more and more and are conquering the Cantabrian coastal area, due to the good adaptation and demand of the markets.

The province that grows the most Blueberries is Huelva, but areas with little risk of frost and a temperate climate see possibilities for cultivation. It is an alternative to create employment in rural areas with difficulties.

Market demand is encouraging farmers to innovate with Blueberry plantations.

Blueberry cultivation in Spain

The factors that favor the cultivation of blueberries are:

  • The soil that must be light because the blueberry roots are thin and do not reach much depth, between 30 and 45 cm. Therefore, a clay soil is not recommended, but neither is it very compact that causes puddles.
  • A number of cold hours a year between 400 and 1200 depending on the variety and that the north and south of Spain are guaranteed and in the south and Levante also if they are not very coastal areas. The cold hours guarantee the winter rest that must be less than 7ºC and thus it sprouts and blooms optimally.
  • Moderate climate the rest of the year without reaching very high summer temperatures, which is why its cultivation predominates in coastal areas.
  • A degree of humidity medium high.
  • In the north it is better to plant late varieties or a mixture of several.
  • Curiously, at the other extreme, large areas of Huelva, Andalusia and the Mediterranean coast, the early varieties adapt perfectly.
  • Blueberries prefer acid soils , although they can adapt to alkaline soils with the help of fertilizers.

Huelva is by far the province that grows the most blueberries, especially where cold hours are guaranteed. Depending on the cold hours we must choose one variety or another. 

Variedades de arándanos en España
Varieties of Blueberries

Blueberry watering 

  • El cuidado de los arándanos es especialmente delicado porque requiere humedad y no encharcamientos, ya que estos frutos requieren un suministro constante de agua para un crecimiento saludable y una buena producción. Por esta razón el suelo debe llevar un componente franco-arenoso, no le convienen los terrenos arcillosos.
Ideal land to cultivate for blueberries in Spain
Ideal land to cultivate for blueberries in Spain
  • It is very sensitive to drought because its roots are short. Blueberries need regular watering to keep the soil consistently moist, but not waterlogged. The soil should be slightly moist, especially during the flowering, fruit set, and ripening stages.
  • Especially in southern Spain, specifically in Huelva and throughout the Levante controlled drip irrigation is convenient. Drip irrigation is the most widely used and recommended method for growing blueberries in Spain. This system precisely and efficiently delivers water directly to the plant roots, minimizing the risk of disease and avoiding competition with weeds. Drip irrigation also allows better control of the amount of water supplied.
  • Watering frequency can vary depending on weather conditions and soil type, but it is generally recommended to water blueberries 2-3 times a week during the active growth period. During the summer when temperatures are higher, more frequent watering may be required to avoid water stress. The best thing is to resort to wireless sensors that indicate the water needs in real time.

The Advantages of Sensor / Probe Controlled Irrigation

  • The Plantae-sonda sensors for humidity, conductivity and temperature.

Irrigation cycles, quantity, frequency and duration can be adjusted according to soil moisture to give the crop the water it needs within the Available Water Capacity (AWC).

The conductivity reading allows salinity levels to be kept below thresholds that are harmful to plants.

The surface temperature helps to take action against frost and other applications.

The subsoil temperature (up to 60cm deep) reflects the state of the root activity of the crop and improves the application of fertilizers and treatments.

  • We measure the irrigation flow with a flow meter .
  • The Meteo station indicates the accumulated cold hours and the ambient temperature in real time.
  • Anemometer.

At all times we have the subsoil data and the ideal for crop management. Blueberries prefer well-drained, slightly acidic soils (pH between 4.5 and 5.5). If the soil is holding too much water, you may need to implement drainage measures to prevent waterlogging.

Riego en arándanos
Irrigation in blueberries in Spain. 1-Rain water. 2-High sprinkler. 3-Drip irrigation. 4-Wireless sensors / sodas for humidity, conductivity and soil temperature control. 5-Accumulation of salts. 6-Wet bulb

Blueberry jam

Special to take freshly made or canned. Very useful for decorating cakes.

Ingredients:

  • One kilo of blueberries.
  • Half a kilo of sugar, better brown.
  • The juice of a lemon.
  • Half a glass of water.

Elaboration:

  • Wash the blueberries and remove any stems or impurities. You can leave some cranberries whole for a more rustic texture in the jam.
  • In a large pot, add the cranberries, sugar, water, and lemon juice. Mix well to combine all the ingredients.
  • Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the cranberries soften and begin to release their juices. About 10 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-low and continue cooking the mixture, stirring frequently, until it becomes a thicker, jam-like consistency. This will take about 30-40 minutes. You can crush some blueberries with a wooden spoon while stirring for a smoother texture.
  • Once the jam has reached the desired consistency, remove the pot from the heat and allow it to cool slightly.
  • Transfer the jam to sterilized jars, making sure to seal them tightly. You can sterilize the jars by boiling them for 15 minutes.
  • Let the jars cool completely at room temperature, then store them in a cool place. Blueberry jam will keep for several weeks.

To enjoy when we feel like it!

Cranberry juice

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup of water
  • Optional sweetener (sugar, honey or sweetener to taste)

Elaboration:

  1. Wash the blueberries and remove any stems or impurities. Place them in a blender or thermomix.
  2. Add the water to the blender with the blueberries.
  3. Blend everything at high speed for a few minutes until you get a smooth and homogeneous mixture.
  4. If you want a smoother juice, you can strain the mixture through a fine strainer or cheesecloth to remove any remaining pulp.
  5. Taste the juice and, if you prefer it sweeter, you can add sugar, honey or any other sweetener. Mix well until the sweetener is completely dissolved.
  6. Refrigerate the cranberry juice for a while before serving to keep it fresh and tasty.
  7. Serve the cranberry juice in glasses with ice if desired.

Enjoy this refreshing and healthy drink!

Sources:

Plantae

Wikipedia

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