Good blueberries are one of life’s great delights, and there’s nothing more disappointing than running out of fresh berries or discovering that your berries have been spoiled by the heat before you could pick them. One of the sweetest blueberry varieties, the Farthing Blueberry, is easy to produce and thrives in climates that may be too toasty for other blueberry plants. And it’s one of the highest-yielding blueberry varieties around, providing plenty of berries for snacking, baking, and sharing with friends.
So if you thought your garden was too warm for growing blueberries, the Farthing Blueberry may be just what you’ve been waiting for! Keep reading to learn about this sweet blueberry variety.
History of the Farthing Blueberry
The Farthing blueberry was developed for its vigor and compact growth. It was released to the public by the Univerity of Florida in 2007.
Characteristics of the Farthing Blueberry
This highbush blueberry is favored for its dense growth patterns. With a higher concentration of growth than the average blueberry bush, it produces a higher berry yield. These blueberries are medium-sized and very firm with a nearly crisp texture and a small dry picking scar. The skin on most of the berry is a darker blue than normal, but the stem end of the berry tends to remain red or purplish, especially with heavier harvests.
Blueberry bushes must experience a period of winter temperatures (below 45F) every year in order for their spring growth to begin properly. If they don’t get enough of a winter season, blueberry bushes will not begin growing leaves and blooms in time for a good harvest.
The chill hours requirement varies with each type of blueberry bush. The Farthing Blueberry requires at least 100 chill hours for its growth cycle to function properly.
Farthing blueberries ripen early, usually in April or May.
This is a sweet, firm blueberry.
Farthing blueberries tend to be medium to large in size.
The Farthing Blueberry thrives in zones 7-10.
Size and Spacing
Blueberry bushes can grow to be quite full, so they should be planted 5 to 6 feet apart to give all the plants plenty of room to grow.
Farthing Blueberries require cross-pollination. Other types of southern highbush blueberries should be used for cross-pollination as lowbush and rabbiteye types are too genetically different to reproduce well with Farthing Blueberries.
Blueberry Shrub Care
Farthing Blueberries flourish in partial or full sun.
Well-drained, acidic, sandy loam is the best soil for these blueberry bushes.
These plants should be watered deeply 2-3 times per week.
Because these plants thrive in acidic soil, they need a fertilizer containing urea and diammonium phosphate or a slow-release nitrogen fertilizer.
Farthing Blueberries also tend to be sensitive to fertilizer, so it’s best to apply fertilizer in a ring in the soil around the plant rather than to concentrate all the fertilizer directly on the roots.
For more about how to grow blueberries, please visit our guide.
The best time to prune farthing blueberries is in January or February. For more about how to prune blueberry bushes, please see our blueberry pruning guide.
While many blueberry types are susceptible to fungal infections, the Farthing Blueberry was developed with excellent disease resistance. As a result, fungi are rarely able to have an effect on an otherwise healthy blueberry bush.
Algal stem blotch is the most common disease to which Farthing Blueberries are susceptible. It is caused by a green algae that enters the plant through small injuries in the branches or leaves and forms colonies throughout the plant. Soon orange felt-like patches will appear on the limbs and the leaves will turn yellow and die as the algae saps all of the nutrition from the plant.
This disease is very difficult to eradicate and will likely kill all the plants it infects.
For more information about common blueberry diseases and how to combat them, please see our blueberry diseases guide.
Sadly, as much as people look forward to blueberries each year, so do pests. You’ll want to be on guard during the growing season to keep them from ruining your crop. For information about how to identify, eliminate, and deter pests, read our blog post on the 9 common pests you’ll encounter with blueberries.
Birds love blueberries and will pick them and fly away to enjoy their stolen goods before you can stop them. Adding a scarecrow to your garden may help with this issue. If birds continue to enjoy your blueberries before you get the chance to pick them, you may want to consider making a cage with netting covering the walls and roof to keep the birds away.
Mites can also consume your blueberries. The flat mite, southern red mite, and blueberry bud mites are all common blueberry thieves. The best way to remove mites is to spray the plant with diluted horticultural soap.
Blueberry Gall Midges
A particularly deadly blueberry pest in the south, the blueberry gall midge is a tiny, but mighty, threat to small and large blueberry gardens alike. These pests are difficult to get rid of because their larvae burrow into the vegetative buds of blueberry blossoms and eat them away before they can produce fruit. Because they spend their entire larval stage inside the buds, insecticides can’t reach them. The adults resemble mosquitoes and females lay around 20 eggs at a time. The best method for controlling the blueberry gall midge is careful timing of pesticide application in order to get the newly emerged adults before they can lay eggs.
Aphids also enjoy munching on blueberry bush leaves. While they tend to go for the leaves rather than the plants, they still need to be eradicated as quickly as possible. Any damage they do to the leaves means that much less protection and nutrients for the berries.
When to Harvest Farthing Blueberries
Late May through mid-August is the best time to harvest blueberries. Visit our blueberry picking guide for more information.
Common Uses For Farthing Blueberries
Their sweet taste makes Farthing blueberries great to use for all sorts of recipes in fresh and cooked form.
What Does This Blueberry Taste Like?
The farthing blueberry is sweet, firm, and crisp.
Farthing blueberries can be used in any recipe for cooking blueberries. You may not realize that blueberries are wonderful ingredients for savory dishes and pair beautifully with fish and pork, for instance.
Farthing blueberries can be eaten raw in cereals yogurt, granola, salad (fruit and green). They also make delicious garnishes for all kinds of desserts. And, of course, they can be enjoyed all themselves.
Canning / Freezing / Drying
Each of these preservation methods works well for farthing blueberries.
Health Benefits of Farthing Blueberries
Farthing blueberries are so low in calories and high in nutrients that they have been called a superfood. They contain a high concentration of fiber, vitamin C, and vitamin K. They also contain the highest levels of antioxidants out of all common fruits and vegetables.
Blueberries have also been shown to increase brain function and improve memory. This is due to those high levels of antioxidants, which, in animal studies, have proven to decrease the effects of oxidative stress.
There is also some evidence that farthing blueberries may help prevent cancer and heart disease, as well as lower blood pressure.
Thanks to the low sugar content of blueberries compared to many other fruits, they make a healthy snack for those with diabetes without causing the kind of negative effects that can be seen with fruits that contain a higher load of sugar.
Where to Buy Farthing Blueberry Plants or Seeds
Amazon carries a variety of blueberry seeds, but unfortunately not this kind. Fortunately, Southern Berries USA does carry these, and you can also check with your local farmer’s market or garden store for Farthing Blueberry seeds and plants.
Where to Buy Farthing Blueberries
Farthing blueberries are not common in grocery stores. Your local farmer’s market would be a great place to check for them, especially if you live in the southern United States since this type of blueberry bush is renowned for its resistance to heat.
- What is the Farthing Blueberry’s Latin name?
The Farthing Blueberry’s Latin name is Vaccinium corymbosoum L.
- How does the Farthing Blueberry’s chilling hour requirement relate to other blueberry types?
The average blueberry bush requires around 400 chilling hours in order for its growing cycle to function properly and yield a good crop. The TifBlue blueberry variety requires at least 700 hours–quite a bit more than most. The Farthing Blueberry’s low chill hour requirement is one of the many reasons it is an excellent choice for the southern states.
- Is it true that blueberries can prevent soreness after working out?
Yes, to an extent, Farthing Blueberries can reduce the soreness that comes from exercising, thanks to those good old antioxidants. Similarly to how they may increase brain function and memory, they work against oxidative stress in your muscles to help reduce that discomfort.
Wrapping Up the Farthing Blueberry
This high-yield, heat-tolerant blueberry bush is an asset to gardeners who live in warmer climates. The sweet taste and firm texture of these sizable berries make Farthing blueberries a favorite for both bakers and snackers.
Do you have experience with the Farthing Blueberry in your garden? Tell us about it in the comments section below! For more information about blueberries, click this link for our other blueberry blog posts.