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help with blueberries

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help with blueberries

Post  Theresa on 3/26/2010, 10:01 pm

I was wondering if anyone has grown the dwarf blueberries in their SFG. We have strawberries, and blackberries and they both do wonderful. Josh would like to have a SFG with just blueberries in it, and I was reading about the "Top Hat" dwarf kind that only gets 2 foot tall and 2 foot wide. Has anyone else tried these?

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Re: help with blueberries

Post  Kabaju42 on 3/26/2010, 11:33 pm

I've grown raspberries and strawberries before, but never blueberries. I heard it is very hard here in Utah, so I did some research and found that is possible, but the blueberries need very acidic soil. Since our soil is very alkaline, it's hard to get the soil acidic enough.

I don't know where you live, but you should look into the soil pH levels. I think most of the time the pH doesn't matter that much, but this is one time it does.

Here's a paper about it that you might find interesting:
http://extension.usu.edu/files/publications/publication/Horticulture_Furit_2009-01pr.pdf

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Re: help with blueberries

Post  Theresa on 3/27/2010, 9:48 am

Thanks Kabaju4 for your help!
I went ahead and ordered the dwarf "Top Hat" kind, they are suppose to do well in raised beds or containers. Since we are giving the blueberries their own SFG, I can adjust the mix PH for them. I'll just have to give it a try and see how they do and will report back to everyone!

Thanks again!

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Re: help with blueberries

Post  bullfrogbabe on 3/27/2010, 10:31 am

I have never had to grow blueberries, they grow wild here all by themselves (very lucky me). They do require acidic, well drained/sandy soils with a surface layer of course organic material, and like lots of sun.

An aside: The native soils are very sandy (100%) and acidic here, that is why SFG works well for me. Raised gardens with imported soil is the only way to grow veggies here. Perennial gardening is very challenging -- I have had to very carefully choose plants that like sandy /acidic soils and spend a lot of time adding organics to improve moisture retention. Using native plants has also become a valuable way to garden with nature. I have chosen to let the wild blueberries persist in my gardens rather than to fight them, they are bonus companion plants to my perennials, along with some of the other wild bonus' that grow here such as orchids.

The acid soils that the blueberries like here are maintained by the pine needles and red maple/oak leaf litter that are naturally prevalent here. You may be able to mimic this by using pine needle / maple/oak leaf compost. Peat moss is also on the acidic side so Mel's mix may work well with a slight modification to make it bit more acidic. Miracid (acid fertilizer product from Miracle Grow) or other acidic fertilizers can also be valuable every once in a while to help create/maintain acidic conditions if you find that Mel's mix is not acidic enough.

A few more observations I have made from watching the wild blueberries that may also be benefical to know about are:

  • The blueberry plants that are in shadier locations don't fruit as productively as those in the open. They will like the full sun sought in SFG.
  • They fruit the best in years we don't get late spring frosts, as the frost kills the flowers. If you do get frost during flowering, cover them up.
  • They also need moderate / regular amounts of rain to be productive. Too much or too little rain lowers productivity, so its all about balance. Regular watering as per SFG technique should work well for blueberries.

Hope these observations help! Good luck with your blueberries!

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Re: help with blueberries

Post  Theresa on 3/28/2010, 12:58 pm

Thanks bullfrogbabe for the information, hopefully with everyone's help Josh can have a successful blueberry SFG!
If he fails, he wants to know if he can come and stay with you bullfrogbabe, at least during blueberry season

Thanks for the great information!

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Re: help with blueberries

Post  Josh on 4/8/2010, 6:52 pm

My blueberry plants came today!!
I'm excited about my blueberry plants, they are the "Top Hat" dwarf kind. They get 2 feet tall and 2 feet wide, I have 6 plants! I sure hope I can grow them, I love fresh blueberries!

for the information about growing them.

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Re: help with blueberries

Post  martha on 4/8/2010, 6:53 pm

they look beautiful!

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Re: help with blueberries

Post  quiltbea on 4/8/2010, 7:35 pm

Yours look nice and healthy. Good luck.
I put in 3 Chippewa and 2 Patriot blueberry bushes last year around the north perimater of my SFG beds. I added peat moss to the soil. Last fall I covered them with pine needles to add to the acidity. I hope it works. I love blueberries, too, and in Maine, we can grow them.

This is one of the Chippewa.
We can keep a check on each other and see how our blueberries are doing.

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Re: help with blueberries

Post  aspiegardner on 4/29/2010, 8:23 am

planted the tophat last year they are still just like a twigish thing LOL,not much growth at all.

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planting blueberries

Post  trekkie on 4/5/2011, 1:01 pm

Hi - I am an SFG/Mel's mix convert - it's the best thing ever. I have extremely rocky soil, rabbits, and lots of visits by persistent moles, oh - and intrusion of my garden by the farmers weeds in a rough patch he has adjacent to my garden. So, I just covered all of the soil up with very thick weed suppressant and have built some boxes to go on the top. I still have a bit of a lawn, but not much - enough for when the grandchildren come over to play. I am about to plant blueberries, and am wondering how deep the boxes should be? I have got a selection of bushes, and a couple of them will reach 4'. By the way, I am on the Welsh/Shropshire border in the UK. Very Happy

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Re: help with blueberries

Post  vinny09 on 4/5/2011, 3:12 pm

http://www.davewilson.com/homegrown/promotion/blueberries.html

Good link on how to grow blueberries in containers and how to prep a soil that is acidic.

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Re: help with blueberries

Post  dianamarie03 on 4/5/2011, 4:19 pm

What a great link, thanks Vinny. I just bought 4 blueberry bushes this morning. I picked up one each of bluecrop, elliot, legacy, and toro. I was searching for a good way to pot them up so this was just perfect. Wish me luck!

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help with blueberries

Post  trekkie on 4/5/2011, 5:44 pm

Thank you very much Vinny - just had a look at the site, and it's the best advice I've read. I will use his recommendations and also add in the vermiculite - and watch the blueberries grow!

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Re: help with blueberries

Post  FarmerValerie on 4/5/2011, 5:55 pm

Just wondering how Josh's blueberries were doing, and what's with his new avitar, is that his?

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Re: help with blueberries

Post  Furbalsmom on 4/5/2011, 7:14 pm

That's Josh's car, he got it before he could legally drive. Look Out, Here He Comes!

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Re: help with blueberries

Post  vinny09 on 4/5/2011, 8:37 pm

No worries! From the varieties you all bought, I take it you're all from the north? We grow the southern highbush varieties here in Cali.

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Re: help with blueberries

Post  Josh on 4/5/2011, 9:40 pm

It looks like 2 of my 6 blueberry plants died Sad but the other 4 are turning green! I've planted blueberry bushes before and they never make a second year, so I'm happy that 4 of them made it!

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Re: help with blueberries

Post  CindiLou on 4/6/2011, 2:26 am

@vinny09 wrote:http://www.davewilson.com/homegrown/promotion/blueberries.html

Good link on how to grow blueberries in containers and how to prep a soil that is acidic.

Great link, Vinny! Thank you very much. I have highbush blueberries coming. Iowa is not a good state for them lol...our soil in southern Iowa is too good so I am doing a raised bed. I was going to use MM with some sulfur. Guess I was sorta on the right path. I was treating the bed as a big container lol.
I have the peat moss and leaf mold (one of my composts), was going to add vermiculite also. Pathway bark...looks like a farm and home, or feed and grain type store would have that since it is good for paddocks and such. Humm got to write it down for tomorrow! I have plenty of pine needles I can add!

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Re: help with blueberries

Post  FarmerValerie on 4/6/2011, 10:09 am

4 out of 6 is not bad. I found a grape vine I planted 3 or 4 years ago, in the middle of no where, cuz I had no where else to stick it at the time, it was still alive and had new foliage. I have it in a 5 gal bucket for now.

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Re: help with blueberries

Post  Josh on 4/24/2011, 8:18 pm

LOOK blueberry blooms! cheers


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Re: help with blueberries

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