Thursday, March 26, 2015

Growing Blueberries

Blueberry bushes thrive in high acidic soil that pine needle mulch provides. Pine needle mulch is a great organic choice for your garden that adds nutrients as it decomposes, while retaining soil moisture and inhibiting weed growth. Pine needles provide the blueberry bush root system with an environment that greatly improves berry production. Apply the mulch over bare soil to about 4-6 inches deep, from close to the stems to about 24" to 36" away from the stems.

There is no pine needle "straw" sold in this area. That is not really a problem...I just go out into the forest and collect it for free (except my work). Today, I went to the pine forest and collected 5 very large garbage bags of my own pine needle mulch.

I have a plan for a new blueberry area with 6 new plants. A new raised bed that has heavy wire on the bottom, made to keep gophers out. That has been a big problem....Gophers.  The soil will be very well composted cow manure, that has essentially turned into rich soil. The final touch in planting is the pine needle mulch. I will add a frame over the plants for bird screening.

Now I will tell the story of my blueberry growing problems.

1. Gophers, they have a main tunnel running under all the plants in the blueberry row, and will eat right through the roots of anything in their way.

2. Poor soil when first planted. The plants were planted right into heavy clay soil that prevented the roots from penetrating into the clay, so the plants did not spread roots as is needed. Therefore, a small root system at gophers eat right up. The berries were eaten by birds and earwigs.

3. I replanted Blueberry bushes and dug a large spot out of the clay soil, and replaced the soil with good nice fertile soil....and still the gophers ate right through the roots.

4. I gave up and stopped replacing the plants, and a few have survived the last 4 summers. Three of the plants are doing better, and do produce berries.

I am a pretty good gardener, and this is a challenge. I want to see nice, big, healthy, blueberry plants in three years that produce a great tasting berry in my own garden. 

This is my goal!

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