Blueberry growers unite!!

muddynurse(5b)February 8, 2013

Hello! So my "dilemma" if you will: I was given 35-40 blueberry plants by my brother-in-law in the fall in what I am suspecting are 1 gallon sized little nursery pots. From what he told me, these plants will be about 2YO this spring, so they are still pretty small. The varieties include Elliot, Duke, Chanoler, Blueray, Sierra and some other types but the labels got lost in the transport home from a few states away...opps. Iv done general research about each type of them all, size, fruiting period, and talked to the Bro in law, who has probably thousand of blueberry plants all in the ground. I consider myself a medium skill level gardener, I grown a large amount and variety of vegetables successfully, but fruits is a totally new territory for me. plan is to grown them in 5 gallon buckets, think home depot, lowes, sherwin williams that are brand new, free and sitting in my garage as we speak. Im reaching out to other gardeners who have experience with blueberry bushes in pots/containers like this. Drainage? watering? keeping PH levels low? ANY advise will be helpful!! I am planning to re-pot these babies in the spring. Oh, and I am choosing pots d/t my soil conditions= clay and super wet and is not conducive to grown entire vegetable garden is 580 sq ft of raised beds my soil is that terrible. Also my location is far northeast Ohio, think 3 feet of snow in 24 hours.

A BIG, HUGE thank you in advanced!!! Any and all info will be greatly and humbly appreciated!!

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1/3 peat moss
1/3 pathway bark
1/3 azalea mix potting soil
sprinkle of sulfur
keep em somewhat moist!
full sun

read read read all you can here! (and there)

This post was edited by bshef on Fri, Feb 8, 13 at 18:09

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 6:07PM
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With that many plants I would think you would be better off building a few long rows 4ft wide by at least 1ft tall. If you can get pine bark mulch, I would make my rows out of that. At planting mix a few shovels full of wet peat moss in the planting holes. You need to know the pH of your water as well and either correct before watering or stay on top of your soil pH an use sulfer to acidify. A little goes along way so use in small amounts until you get a feel for how much to apply and how long it takes to stabilize. If you can use rain water it makes growing them so much easier but I know most people don't have the time or resources to do that. Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 8:48PM
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Ohio has heavy clay soil in places, and you must be in one of those places! If you go ahead & use 5 gallon buckets, be sure to drill or punch a drain hole in the bottom. It is possible to amend heavy clay soil & grow blueberries successfully. We have heavy clay soil here in Madison, Wisconsin, as well. There is some work involved in digging a hole, and mixing compost and clay so there are no lumps of clay remaining. There are, however, two advantages to growing the shrubs in the ground: 1-the shrub has access to soil moisture, 2-the shrub will have an even temperature in the winter months. We have 16 shrubs, & all are in the ground.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:19PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

If those buckets were my only option,I'd put in 60/40 to 70/30 Pine or Fir bark mulch/peat moss.Drill about three to four 1/2" holes in or near the bottom of each container first.Yes,get the peat wet first before mixing.Sulfur can be added in small amounts,but can take 6-12 months to notice the change.I use Sulfuric acid (battery acid) when watering,a little lasts quite awhile.Check the irrigation water pH with something like a pond water kit(less than $10).I use one that measures from 3 to 8. Brady

    Bookmark   February 8, 2013 at 9:34PM
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Thank you everyone for your very informative replies!! You all are great resources! I was seriously contemplating putting them in the ground, I have a tractor with a auger, so the digging of the holes wouldn't be a problem. However, we are considering moving in the next few years, looking at 100-150 acres so Id like to take these bushes with me as well. That seems cheap but I figure at that point Id hate to lose those bushes at that maturity. So I'm leaning towards the buckets. As for keeping them moist, I think I am going to get a drip irrigation set up for them and toss on a timer. I can also keep them inside my fenced area in between my raised beds

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 11:25AM
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greenorchardmom(Ga Mts 7)

yep 5 gal buckets, drill holes for good drainage, good irrigation
peat moss or any acidic eco friendly soil ammendment
If you want, you will be able to guess which plants
are which variety by flower color, bloom times
fall leaf color & of course berry color/size/flavor
Get your chart ready

    Bookmark   February 9, 2013 at 11:41PM
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Are 5 gallon buckets big enough for a while? I have a plethora of those, and would love to add some more plants to my arsenal!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 12:27PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

I'd say a 5 gallon bucket will do a Blueberry plant for about five years.

    Bookmark   February 15, 2013 at 9:40PM
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Thanks for all the replies, and sorry for the delay, Iv been spending lots of time at work and in the garden. I ended up going with the 5 gallon buckets, had the husband drill some drainage holes in them....I want to say like 5/8" or so big (I have yet to master looking at something and being able to tell the size/distance). I talked to a few farmers around here one of which grows many berries and ended up going with about 50/50 peat moss and pine bark mulch. We also hooked up a timed drip irrigation to the plants to keep them nice and moist. I was out there this morning checking on things and am happy to report that all of the plants are covered in healthy looking buds!!! Again thanks for the wonderful advise, everyone on this site has been nothing but informative and patient with newbies like myself!!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 3:29PM
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