Sound good?

Raw_Nature(5 OH)March 23, 2013

Hello!

I have a 5x80 foot strip of grass running east to west, it gets shaded by a fence a few feet south if it.. However, Once the plants grow a few feet tall, they well get nearly all day sun... I was going to plant - Blueberries,gooseberries,currants,josta berries, Honey berries at THREE foot spacing... Does that sound like a good idea? I know a few commercial blueberry farms space their blues 2.5 ft centers.. I just dont know if the variety of plants with differed vigor will be a problem at 3 foot spacing... Any advice? Also, is there any other fruiting shrubs that will go good with this setup that I'm missing?

Thanks in advance,
Joe

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veggievicki(7b)

Some blueberry farms will start their bushes at 2 feet and then transplant them out at 4, as an efficient way of prepping ground. Depending on your variety, they get very big and 3 is very close for the long haul. Also, blueberries need acidic soil, similar to azaleas and hydrangias. You'll have to adjust the soil in order for them to thrive.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2013 at 11:02PM
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Bradybb(wa8)

I like the taste of Autumn Olive berries and planted one that may have fruit this year.Besides being beneficial to people,with 7-17 times the Lycopene as tomatoes,it fixes atmospheric nitrogen in it's roots and helps neighboring plants.
Goji(Chinese Wolfberry) is also nutritious and has good flavor.
One more, Aronia,has a lot of antioxidant power and can be sweetened or added to other juices.
All plants can be kept in check by pruning,but even with that there is going to be a limit. Brady

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 1:34AM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

I was planning on putting a few Gogi berries some place else because I've heard they get huge.. I'll check out that autumn olive... Thanks Brady, always helpful! Now I see alot of blueberry farms looking really nice with 2.5 ft spacing... I'm I misleaded? Should I go with 4 ft? I want the most yield for the area? Again will the different plant vigors ruin this 3 foot center spacing? Any ideas?

Thanks,
Joe

    Bookmark   March 24, 2013 at 11:25AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

3 feet is too close for currants and gooseberries. The RHS recommends 5 feet. Josta berries are even bigger so would need even more space. Mine was about 6 feet tall before I got rid of it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Black currant video

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 10:33AM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

Thanks for the advice flora! I seen some videos where the fruiting shrubs were only a few foot width, then some videos 4-5 foot width... Its hard to make a decision... My idea with 3' spacing starting with the blueberries and I said minus will to it for the others as well so it makes a nice hedge... Do you think I should space every 4 ft centers? Or should I space the blueberries 3' and the gooseberries,etc 4-5 foot? Any advice? By the way, why did you remove the black currant from your yard?

Thanks,
Joe

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 11:17AM
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austransplant(MD 7)

Joe,

I've got black currants growing here in MD spaced only about 3 feet apart with no problems. The English climate is more conducive to the growth of these plants, while our hot summers slow them down. In fact, they will do better with some afternoon shade, rather than being in the sun all day.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 11:56AM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

You got a picture austranplant?

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 12:08PM
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john_in_sc

From the sound of it - it sounds like you are going to have a big hedge row of mixed up plants...

In this case - I would not plant them so close together... or you will be picking blueberries and aronias out of your gooseberries.. Etc... I would rather keep different types of fruit plants separate....

In commercial culture - they run big rows of plants all mushed together into 1 big hedge to make picking easier.... but they are usually all the same sort of plant and same variety - they go pick all the ripe out of the row and them move on.... next week - they hit the next row with a different variety... It also makes fertilization, spraying, and pruning easier too... you just go run down the row and done...

You never see them make up a big mixed up hedge full of all sorts of different fruit... too hard to pick, too hard to prune, too hard to spray, etc...

Thanks

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 1:33PM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

I didn't remove the black currants. I removed the Josta. It was very large but produced far less fruit than the smaller black currants. Also I didn't feel it had any flavour advantage over either black currants or gooseberries.

I can't tell you anything about blueberries as I have never grown them. They'd have to be in containers with ericaceous compost if I did as my soil is insufficiently acid for them.

Another thing you need to consider if you are growing a mixed row in close proximity is the differing pruning requirements of each type of bush. Even red and black currants need different treatment from each other.

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 2:14PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

Thanks for the Advice guys!

John- I hear you.. What I was thinking was not just every plant be different.. I was going to make section of blueberries, then a few plants of gooseberries, etc.. It does have some organization.. From my understanding of your saying is keep different plants spaced further apart and the same plants closer together... From what you guys are saying about 3' being to close, I was thinking about doing everything 4' center... So I could get exactly 20 plants out of that 80' strip, how does that sound?

Flora - right, i understand about the different requirements, I'll learn quick!

How does this sound guys:

Space every plant 4' apart. Was going to hill up compost/peat and plant in that.. I was not going to dig/till the soil at all. Was just going to add the peat/compost and plant in that, similar to a raised bed, without the structure... What do you guys think? Good idea or?

Appreciate it,
Joe

    Bookmark   March 25, 2013 at 6:56PM
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Bradybb(wa8)

The Jostaberry I have grew quite a bit last year after it was planted but only produced two fruit.If it doesn't do better this year,it's going some place else,but from what I've read,they take a couple years to get fruiting. Brady

    Bookmark   March 26, 2013 at 12:07AM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

Here's a picture of currants and gooseberries at 3' spacings. These 3 plants have been growing here for 2 years (planted spring 2011).

From the left, they are:
Consort black currant
Pink Champagne currant
Jeanne gooseberry

The yields are as yet small and the birds have gotten almost all of it.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 10:32PM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

Here's a wider picture of the bed. The thorny bush reaching out for the camera is an Orus 8. It has produced the most of the bed so far and was actually pretty tasty.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 10:34PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

Bob, me and you think alike my friend, everytime i have an idea, you post pictures of your plants with the same exact setup I was thinking about! Them pictures are helpful.. I think I'm going to space everything 4' centers... Any other fruiting shrubs would do good with my setup?

Thanks,
Joe

    Bookmark   March 28, 2013 at 11:37PM
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bob_z6(6b/7a SW CT)

I've also got blueberries on 4' centers. That has seemed pretty good so far, though the real test doesn't come for a while when they get big.

Another shrub to consider is the dwarf bush cherry (see honeyberryusa.com), such as Crimson Passion and Carmine Jewel. You may want to give them an extra foot or so though, as I've seen 5' recommended for it.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2013 at 12:19AM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

Thanks bob! I was ready to order some bush cherries, but I heard people say they are not worth growing... Anyone else with any recommendations?

Appreciate it,
Joe

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 7:16PM
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Campanula UK Z8

I grow redcurrants and gooseberries in modified cordons, allowing each plant to have 3 canes, supported (and restrained) using posts and wire - 3 feet centres are fine for them. On the other hand, my blackcurrants are easily 6 feet wide, even the small 'Ben Sarek' is 5 ft wide. I don't have blueberries as not only do they need really acidic soil, they also need to be practically in a bog. However, my neighbour grows them in a raised bed next to the water butt. They can be grown with a 4ft centre because they will get quite tall.
Jostaberries, I agree - huge and not that many berries. Raspberries are a bit unpredictable (although the autumn ones are more controllable than summer (primocane) types - while a Tayberry, Loganberry or thornless blackberry is lovely, also grown on posts and wire - but the smallest will need 8 feet and you have to be really punctilious about pruning.
You could have a couple of apple cordons too - or even an espalier - I have a few cordons because I didn't have too much space but, on balance, I would have preferred 2 small trees on M9 rootstock and am annoyed with myself for not training an espalier but there's always regrets.....

Brief pause..to reconsider

20 berry bushes is a lot of fruit - I have that many (at least) and the picking can be a 'mare and then the jamming!!! - it seemed like a lovely idea...and for the first 3 seasons of full fruit, I was quite earth-motherly and entranced...but honestly, my life is not my own during late June and all July (I have plums and cherries so I am really fed up with all the 50s housewife, Good Housekeeping stuff by September.....I try to bribe (or bully) the offspring to help with the picking but they just absent themselves going to festivals or camping so its hours of kneeling around in prickly bushes.
Oho, and jam isn't good enough either - it has to be jellies so there's endless straining through muslin, boiling and stirring and the stress of setting point.
Ah, getting a bit overwrought - gets coat.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2013 at 8:20PM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

Should I cancel my order for jostaberry then? Yes, 20 fruiting shrubs is a lot of fruit, I hope! I plan on living off my land, the more I get the better! Harvesing doesn't mind me, that'll be how I survive! Cordons seem like they would work, but I would like the most yield I could out of this area.. Instead of sticking an apple in a small space,. The same space would be more than enough for a blueberry to flourish! I was going to keep this row fruiting shrubs than out back a fruit tree orchard.. Any other advice?

Thanks,
Joe

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 12:58AM
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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

I agree, campanula, about the harvesting - we still have a freezer full of fruit by the time the next lot needs picking. Also shelves full of jam and jelly.

bob_76 - my currants and gooseberries looked like that early on. But those are still babies. Now I have chopped down every other plant and moved the black currant row 3 feet further away from the neighbouring row. (By simply sticking prunings in the ground and waiting - they root really easily.)

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 9:35AM
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Raw_Nature(5 OH)

You guys think I should cancel my order for Jostaberries,bit sounds like they take up more room than they yield.. Also it sounds like you guys are harvesting so much fruit you're tired of it! I can't wait for that! How much does your guys fruit bushes,shrubs, trees yield?

Thanks,
Joe

    Bookmark   March 31, 2013 at 11:40PM
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