Strawberries, blueberries and grapes, oh my

krispexMarch 2, 2014

Hi all. I have a few questions.
Well start with strawberries. I want to start a strawberry patch. What would be the best variety for my area (pa/md line) and how big of patch should i make? Im going to build a raised bed and i only want to do it once. Also would you recommend wood or cement blocks?

Now on to blueberries. Im pretty sure im going to do it in pots so how big of a pot do i need? I may do it in the ground but im not sure where to put them if i put them in the ground. The side of my house might work. What would you guys recommend?

Lastly grapes. Wood or metal trellis? Arbor or flat trellis? So many choices i dont know what to do. Also im not interested in making wine so what would be good grapes to grow in my area?

ANY advice on any of the 3 topics would be much appreciated.

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jean001a(Portland OR 7b)

Lots of info & pubs available from your State's Extension service

Here is a link that might be useful: Penn State garden pubs

    Bookmark   March 2, 2014 at 7:55PM
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First, look up your hardiness zone. I'm guessing zone 6, you should be able to grow lots of things there.

Strawberry varieties: they're all going to taste better than the store, so don't stress about it. Perhaps choose an early and a late variety, like Earliglow and AC Valley Sunset. Do you want it for fresh eating or to make jam? You'll need lots more plants to make a year's supply of jam for your family. (100 plants? 200? More than I have room for.) For fresh eating, probably 50 plants/household of 4. It's an estimate, it depends on how much you like strawberries.

Raised beds: I have cinder block and wood, and I like the wood because it's easier to build. I got terribly tired of lugging around cinder blocks. I use untreated pine wood, about 1"x8" by however long/wide a bed I need. They'll rot after a while, but I estimate 8-10 yrs.

Blueberries: pots are nice, because blueberries need such acid soil or they won't grow and definitely won't bear. I have alkaline soil, and if I want my blueberries to thrive I should put them in pots. However, I also have issues with watering pots. So, they might be better off in the ground at my house.

Grapes: whatever kind of trellis, make SURE it's easy to prune. Don't grow it on chain-link fence. I have grapes on an arbor, which will be lovely once it fills in. It might be challenging to prune, and grapes need severe pruning every spring. Get some books (Grape Grower by Lon Rombough is the best), you'll need to learn something about it. Wood posts with taunt wires are standard grape trellises for a good reason. People like seedless grapes a lot, I have Interlaken (green), Somerset seedless (red) and a seeded table grape called Swanson Red. I'm considering a blue like Mars, but I have access to unlimited quantities of Concord for jam, so there isn't a good reason to plant one.

So, figure out what exactly you want and make some good plans. Get the infrastructure in place before planting and you'll be glad that you did. If you're a weekend warrior, perhaps just put in strawberries this year. If you're retired and have lots of time, perhaps you can handle building grape trellises too.

Here is a link that might be useful: Plant hardiness zones

    Bookmark   March 3, 2014 at 10:29PM
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