Berries in containers, need help with the soil mix...
I am new to container gardening, and though I have done lots of research I am at a crossroads on what kind of soil mix I should create for the blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries I am planting in conjunction with my friends and family. My plan is to use 20 gallon smart pots and to keep this project organic. There will be 8 hours of sunlight for each plant, sometimes a bit more. My research seems to indicate that the blueberries need the lowest PH, maybe around 5 and the other berries would be happy at 5.5-6.0. Here's what I am considering:
Blueberries (Misty, O'Neal, Jubilee, Ochlocknee, Brightwell, Sunshine & Northblue)
- 2/3 Peat Moss (Fafard brand from Lowes) (PH = 4)
- 1/3 equal combination of bagged compost & bagged cow manure (PH = 7)
- 1/2 tablespoon Garden Saver thoroughly mixed in (this absorbs water and releases it slowly over a 2 week period)
This gives PH of 5 and I was considering adding some vermiculite to this as well, or possibly pine bark (everything will be coming from Lowes) not sure which is better to add.
I have also been told to add some of the soil from our yard to this mix by the horticulturalist at the place where I am buying the berries, but so many recommend against that....I am lost. I do know to carefully fertilize after a few weeks so I'll use HappyFrog for acid loving plants.
Blackberries/Raspberries/Strawberries - (caroline raspberry, ouachita & apache blackberry, seascape strawberries)
These seem to have similar ph requirements, so I want to use the same mix for all 3 plant types if possible.
- 1/3 Peat Moss (Fafard brand from Lowes) (PH = 4)
- 1/3 bagged cow manure (PH = 7)
- 1/3 bagged compost (PH = 7)
- 1/2 tablespoon Garden Saver thoroughly mixed in
This should give a PH of around 6.0.
Again possibly some pine bark or vermiculite, which I would trade out for some of he cow manure (note it is not fresh, but bagged manure). Again I have been told to use soil from my own yard for as much as 1/3 of this mixture, but I am not sure if that is a good idea. My only guess as to why is that they want me to get some good microbe action going in the pots...
I would appreciate your help. I have ordered plants for my family, my brother's family, and three friends who all wanted to get involved in gardening with me when I told them what I was planning (no pressure right :-)