Blueberry/Raspberry project from scratch-Gritty Mix Help Portuga
I´m really a newbie in growing something, but i have a couple of blueberry shrubs for 1 year now, and i´m starting to enjoy seeing them growing. Like in everything i get into, i really like to understand what i´m i doing, and i find a lot of info in this forum about everything from soil mixes, fertilization, diseases, etc, and, like i said i´m enjoying a lot all this new gardening world.
So the main goal here to plant blueberry and raspberry plants with 2 diferent soil mixes and observe/learn/share what the diferences are all about in terms of growing and fruiting, I want to begin with the practical side of growing this plants from scratch, becouse i want to learn if differences are huge or minor, and make my own decisons in the future based in what i learned.
I already bought 2 new blueberry plants (2 Brigitta Blue and 2 equal raspberry plants. I´ve also bought four 5 gallon pots and i was planning to start mixing the famous Al´s Gritty Mix and that´s when the problems started. It´s very difficult to find the ingredients arround here.
I live in the north of Portugal, Zone 9, and for the mix i need:
Turface - It´s impossible to get it arround here.
I´ve found LECA Flor from Weber which i believe is standard expanded clay in a micro size.
Size: 2 - 5 mm ( 0,7 - 0,2 inches)
I´ve been looking everywere and beside Leca and big size hydroton (i believe its the same as leca whit an irregular shape) i´ve only found sepiolite and bentonite as cat litter from Catsan. I dont know the size yet but, as i read in other posts, i believe Leca is a better product. Will this do the job?
Fine Pine Barks
They are easy to find, but not with these size. The smallest size i could get (and cheaper) was the one on the top of the picture. As an alternative i have found Orchid Substrate which is 75% small pine bark and 25% peat moss + perlite. That´s what was written on the label, but i could not find any perlite in it, which is ok!
I think i have 2 options here, first one is just crunch/break a little bit of the “pure” bark and sift it until getting the optimal size. The other option is just to sift the Orchid Substrate to get rid of the peat. (is this really necessary? would the peat be bad for the mix in this quantities?)
I can find a third solution and that would be mixing 50/50 option 1 and 2.
I must say that i focused all my attention getting the bark and turface-like “ingredients” for the mix and i haven´t looked for it yet. Anyway, when i was looking for reptil bark in a pet shop, i saw silica sand ( 2-4mm size) which was very expensive, and a product called “river grit” or “river´s strong sand” (in my translation) in a 2-5mm size, not so expensive.
I believe the main goal of the grit is to had “holes” in the soil, if this is correct, can i substitute this easily for someother non absorbant stone in that size range? This is not an issue right now becouse i think i can get the granite grit, i´m asking right now just in case i cannot find it in this particular size.
I´m also worried about the ph of this soil for using it with the blueberries. PH arround 4,8 - 5 would be needed. For the raspberries i think this shouldn´t be a problem.
Can anyone help me out on this gritty mix ingredients (for both blueberries and raspberries)?
If they are ok these are my questions:
1. How can i experiment any improvement in this soil mixture (for comparison)? Can i add something or change ratios? Like tapla said, this mix is just a starting point...
2. Do you think i shouldn´t do the experiment with the soil mix, but rather with diferent fertilization programs insted?
3. In your opinion, do you think i will achieve clear learning knowlege just using 2 plants? I´m not trying to write a scienfic paper on this, but do you think the differences could be significant, regarding that the plants have also genetic diferences?
I will thank you all for your input, and i promisse to share as much as i can of this work in process project.
PS Sorry for my bad english.