Organic Fertilizers for Container Blueberries

shazaam(NC 7B)November 17, 2012

I'm considering switching from Miracid to organic fertilizers for my container grown blueberries this year. Based on reading that I've done here and elsewhere as well as advice from Keith at Backyard Berry Plants, I'm leaning toward a combination of liquid fish and kelp (with possible supplementation with a dry granular fertilizer). With that in mind, I'd appreciate feedback from others who are fertilizing their container grown blueberries organically. What do you use? How much and how often? Etc.

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I use on my container blueberry compost and home made tea. It worked well although the smell is not that good.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 5:57PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

I've used a lot of things but not Miracid.Bloodmeal,Cottonseed Meal,Hollytone,Jobe's Organic Azalea and Rhododendron,Whitney Farms Organic.They all work.The first application about April during bloom and then once in May and again in June.
I've used Backyard Berry Plants recipe with the fish/kelp/molasses according to their schedule and it seemed to be fine.
If using something in conjunction with their method,maybe try Hollytone or Cottonseed Meal. Brady

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 6:40PM
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shazaam(NC 7B)

I know what you mean about compost tea, foolishpleasure. I brew comfrey tea with a combination of compost and fresh comfrey, and the smell is...intense.

Thanks for the tips, Brady. I'm going to move nearly all of my blueberries to 10 gallon Geo Pots this winter, so I'm considering working a good bit of cottonseed and/or alfalfa meal (and maybe a few other things) into the new potting mix. I could then supplement with fish and kelp through the growing season. Keith at Backyard Berry Plants said that he used his full strength fish/kelp/molasses blend on his potted plants once every week (he also noted that he had good results from a further application of chicken manure fertilizer for struggling plants). When I did the math, I realized that's going to be quite expensive. I figured I'd go through 6 or 7 gallons of fish and a couple of gallons of kelp in a growing season, which would easily add up to $100 to $150. However, if I could cut the application rate by combining it with a relatively cheap seed or alfalfa meal, it would be manageable. Since it's hard to predict how quickly the seed meal will be broken down in the pots, the liquid fish and kelp with more readily available nutrients would help guarantee that the plants are getting an adequate nutrient supply. I might even do some side by side comparisons of chemical and organic fertilizer applications. I picked up a couple of discounted Brightwell bushes at Home Depot a few weeks ago, and they might be perfect candidates since they're nearly identical in size.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 7:32PM
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Bradybb WA-Zone8

I think it was a tablespoon or two per gallon of water when I used BBP's thing and also sprayed it on the leaves.
For a synthetic,Ammonium Sulfate,mixed at a rate of one tablespoon per two to three gallons of water,once a week won't burn the roots. Brady

    Bookmark   November 17, 2012 at 9:46PM
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