Questions-growing Blueberries in Nevada

naturalmommys(9)December 2, 2010

Hi,

I am wanting to grow some blueberries and I live in Las Vegas Nevada.

I will be growing them in Earthboxes, good or bad idea?

It gets damn hot here, is that okay?

Full sun/partial,or what?

What kind and how many do you recommend?

What is a good source for quality plants that cant be easily damaged by an beginner like me? Any links are appreciated!

What is the best time of year to buy and plant these?

What type of soil can I use for these in an Earthbox?

How many plants is ideal to support a family that generally goes through 1lb of berries in 3 days?

I would like to buy ones that are older I guess since they produce more fruit right off the bat, right?

Is there anything else I need to know?

Thanks in advance, I get such great help on here and hope my next gardening adventure goes better than last year.

-Christina

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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Christina:

Vegas climate is unique in that you get adequate chilling in winter for most things and screaming hot in summer. Blueberries will be a challenge but are possible.

The most important ingredients are acidic, well drained soil and non-alkaline water. Many people use a soil mix that is largely spaghnum peat moss. I use a light airy compost mixed with the peat.

You don't get enough rain to collect rainwater so you are stuck with tap water. If that comes from lake Mead that may be OK but likely you will need to lower the pH. Vinegar may work but I use sulfuric acid and it works great.

The heat is an issue. I'd grow them under shade cloth. About 50-60% shade over the top and 30-50% on the sides if you need to block out the birds. You also need to be concerned about the roots being too hot. So shade the pots if possible.

Plant them about the first of February after the worst cold nights are gone. I wouldn't be concerned about plant size because unless you are very skilled the first plants are at best 50% likely to make it. In other words practice on some small cheap plants. I've lost about 50% of what I've started.

To produce a pound a day for two months you will need at least 10 plants.

I'd try both northern and southern types. Two that are intermediate are Star and Legacy. They are 400-500 hr chill types. You might want to try Emerald and Jewel. They are very high yielding low chill varieties that may bloom too early. You probably get enough chilling for northern highbush and they will bloom later. So if the southern highbush are getting frost damage in spring try the northern.

There are much easier fruits to grow in your dry heat. You might want to check out the research orchard in North Vegas. They are growing many types of fruit including pluot.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 11:33AM
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riverman1

I am growing berries very successfully in eastern Washington in containers and we have very hot summe rs here. As hot as Vegas? No but we have a couple months of 90+ plus weather every summer. I would put your plants in an area that gets morning and early afternoon sun and is shaded late in the day when its the hottest. Use a mix of mostly peat moss and a bit of potting soil in your containers. Make sure you water them every day! Keep them moist.

RM

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 8:33PM
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