New bed for Blackberries and blueberries

butterflymomok(7a NE OK)June 1, 2011

Kind of off the topic, but I've had blackberry (nectar plants) and blueberry plants (host plants) in pots for two years now, and it's time to plant them. I decided this would be done the easy way. Hubby always wants to deep dig and turn the dirt over. Then I always end up with lots and lots of weeds. So, I am doing a modified lasagna bed--one I can use immediately. It's kind of a cross between lasagna and square foot gardening.

I put down newspapers 3 layers deep and covered with 4-6 inches of straw pulled off the bales that was starting to compost. Then I got 3 bags of compressed peat, four bags of composted mushroom mulch, 4 bags of composted chicken manure, and 4 bags of composted cotton hull mulch. I'll also add 4 bags of pine bark mulch and some vermiculite I have on hand. We will see how this all turns out.

I have one more bed to make next year--an asparagus bed. Hubby dug it up deep. So I plan to cover the soil with newspapers and mulch and let it set until early spring. Then the plants will go in. We've had asparagus beds before--can't compare the taste of your own fresh asparagus with what you buy. Just need to live 3 more years so we can enjoy the harvest!

Sandy

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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Oh, my - three years? I've never grown asparagus, so I didn't know that, but I sure know that any fresh veggies from your garden make grocery store veggies taste like cardboard by comparison.
I've also never done the lasagna gardening, just raised beds. Keep us posted as to how they do.
I'm sure you'll enjoy the blackberries and blueberry plants. I've been picking loads of cultivated blueberries every day for nearly a week. I've got early, middle and late ripening varieties to keep them coming for a pretty long while. Also, some of the wild types have made berries, and those are the best types for blueberry muffins. They also reportedly host those cute striped hairstreaks.
Don't work too hard! It's a cool 97 degrees here now, but it got up to 98 on my thermometer a little while ago - whew!

Sherry

    Bookmark   June 1, 2011 at 2:59PM
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shannonlantzy

This is my plan as well, however my hopes were to layer newspapers right on top of the existing grass, then aged horse manure, then mulched leaves, then grass clippings, then more mulched leaves, then maybe straw? I want to plant the bushes this Fall or next Spring. Is it a decent plan?

I *could* till the grass in and *then* layer newspaper, to loosen the soil underneath, but I'm not sure it's necessary given how shallow the blueberry roots are?

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 6:52AM
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butterflymomok(7a NE OK)

Shannon,

Your plan sounds great. The newspapers can be placed right over the existing grass. I used newspapers, then straw that was composting, and then all the different composts available mixed with peat moss and pine bark. It has been an extremely hard summer for the blueberries, so much heat, but they are surviving. I have to make sure that the bed is kept moist. I have new growth on both the blackberries and blueberries.

Be sure you provide an acid soil mix, as blueberries can thrive in pure peat moss. They are like azaleas. I think your leaves will provide acid. Preparing everything ahead of time and letting it "cook" is a good idea also.

Sandy

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 9:41AM
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spaceman13(6b)

From what I understand, the benefit from deep digging is to provide more root depth, to be able to plant more densely than recomended, in a smaller area. If that is not your intent, I would recomend your course of action.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 10:30AM
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bettyd_z7_va(7)

Sandy,

We started our asparagus bed this year with the same method. We still had some composted leaves from the free county leaf compost program + we pulled all of the flowering veggies that were left over from our fall/winter raised beds and laid those on top of the newspaper. Plus the other soil amendments, of course.

Finally used my head and made this bed close to the ouside faucet, so it is easier to keep watered. So far, I've managed to resist cutting the tiny asparagus. (Just to taste, you know!)

Shannon, You probably already know this, but I mowed the grass and then wet the newspaper down really well to make sure the grass got smothered and died.

Next year we hope to get the blueberry bushes in.

I remember watching a segment of The Victory Garden years ago and the guy stated that it is a good idea to mulch your blueberry bushes with fresh wood mulch every year to give them the acid that they loved. (To keep them healthy for the butterflies, you know!)

Betty

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 10:52AM
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