New here. A few questions.

OkieDokieArtichokie(7)February 16, 2013

Hi all,

I'm pretty new to gardening, this will be my 2nd year. I just bought 3 blueberry plants from lowe's yesterday & got them planted in my container garden.

They are:
-Blue Crop
-Blue Gold
-Duke

I read that these varieties are "northern high bush". I thought we need "southern high bush" here? Or maybe I am mistaken? This is my 1st time growing blueberries.

I'm wondering now if I should have planted them this early? I figured since lowe's had them outside, then they could be planted now.

And I'm also wondering if my containers are large enough.

I planted all 3 blueberry plants in an 8' long x 2' wide x 11" deep raised bed that is 1 foot off the ground so it's considered a container. I would have preferred to only plant 2 of them in a bed, but I don't have room right now for the 3rd one.

They are filled a few inches from the top with:
1.5 bags of 3 cu.ft. Peat Moss
2 bags of 40 lb. top soil.
2 bags of 40 lb. compost & manure mix.

I read peat moss makes it acidic which is good for blueberries but is it enough?

Thanks for any help in advance!

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OklaMoni

I am don't know, which plant would have been better for you, but I do know, just because Lowes or Home Depot has plants, doesn't mean it is time to plant them.

HD has basil for heavens sake... and we all know, it is still WAY TO COLD for basil outside!

Moni

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 8:06PM
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slowpoke_gardener

Those are pretty beds, what are you going to set them on?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 8:56PM
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OkieDokieArtichokie(7)

Thanks for the replies,

I'm not going to set them on anything. Are you asking because they could rot? I might buy some pavers to set them on. I'm not sure. This is my 1st year using something like this so still learning what's best. They weren't that expensive to make so if I have to replace the legs it won't bother me too much.

Mostly I am concerned about losing my blueberry plants, those were the expensive part of my garden journey this far into the new year. I hope my beds are big enough for all 3 of them.

I only planted them because they are perennial and figured they would do fine. They will have to stay outside during winter at some point. Do I need to cover blueberry plants?

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 9:14PM
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slowpoke_gardener

My question about sitting them on something was fueled by the thought of will they rot, will they sink into the soil, and will you need to mow under them (will your mower fit)?

They are very pretty but it may be hard to keep them moist in hot dry weather.

I think experimenting is half the fun of gardening.

Larry

    Bookmark   February 17, 2013 at 10:36PM
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OkieDokieArtichokie(7)

They are pretty light (mostly filled with light peat moss) and the surface area of the bottom of the legs are big enough to keep them up. Our patio chair on the other hand sinks if you even think about sitting on it in the yard lol.

They aren't in ground so I am not expecting them to rot. Or at least not rot as fast as if they were in ground. But now that you mention setting them on something I may buy pavers for next year..

To help with the moisture loss during summer I was going to add vermiculite to the soil. It's supposed to be good for raised beds moisture retention. Or get some glass bottles fill them up and tip them upside down into the soil. Slowly releasing water the entire day.

We can't kill the grass or I would have just planted in ground or made ground based raised beds instead.

Thanks very much for your comments! It really gets me thinking about what I could do/do better. Which is exactly what I was hoping to get by posting here. I've been a long time lurker here, but never wanted to post anything. Thanks again! :)

Edit: Forgot to add that the lawn mower for sure fits under the 3 foot tall beds. The one on the right is the 1 foot tall bed and I'm not 100% sure if it will fit under it.

This post was edited by OkieDokieArtichokie on Mon, Feb 18, 13 at 7:01

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 6:57AM
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slowpoke_gardener

OkieDokie, thanks for posting the picture. I love seeing pictures of what other folks are doing.

Larry

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 10:16AM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

Blueberries must have acid soil. I have Blue Crop and Elliott growing in large containers planted with straight peat moss. I fertilize twice in early season and mid-season after the fruit is gone, with Espoma Soil Acidifier. Any fertilizer for acid loving plants will work.

Blueberries, like Azaleas, have shallow spreading fine roots, so I keep them well watered during the heat, which is sometimes 2X per day.

Yes, these are Northern High Bush blueberries, but mine do fine here in the heat so long as I shade their roots well and water them frequently during the heat.

Susan

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 10:31AM
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mulberryknob

Blueberries can also benefit from afternoon shade during the hottest part of the summer. And as Susan says, they take a lot of water. A good mulch is imperative.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 10:51AM
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OkieDokieArtichokie(7)

Thank you so much for all the replies. I'm going to look into the Espoma soil acidifier you mentioned Susan. & see about buying mulch, thank you for the tip mulberry.

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 2:38PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Remember that peat-based mixes dry out very quickly in summer, especially in raised beds or in containers. Once a peat-based mix is very dry, it is hard to re-wet it because the peat will try to shed the moisture. To avoid that scenario,strive to never let the peat-based mix get that dry. As Susan said, you may have to water more than once a day in the hottest weather, especially if it is hot, windy weather.

When you go away for a few days, you'll either need to have someone come check their moisture level every day and water if needed, or at least put them on a drip irrigation system with a timer so they get adequate moisture. Plants in containers cannot tolerate neglect as well as plants in the ground because they cannot just send out roots farther searching for water.

Be sure you know what the pH of your water is and keep that in mind with watering. Even when you plant blueberries in an acid-rich soil-less mix, if you water them with pretty alkaline water all the time, that alkaline irrigation water can affect your ph of your soil-less mix and can affect the plants. If you could catch rainwater in a rain barrel, that would be better for them than alkaline water if your water happens to be strongly alkaline. I have experience with this issue because our water from our local rural water co-op routinely tests at a pH of 8,2 or 8,3,

I've linked the OSU Fact Sheet on growing blueberries in the home garden for you. It is full of useful information.

While blueberries are able to tolerate cold weather once established, remember that yours are not well-established yet. If they've been growing in a nice, warm greenhouse all winter, they could be hurt by a sudden very cold spell were one to occur in the next month or two merely because it is very different from what they are used to. Once your plants are acclimated to cold weather, then the kind of weather we have here in winter won't bother them.

Dawn

Here is a link that might be useful: OSU Fact Sheet: Growing Blueberries in Home Garden

    Bookmark   February 18, 2013 at 5:26PM
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OkieDokieArtichokie(7)

Thank you okiedawn for all the information. I really appreciate the time and thought you take to give good thorough advice/information. I am checking out that link you gave now and looking into rain barrels also. All of you are awesome for giving so much help to newbies. Thanks again!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 6:17AM
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susanlynne48(OKC7a)

I mulch my Blueberries with composted pine needles, tuck the pots around other large perennials so that the roots are further shaded and the soil stays cooler. This works well for me. I'm not sure how you would do that with the raised planters/beds I see in your photos, though. Like a lot of shallow rooted plants, Blueberries like their roots in the shade and the top growth in the sun. Mine get about 6-7 hours of sun per day, and in Oklahoma's intense sunlight, that seems to be enough.

Scott is really our expert Blueberry person on the forums, so maybe he'll pop in here with more good info on raising blueberries.

Susan

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 7:59AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

OkieDokieArtichokie, You're welcome. I hope you'll keep us posted on how they do every step of the way.

Susan, I know that 6 or 7 hours of OK sunlight per day in summer is plenty for me!

I am sure Scott will have some comments to add. He was traveling last week, wasn't he? I don't know if he's back yet.

Dawn

    Bookmark   February 19, 2013 at 3:52PM
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