raspberries and blueberries

caroljeanbMay 23, 2010

I live near Green Bay, Wisconsin. I am trying to revitalize a huge wild raspberry patch by removing weeds, killing weed roots with Roundup and then fully fertizilizing the plants. They have not produced well in previous years. I hope they produce well this year. Now I want to start a blueberry patch. I have ample access to pine needles and plenty of acreage. How can I acidify the soil adequately for a productive blueberry crop?

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First of all, Roundup was a bad idea. :( You just killed all the good stuff that was in the ground that could have helped you with the raspberries. Mulching with compost and weeding by hand would have been a much better way to go. In fact, that's what I'd recommend in the future when you're helping the raspberries along.

The blueberries will want some food too, which could also come from compost. Pine needles will help with the acidity, as will coffee and coffee's grounds. Mulch with coffee grounds (used, not fresh!), then top with compost. If you drink coffee yourself, save your excess coffee from the pot rather than dumping it, and use that mixed with water to water the bushes.

That's where I'd start. I'm growing raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries myself and this is what I'm doing. The idea is to build the soil as you go, adding what you need. Roundup will do the exact opposite, stripping the soil of not just the weeds, but the microbes and good things as well. And you might kill the bushes too, unless they happen to be Roundup ready. Which they probably are not.

Roundup is a nasty beast. I really really wouldn't mess with it. The reward, if there is one, isn't worth the damage it causes. It's been known to cause issues with health in humans as well. :( Nasty nasty.





You can search for yourself "dangers of roundup" and get more, I just copy/pasted a few.

Hope you're able to get the bushes producing again... in a way that won't hurt them or the earth around them. :)

    Bookmark   May 25, 2010 at 10:27AM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

Bekajoi is right with his info on RoundUp. France recently did an in-depth study on RoundUp, and said that virtually everything Monsanto said about it being safe and breaking down was totally untrue. That study didn't happen here because Monsanto 'leaned on' the places that wanted to do them, like agricultural universities.

Raspberries and most bramble fruits are content with a fairly wide range of soil conditions, but blueberries are quite picky.

Blueberries really need acid soil, below 5.8 pH. If your soil is much higher than this, it would probably be easier to plant them in tubs so you could control the pH of the soil. They have have a pretty shallow root system, not requiring a deep soil to provide room for a taproot, etc.

Also check the pH of your water. If it's quite alkaline (usually, the groundwater follows the pH of the soil), collect some rainwater (usually leans toward acidic) and use that to water the blueberries.

Gardening and permaculture are learning experiences, you'll never stop learning, and you'll make mistakes until you find out (or figure out) a better way. Join the club! ;-)


Here is a link that might be useful: France Finds Monsanto Guilty of Lying

    Bookmark   June 14, 2010 at 4:42PM
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alexander3_gw(6 Pennsylvania)

I agree that mulching and hand pulling would be better for the soil, but I don't buy the finding that Roundup is not biodegradable. One of the big reasons that farmers like to use it is because they can spray it on the fields to kill weeds just before planting their crop. At home, I use roundup to kill weeds growing between pavers, and new weeds show up in a few weeks. For those making the claim that it is not biodegradable, the burden is on them to explain why its effects are not persistent.


    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 10:25PM
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Belgianpup(Wa/Zone 7b)

Monsanto lies like a rug. Americans are so poorly educated and so incredibly stupid, they will believe anything. Package something deadly in bright colors with artwork of birds and ladybugs, and the dummies will buy it by the barrel.

Ten years ago, sales of Roundup accounted for 70% of Monsanto's sales... do you think they have some incentive to lie?

Monsanto has created genetically-modified seed of food plants that have been specifically designed to be resistant to far more dosings of Roundup than normal, which means we get more Roundup in our food. Aren't you glad?

Monsanto also makes heavy donations to the agricultural colleges in the U.S. Then, if some student or professor comes up with some adverse research on Monsanto's herbicide or GM seeds, they threaten the school with withdrawal of their donations if the research is published. For those who have trouble with adding 2+2, that is called BLACKMAIL.

Roundup Doesn't Poison Only Weeds: http://www.mindfully.org/GE/2005/Roundup-Poison12mar05.htm

Monsanto's Toxic Bear: Roundup: http://www.mindfully.org/Pesticide/Monsanto-Roundup-Bear.htm

Differential Effects of Glyphosate and Roundup on
Human Placental Cells and Aromatase: http://www.mindfully.org/Pesticide/2005/Glyphosate-Roundup-Placental24feb05.htm

Monsanto's Roundup Herbicide Contaminates
Danish Drinking Water; Poisonous Spray [Roundup] on a
Course Towards Drinking Water: http://www.mindfully.org/Pesticide/2003/Roundup-Danish-Water10may03.htm
(English translation on the left)

Acrylamide In Cooked Foods; The Glyphosate Connection:

Pesticide Roundup Provokes Cell Division Dysfunction
at the Level of CDK1/Cyclin B Activation: http://www.mindfully.org/Pesticide/2002/Roundup-Cell-Division-DysfunctionMar02.htm

Fraudulent Conclusion Facts Found by Inspection of the
Safety Assessment of GM Roundup Tolerant Soybean: http://www.mindfully.org/GE/Monsanto-Fraudulent-Roundup1nov00.htm

Roundup Inhibits Steroidogenesis by Disrupting
Steroidogenic Acute Regulatory (StAR) Protein Expression:

Monsanto's Dirty Tricks: Atrazine. . . Toxic Deception:
How the Chemical Industry Manipulates Science, Bends the Law, and Endangers Your Health: http://www.mindfully.org/Pesticide/Monsanto-Tricks-Atrazine.htm

Monsanto Corporation Criminal Investigation Cover-up of Dioxin Contamination in Products Falsification of Dioxin Health Studies: http://www.mindfully.org/Pesticide/Monsanto-Coverup-Dioxin-USEPA15nov90.htm

A case-control study of non-Hodgkin lymphoma and exposure to pesticides: http://www.mindfully.org/Pesticide/Non-Hodgkin-Lymphoma-Pesticides.htm

    Bookmark   July 15, 2010 at 5:49PM
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caroljeanb - from the little I've read it sounds like raspberries and blueberries have different wants. Raspberries seems to like it a little drier, edge of a thicket kind of placement. Blueberries like a little more water (not damp), and I've heard of pairing blueberries and strawberries.

When I was a kid, my family would stay in the Crivitz area each summer, and so some foraging for berries there (now Gov Thompson state park). The raspberries were always on the edge of the forest/meadow or where WPS was keeping it clear under the power lines. The blueberries were usually higher, rocky, near pines and lots of ants (I'm not sure how these lowbush wild blueberries would compare to something purchased). Strawberries were usually in shaded green areas, alongside walking paths.

In our yard, this past spring and then again this fall, we planted blueberries under some mature pine. I'd read the blueberry/strawberry pairing, so I planted them together on the down side of our sloping yard. I planted blackberries on the hill, but again it's only been the one season. There are wild black raspberries that have naturalized all over the yard, and they seem to like the sunny side (s and w) of the tree/lawn edge.

I'm just realizing how old this discussion is :-) but I'd love hear other pairings or recommendations for any of the berries.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2010 at 4:38PM
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You need surfer & never use lime on blueberries.
What is wrong with using fresh coffee grounds around, blueberries or tomatoes,peppers or collard greens.
I have 20,000. pounds of coffee waste(green beans ,roasted beans, ground coffee not brewed & coffee chaff). I have never had a problem with it as a mulch,compost or turned in as a sheet compost. What have you read that says that fresh coffee is bad. I do not have snail or slugs, only tomato horn worms & a few aphids.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 8:05PM
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arugula(4/5 Wisconsin)

Hello from another Wisconsinite~

I'd like to piggyback on this topic and ask if anyone knows if I can grow yellow, red, and purple raspberries in the same area, without them all losing their distinctiveness. I'm not worried about disease issues- just wondering about them crossing genetics.

Thanks much!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 10:32AM
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