Planted those blueberries!

cranberry15(Zone 5 WI)April 13, 2012

My blueberries and raspberries arrived from Jung on the 11th. I soaked the blueberries for 8 hours and put them in yesterday afternoon. 2 patriot and 2 northland. I ACTUALLY followed recommendations and established the bed last fall. Horse manure, old pine needles, old leaves. I also added aluminum sulphate to the planting holes when I put them in. Mulched with pine needles. (we've got lots of pine on the property, thankfully).

I prepped the raspberry row yesterday (same bed as the blueberries) and mixed in some 10-10-10 granules. They're soaking and I'll put them in this afternoon. 9 Caroline plants. My soaker hose is laying along side the bed and ready to be tacked in to place. I am so pumped!! I've wanted to do this for years.

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With raspberries, a nice covering of hay/straw mulch is about as perfect as a bed you can provide for them and you.
I put blueberries in individual raised beds. How have you laid out your area? :)

    Bookmark   April 18, 2012 at 6:10PM
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cranberry15(Zone 5 WI)

It's really just one long bed, running along one side of my veggie garden. Oriented E to W. The area with the blueberries is a bit wider, not sure how close they'll get to the maximum 5'. The raspberries get about 20 feet at one end. 4' wide. I left a good 6 feet between them and the first blueberry bush. Raspberries got mulched with what I've got: grass clippings, fall leaves (maple and cottonwood).
I hope my soil acidity is adequate! I've got a pH meter, but I'm not all that convinced it's accurate. How have you determined your soil acidity and how often do you check? I'm thinking about collecting my coffee grounds separately from the rest of my kitchen scraps (another container? ugh!) to give to the BBs.
I've also read adding soil sulphur every couple years is a good idea.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 8:37AM
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I have heard of people using soil meters, I thought about buying one and in searching to find the best one found a number of articles and even a few agronomy studies stating they are not accurate and you should utilize the litmus (sp) paper in field instead.

Where we are located it was not advised to plant blueberries in the ground :-( so I dug a big trench and lined it with plastic silo bag on the sides. Basically a big pot and filled it with a mixture of peat and pine mulch. I just did this in march and sent a sample in to uwmadison for testing. The results should be back in the next week or so...

Did you add any sulfur last fall? Ammonium sulfate is usually suggested along with ag sulfur, supposedly aluminum sulfate is more burning and you need to use a bit more caution with it.. I haven't used any of them yet so no personal experience just what I have read.... I am thinking I will check in spring/early summer and in fall in order to keep it in check and also to add the right amount of fertilizer.

I recently found out that asparagus is supposedly picking about its pH and prefers to have soil in the 7.2-7.5 range... it grows like weeds around here so I am guessing we have fairly alkaline soil...

    Bookmark   April 19, 2012 at 11:47PM
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cranberry15(Zone 5 WI)

Well that last bit made me choke a little. My asparagus is nearby and grows like crazy. Awesome.
I did the aluminum sulphate at planting 'cause that was the recommendation from Jung. I mixed it in pretty well before I put in the plants.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 7:48AM
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There are some comments here and there about Blueberries doing well in soil with too high of a pH, as long as there is adequate organic matter and mulch to hold consistent moisture. Now I haven't been able to substantiate those claims with any research.
Just watch your plants closely, depending how many you have you could pot the in a peat/ pine bark mix for a year or two till you get the pH under control in their bed. I would leave them for now and just watch to make sure they look healthy.
The pH for asparagus came from Nourse farms catalog, they had as much info on pH for asparagus as blueberries.

Ohh one other thing to watch is your water, our well water has a pH of 7.8 with a lot of lime and calcium so I will be using water from our rain barrel as much as possible. There are a lot of posts about growing blueberries on the fruits and orchard forum. A great site with the soilless method for bb is Backyard berry in indiana.

The Wi extension website also has a little info on growing bb.

What varieties do you have? There was another site that was doing some trials on sustainable farming and they were using horse manure for fertilizer, the Blue Gold variety was doing the best in that particular growing medium.
As you can tell I've gone a little off the deep end on blueberry research...

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 8:19AM
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cranberry15(Zone 5 WI)

Yep, I too read that about the well water. I haven't tested mine, but my rain barrel is full and ready to go! Recently saw a solar-powered rain barrel pump. Hmmm...
My varieties are Patriot and Northland; 2 of each. The reading I've done leads me to believe that the plants won't die or anything if the pH isn't right. They just won't thrive and won't produce much of a crop.
We put a lot of horse manure in that bed last fall. I gotta find a new source, though. That old horse finally died...

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 8:28AM
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Well I have a ton of horse poop, you are more than welcome to :-)

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 8:37AM
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cranberry15(Zone 5 WI)

I will keep that in mind! Are you in the Union Grove area?

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 9:06AM
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No, by Manitowoc..

    Bookmark   April 20, 2012 at 10:15AM
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mustard_seeds(4 -Onalaska Wisconsin)

good for you! The fall color will be so pretty.

May I share my own experience? I put in 6 plants one spring, they did great. The following winter, somebody must have been hungry because when the snow melted, I found they had all been chewed up - clean bites of the young wood. Only 2 of the 6 ultimately survived the "massacre." At the time, I emailed the gardenweb guy Eric from the Madison area who does tons of blueberries and he said the chewed off wood and nearby scat pellets were rabbit evidence. So, the next late fall I protected the 2 bushes with a cheapo tomato hoop and wrapped chicken wire around the hoop. No bunnies got in, they were not chewed. I did that again last winter and now in year three they are bushy and healthy.


    Bookmark   May 1, 2012 at 12:12PM
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