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MN Blueberries

Posted by Carmellia z 4 Minn (My Page) on
Wed, May 11, 05 at 12:04

I have heard it said over and over again that northern Minnesota is the only place in the state where it is worthwhile trying to grow blueberries. Are any of you in a position to confirm or refute that statement? I would love to grow some blueberries. Carmellia


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: MN Blueberries

I know up in Orr they are the best berries and the locals do not tell where they pick them. I'm gonna try blueberries this year too so I hope i'm far enough north. I'll let you know.
Julie


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RE: MN Blueberries

I grew up in Chisholm and the blueberries up there are terrific, but they are the wild blueberries. I don't recall a sole that ever grew them there - we mostly found them in the more boggy areas. I HAVE known people in my area (So Central MN) Le Sueur area that have grown them. The domestic varieties are entirely different than the wild ones in taste, etc. The domestic ones are larger, but I have never felt they had the flavor of the wild.

Sherry


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RE: MN Blueberries

They grow best up north because of the acidic soil found there. Down here in the west central prairie with the highly alkaline soil we struggle. We have 6 bushes planted in our garden and we are constantly trying to lower the ph of the soil so they will grow well- it's more work than it's worth I think. Better to take a trip up to the cabin in August and pick them wild. But my husband loves them and just bought two more bushes.


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RE: MN Blueberries

I can let you know later in the year. I just finished planting 3 bushes out of 7. I've been ammending the planting holes with a mixture of about 50% peat moss, 25% compost & 25% soil, then mulching with decaying oak leaves & pine needles. We got a ph meter but I won't check the ph for a couple of more days. If need be, I'll add some supher to lower the ph.


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RE: MN Blueberries

The other side of the coin here. I've have grown the MN half-highs for 23 years, in Dakota County(south metro), at my parents' home. I find them very easy. When I prepared the bed, I mixed a 1:1 ratio of sphagnum peat with native soil(clay base, but rich). I fertilize once a year with ammonium sulfate and mulch with shredded oak leaves. I had buried a children's swimming pool in the ground under them for moisture retention as the bed is 300 feet from the nearest water spigot. Except for a few times that first summer, they get only natural rainfall. One particularly dry summer, they did pretty much dry up, and of course very few berries that following year. But otherwise good crops. Long ago the tree roots have invaded the tub, yet the blueberries keep going and going.

I grow:
Northblue
Northsky
St. Cloud(I think)
Northland(a highbush, not half-high)

Judging size, taste, and crop size, overall I deem Northblue the best of these. Yes, acid soil is the most important thing, but perfectly doable. Be careful about using aluminum sulfate, as aluminate can become toxic. Ferrous sulfate, ammonium sulfate or ground sulfur would be my choices for acidity matenance.

Rick


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RE: MN Blueberries

Hey- cool trick with the burried tub- I have done that myself, on a smaller scale, for moisture loving plants in my sandy- almost too well drained soil. I didn't know it was a common practice.
Julie


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RE: MN Blueberries

Rick, I'm surprised they are growing well in the buried swimming pool because everything I've read says blueberries need very well drained soil. Huh.

I've also read in the U of M Extenion info that aluminum sulfate can damage roots, so it is best to not use it. Instead, use sulpher or iron sulfate if your soil is low in iron, to lower the ph. Top dress with compost (according to Rodale Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening) for added nutrients.

I am trying to grow:

Chippewa (2)
Elizabeth (2)
Groundcover (2)
Northcountry (1)

According to a recent issue of Northern Gardener, Chippewa is one of the most flavorful. I planted Groundcover & Northcountry, both low growing spreading types on a slope in our front yard here in Saint Paul which is tricky to mow.


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RE: MN Blueberries

First off, oops! I knew St. Cloud didn't sound quite right in my listing. That is wrong and I'm sorry about that. It IS NorthCountry. Actually, St. Cloud, I think, would be too new of an introduction for me to have for 23 years anyway.

Second, my buried pool is way buried. the top rim is 12-14 inches from the surface. Blueberries DO need well drained soil. You can find them growing wild in the bogs as well as highlands, but never in soggy soil.

Rick


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RE: MN Blueberries

I've got several blueberry plants. What I've had to learn is to protect them from hungry bunnies over the winter. A couple of my plants have been eaten down to the ground. They've managed to come back, but it destroys any blueberry production.

I also mulch with pine needles to help maintain the pH of the soil.


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RE: MN Blueberries

Hello--

I just bought two St. Cloud blueberry bushes at a nursery, they looked very healthy and the price was right. The sign said they grow to 4 feet, but info I'm finding on the web says they get to be 2'. I've been planning blueberries since we moved in three years ago, and I am worried that my snap decision will foil my plans. (Which apparently didn't include planning the cultivar....)

I know that I will need a midseason pollinator with these two. Any suggestions? (I'm looking for half-high)

Thanks for input.

Lenvt


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RE: MN Blueberries

Lenvt, I have an article about blueberries from the Mar/Apr issue of The Northern Gardener here. It says St. Cloud grows to 5x4. It is considered a medium/high bush. It is listed as an Early Season. The only other earlies listed are Polaris (medium/high, 4x4) and Northcountry (medium, 2 1/2x4). I got my Northcountry from Hermes on Larpenter. It is a very healthy plant. They also have another variety, Northland I think, a 4x4 mid-season.


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RE: MN Blueberries

I WILL LIKE TO BUY BLUEBERRIES BUSHES:NORTHBLUE,POLARIS,CHIPPEWA,NORTHCOUNTRY.I'M LOOKING FOR NURSERY HERE IN MN WHAT GROWS THEM.


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