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Virginia plant ideas

Posted by riskybidnes VA (My Page) on
Fri, Jan 8, 10 at 20:28

Hello, first post here. I live in southern VA, near Martinsville. I am looking to add some bushes to my side yard that would be edible, such as blueberries and raspberries, possibly. We have red clay everywhere, it would get full sunshine, and we have a deer population that eats everything. What varities will work where I am at, and how do I keep the deer from eating any bounty from the bushes? I can "fix" the soil problem to get it to the right ph, but the other 2 things are bothering me a little bit because of all the unknowns. Thanks for any help in advance.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Virginia plant ideas

Hi Risky. I can't really help you but I didn't even know that red clay is in Va. Learn something new everyday, huh? I have clay too but it's the gray, gooey kind of clay. Hopefully, someone here will help you out with the edibles. Be patient. This site can be slow at times.


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RE: Virginia plant ideas

Thanks sunny. After a few days of nothing I kinda gave up on a reply.Been googling, is that a word, for the past week trying to find out everything I can to try to help me with my decisions.


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RE: Virginia plant ideas

work "alot" of peat moss into the clay. mix it with some compost. a bit of gravel for drainage. put alot of fox urine around the shrubs. also a salt block real far away will draw deer away from your shrubs.


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RE: Virginia plant ideas

You may find this publication helpful even though it is from Georgia (we have red clay too). I am successfully growing mid-season blueberries on the sunny side of my house as a result of these instructions.

Rather than using peat moss, we use composted pine bark which is sold in stores around here as "soil conditioner". Cheaper and a more renewable source of organic material. I use coarse builders sand for extra drainage (found in Home Depot, etc where they sell bags of concrete mix).

Here is a link that might be useful: Home blueberries


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RE: Virginia plant ideas

1) if you don't have a dog, borrow a big one! The deer eat my neighbor's plants (along with a nice fat pair of groundhogs that nibble their hostas) but they don't come within a foot of mine (it helps that my dogs eat dry venison kibble... they see/smell a deer and think "Wow! Dinner that runs!".

LIME, LIME, and MORE LIME. Twice a year to reduce the acidity of the clay (spring/fall). To be sure your shrubs aren't improperly fed, be sure there's plenty of room between your edible bed and your lawn.

And like the other posters said, compost. Last year I made my own little impromptu compost pile out of a concrete form left over from a project. I drilled holes in it for aeration, stuck it in the middle of my garden and when I mowed or was weeding I threw everything in it along with rinds and peels and cores leftover from meals (no meats but eggshells and coffee grounds are like gold in your compost pile) and voila! This spring I had a nice, dark mound of compost ready to spread in my garden. My early corn is almost knee high (and here in Va we say the corn should be "knee high by the 4th of July"). Incorporate that in to your soil and your berries will grow like mad. In my area we have wild blackberries growing everywhere (so I don't bother to grow my own, they're maintenance free courtesy of mother nature) so as long as they have enough sun, you're probably very safe to start with those. There are varieties that are thornless and I'm considering those in my own yard so we're not losing an ounce of blood for every pint of berries we pick!


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RE: Virginia plant ideas

I wouldn't use lime on your blueberries. I wouldn't use peat moss either. I grow blueberries in our red clay. I had to add sulfer this year to counteract the peat moss I had used to soften up the clay.

I grow three different southern blueberry varieties. The only thing to watch for is that they bloom at the same time.

My neighbors has hunting dogs that roam but that still doesn't stop the deer or the rabbits. Repel all works but stinks to high heaven. I also plan to put up chicken wire around the blueberries. My blackberries I let fend for themselves. There are always plenty left but that may be because the deer like the fox berries better.


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RE: Virginia plant ideas

There's blueberries raspberries and blackberries. Currants and amelanchier (juneberry). Filberts (hazelnuts). Elderberry has beautiful lacy cutleaf forms, like a japanese maple with flowers. If you have some protection, maybe fig or pineapple guava.


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