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  • Hello blueberry peeps

    I'm never over here do to not really having blueberries. I have two of the "pink lemonade" plants from The Home Depot last year, and they are in the garage with the figs because I was unable to get the area I planning to plant them in built.

    I do have a question, it is my understanding that blueberries like / require acidic soil, the soil in my area is rather alkaline. So is there a blueberry that is zone 4B/5A hard that can tolerate alkaline soil or do I need to amend the crap out of the soil and use an acidic fertilizer?

    Thank you
    Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

    “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

  • #2
    For my blues, I bought a bag of small sized pine bark for each plant, mixed that with some wet peat moss and planted them in that combo. Pine bark is so cheap so you don't have to worry about which variety will tolerate a more alkaline soil. You can just get the ones that taste good instead! I referenced information from WillsC and Fruitnut about treating my water to acidify it, using ammonium sulfate to fertilize, and in general everything about blueberries. The water treatment and fertilizer really kicked my plants into overdrive and they grew really well. I had to stop the fertilizer in September to allow them to harden up for the winter (what winter?) in south TX.

    Before I knew any better, I bought my first plants. I didn't know there were big taste differences. So, I've got some varieties growing (Tif Blue, Powderblue) that I haven't read any good reviews on. They are really beautiful right now though with the leaves deep red color, so I'm not pulling them out. I've also got Brightwell, Premier, Indigocrisp, and what I hope are Sweetcrisp. Taste test results hopefully next year
    Houston, TX Zone 9a

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    • #3
      I also just started growing a few blueberries this year for the first time (with them doing well, that is). Previous experience with putting a blueberry in neutral/slightly alkaline soil and expecting it to thrive (or even survive) was .... enlightening to say the least. I know better now!

      Amending the soil heavily with pine bark and peat and using acidified water and acidic fertilizer seem like important must-haves if you want them to do well. Otherwise if you're just planning to grow a couple, keeping them in pots of acid potting mix and watering and feeding accordingly would be easy. I have mine in 5-gal pots now and they're growing fast at about 3-4' tall. I plan to pot them up to final size of 15-gals next year.
      Sarah
      Bay Area, CA (zone: 9B)

      Comment


      • #4
        My water is rather alkaline as well. This why I have been avoiding them for years. Well, I might leave them in pots, amend the crap out of a new raised bed or send them down the road. I'll figure it out this spring.
        Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

        “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

        Comment


        • Sarahkt
          Sarahkt commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks, Gina! Calling ahead is something I should have done. I've walked into two shops so far and haven't found it yet.

        • Visceral
          Visceral commented
          Editing a comment
          Once you do find that acid, be sure to research how to properly dilute it. When I was ready to add mine to a bucket of water, I dressed like I was handling plutonium. It may have been overkill, but I like my eyes and skin. Now that it is diluted, it is very easy to handle without extreme caution.

        • Sarahkt
          Sarahkt commented
          Editing a comment
          Oh, I have research grade and pH strips, have been using it for a while now.

          Just looking for another source when my current stock runs out. Thanks!

      • #5
        At my old house, I had a variety rabbiteye blueberry cultivars direct planted in the ground in amended soil and they did ok. At my new house I did the same. They did horrible and are still suffering. In the spring of 2015 I did a raised bed planting and I have had the best results. I laid out two rows of 50 concrete blocks, parallel. At both ends of the rows, I placed 2 concrete blocks, end to end, between the rows. I broke up the soil to a shovel heads' depth. I bought pine bark mulch, not nuggets, and bales of sphagnum peat moss to fill the bed. Both are highly acidic and high in organic matter. I laid down a several inch layer of the pine bark mulch and then topped that with a several inch layer of peat moss, the entire length. Then I stirred it up as best as I could. I didn't have anything to mix them up in and this worked fine. I repeated this process until the bed was filled. No other soil or medium was used in my application. I think I watered down the mix to settle it in and saturate it before planting, but not sure. Anyway, I had to put some large rocks around the rootball of the largest bush as strong winds blew it over before it had anchored itself in. It took a lot of water to really moisten the mix. I watered daily for a while and as they got established, it became bi weekly to weekly. I learned that they liked rain water, so I collected and used when available.

        At my location, I could grow rabbiteye or southern highbush and possibly a few northern highbush. In reality, I am to far south for most northern highbush. IMHO, I am to far north for successful southern highbush, they would bloom too early. Hence, I grow rabbiteyes. Rabbiteyes are more forgiving on acidic requirements. They also don't require as much organic matter in the soil as the highbush varieties. That being said, they still benefit from it.

        Scott, to you I would say to start with, build a raised bed with pine bark mulch and sphagnum moss. At this time it is very important not to add any fertilizer or maure, very well could kill them. Then go with northern highbush or half highs. Learn from Wills how to acidify water correctly with battery acid. He has this down to a tee. Growing blueberries is very rewarding as are our figs.

        Visceral, I have eaten all of the rabbiteyes you list in your post above. I have found Ochlockonee to be much more flavorful. Brightwell didn't taste that great, but I will eat them. I should get to try Baldwin this year also. The long warm snap we had in December had many of my bushes budding, blooming and setting fruit. I don't know how that will effect this years' crop.

        My directions may not be the best and some of you may know better ways. What I will say is the plants grew more vegetation and shoots than any others I have grown before.
        PPP
        Eatonton, GA zone 7b/8a

        Comment


        • Visceral
          Visceral commented
          Editing a comment
          I put mine in the ground and added the pine bark mulch as an amendment. It was about 6 months before I read about the bathtub effect in the clay gumbo we have. But they were doing fine, so I left them alone. Future plantings will be raised bed like you have.

      • #6
        That is a lot of good advice PPP, thank you.

        I may just put them in 10 to 15 gallon pots for now. I'm not sure if I'll be able to build the raised bed this year, but if I do I'll follow your mix.

        Sadly, it is illegal to collect rain water or snow melt in Colorado.
        Last edited by COGardener; 01-16-2016, 12:46 PM.
        Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

        “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

        Comment


        • Blackfoot12
          Blackfoot12 commented
          Editing a comment
          That is sad. They let you use water that has been treated but not water that comes from the sky? A good bit of which will evaporate? I wish I understood the reasoning.

        • COGardener
          COGardener commented
          Editing a comment
          Our forefathers sold and or leased water rights to other states, and those states (California for one... sorry) rely on that water and believe that allowing the handful of people that actually would collect some rainwater will effect what makes it down stream. They believe it so wholeheartedly that despite several scientific studies that prove otherwise they were able to get the vote that would allow us to collect rain water canceled.

          However, we are slowly making headway on the issue. IF you have an agricultural well on YOUR land, you are now allowed to collect rain water and snow melt as long as you are not inside certain city limits.

          It's changing slowly, and most people that are going to do it... well... they do it anyway.

      • #7
        Originally posted by sarahkt View Post
        I also just started growing a few blueberries this year for the first time (with them doing well, that is). Previous experience with putting a blueberry in neutral/slightly alkaline soil and expecting it to thrive (or even survive) was .... enlightening to say the least. I know better now!

        Amending the soil heavily with pine bark and peat and using acidified water and acidic fertilizer seem like important must-haves if you want them to do well. Otherwise if you're just planning to grow a couple, keeping them in pots of acid potting mix and watering and feeding accordingly would be easy. I have mine in 5-gal pots now and they're growing fast at about 3-4' tall. I plan to pot them up to final size of 15-gals next year.


        What type do folks out there plant? Southern highbush or rabbiteye primarily? The chain stores here I've been to only sell the rabbiteyes it seems. That's why I bought them initially.
        Houston, TX Zone 9a

        Comment


        • Sarahkt
          Sarahkt commented
          Editing a comment
          I definitely can't speak for everyone, but I've only tried to grow Southern highbushes, low chill varieties. There's a very helpful thread here, Pharmachad's taste test thread, in which he and others rate and discuss blueberry varieties. I found it helpful over the past few months in cherry-picking some of the ones that at least one or two agreed tasted great:

          http://www.ourfigs.com/forum/blueber...rry-taste-test

          I started with a Sunshine Blue Dwarf as a gift for my partner. It did great its first year so a few months ago I looked into getting tastier varieties to cross-pollinate and increase the crop. Now we have one each of Jewel, Star, Emerald, Misty, Sharpblue, and a number of TC small hopefully-Springhighs and hopefully-Sweetcrisps from eBay. Recently just bought some larger Sweetcrisps from a forum member here and shared them with family members (thanks!) The Sunshine Blue Dwarfs have very attractive, smaller leafed foliage compared to the others, but I hear that Sweetcrisps win the taste test hands down which is the important thing. Hoping to see for myself later this year, though with the strange weather all the bushes are budding and flowering now.
          Last edited by Sarahkt; 01-16-2016, 02:52 PM. Reason: added taste test link

        • Visceral
          Visceral commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for that link. I will have to expand my horizons and get some different varieties in the future if I get permission.

      • #8
        http://www.davewilson.com/product-in...ct/Blueberries
        zone 6

        Comment


        • #9
          Hey Scott, check out this recent thread.
          New BB grower zone 6b
          Calvin, Wish list is to finish working on the new house, someday.
          Bored? Grab a rake, paint roller, or a cordless drill and come over!

          Comment


          • #10
            Will do. Thank you Calvin.
            Scott - Colorado Springs, CO - Zone 4/5 (Depending on the year) - Elevation 6266ft

            “Though the problems of the world are increasingly complex, the solutions remain embarrassingly simple.” – Bill Mollison

            Comment


            • #11
              I use 15 - 20 gal pots filled with pine bark chunks, peat moss and a little compost and Espoma Tomato Tone. They seem to do fine in it. I have clay soil so even a raised bed is iffy. My N Highbushes stay out all winter. My S Highbushes and Rabbit Eyes are in the garage with my figs. I'd love to get indigo Crisps and Spring Highs if anyone knows where I can find them.
              Bob C. KC, MO Zone 6a. Wanted: Martineca Rimada, Galicia Negra, Fioroni Ruvo, De La Reina - Pons, Tauro, BFF, Sefrawi, Sbayi, Mavra Sika , Fillaciano Bianco, Corynth, Souadi, Acciano Purple, LSU Tiger, LSU Red, Cajun Gold, BB-10 any great tasting fig

              Comment


              • Visceral
                Visceral commented
                Editing a comment
                http://www.justfruitsandexotics.com

                They don't have Indigocrisps, but they do have Springhigh.

              • Sarahkt
                Sarahkt commented
                Editing a comment
                I wish there was a filter that let you filter out any mention of nurseries or cutting sales that don't ship to CA. I had a plant in my shopping cart then saw the "We do not ship to (and we all but spit upon) CA" sign.

            • #12
              Hello...can i ask? What blueberry plant adaptive in tropical climate sir?

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