Which blueberries should I grow?
Since there are more than one species known today, here we will explain that different varieties can be grown from Texas to Canada.
The first thing to do is to ask someone who already has some sort of experience in growing blueberries, or try asking your local Cooperative Extension office for some advices. There is a great chart made by Mother East News that summarizes recommended blueberry types for different regions.
Basic blueberry types include:
- Low – bush – cold tolerant, but less productive.
- Northern high – bush – (zone 5-7 or colder)
- High – bush – (zones 7-10)
- Rabbiteye – this one is best for southern growers
- Saskatoon – this is not a real type of blueberry, but is tolerant to extreme colds.
The type of soil you need for blueberries:
Regarding this question, blueberries grow best with an acid soil pH between 4 and 5.5. The best thing to do before you start growing blueberries is to do a soil test to make sure you got the right one. In case your soil turns out to be alkaline, you need to do a lot of soil amending, or try growing blueberries in a container.
When growing blueberries consider the fact that the key component is the soil rich in acidic, organic material like the one found on forest floor, or edge of the forest. In order to make such environment for the blueberries peat moss is commonly recommended, but pine needles, leaves and other tree fallout work as well.
When preparing your planting area, you should dig a generous amount of organic matter into your soil. Be careful of the large amounts of sulfur and other chemical additives. They may lower pH and disrupt the soil microbes.
TIP: If you decide to use sulfur to lower pH, wait at least three months for it to break down before you plant the blueberries. Add it in fall, for planting in spring.
When planting blueberries, some people use pine sawdust to kill the weeds. They say it is OK, but they also say that because of the nitrogen present in it, it slowed down the plant growth.
Now that everything is ready, and the planting process can begin, add some additional pine needles.
Advice: When you extend your blueberry patch, smother the grass in a 10’x24’ plot with black plastic during the growing session. When the fall comes you can tile in a generous amount of leaves and black peat by-product from some earthworm casting production.
How deep should you plant the blueberries, and when should you fertilize them?
Plant the potted plants at the same depth they are growing in a pot. This rule stays the same for bare root plants. Fertilize the plant with 2 ounces of ammonium sulfate, 18 inches from the plant when you see blossoms, and increasing by 1 ounce each year, up to 4 ounces per plant per year. After a few years, when organic mulches are applied, increase the amount by ½. Keep gathering pine needles for mulch to help you keep the weeds down. Blueberries cannot compete with grass.
Some of the people who grow blueberries have discovered the way that the plants respond to earthworm castings for fertilizer; they say it is really good to use such thing. From their experience a complete organic fertilizer gives results such as Miracle Grow cannot match.
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