Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Blueberry Experiment

I LOVE blueberries.  It just don't love how much fresh berries cost in the grocery store.  Since I live in Central Indiana where the soil is rather alkaline, blueberries won't grow well in the ground here.  Last year, I researched how to grow them in containers so that I could better control the PH of their planting medium.  Colorado State University did a study of the best planting medium in which to grow blueberries in containers.   They found that a mixture of 40% coir, 40% peat, and 20% perlite resulted in the highest blueberry yields from blueberries grown in containers.  Coir is coconut fiber that can be purchased in quantity at hydroponic stores.

Last spring, I planted 5 plants of three different blueberry varieties in the recommended planting mixture: Elliot, Northland, and Coville.  Blueberries produce the most fruit when different cultivars are planted together because their fruit production benefits from cross pollination.  I planted the bushes in 24" pots which should give their roots the room that they will need.

All of the bushed survived the winter unprotected in my backyard.  They all have buds.  Only one of them suffered winter damage and has several dead branches.  Even that one has an adequate number of branches with buds.

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