Thursday, April 21, 2016

We Planted Our Blueberry Bushes!


Excuse the super green photo, but that's just how perty my farm is ;)

Seriously, it is.

We bought two blueberry bushes from Menard's because 1. I love blueberries - they're my favorite!! 2. 'Cause growin' stuff on your farm is always fun. 3. Menard's had their 11% off sale & I figured "Why not?" 

The one on the left is a Bluecrop bush, and this is what the U of M website says about it: "Large, mild-sweet berries ripen in mid-season." 

The one the right is a Northland bush, and this is what the U of M says about that one: "Medium sized, mild flavored berries ripen in mid-season."

Sounds good to me! 
Yesterday, I researched the heck out of blueberry planting in Minnesota. I learned a few things:
1. Blueberry bushes like acidic soil. (Let's just hope mine is good enough!)
2. They love full sun - it gives them energy to produce berries!
3. My best friend's mom says her berry bushes grow well with a bit of sand in the dirt.
4. They like their space - from each other & from other things, like trees or other bushes.
5. Birds will want to eat those berries. Protect them with a shelter or netting of some sort.
6. They like soil that is well-drained, but moist. 
7. Mulching them after the 2nd or 3rd week after planting is a good idea. (I used a bit of straw for now, seeing as I just planted them yesterday.) Pine needles are a nice mulch for them, too, as pine needles are a bit acidic. (Which I will add tonight!)
8. Don't plant just one bush. They like other blueberry bush friends. 
9. Dig the hole big enough. Read your planting instructions! 
10. Fertilize the bushes a month after planting. Don't fertlilize right away.
11. Water them right after planting, and then once or twice a week. They don't like to be over-watered, but they don't like to thirst, either. 
12. Remember where you planted which bush. Keep the tags & note which bush is which.

I planted mine in an area that we will be tilling a garden soon. I figured this was best, as we will eventually fence that area in to keep out animals. Plus, when I go to the garden, I can remember to check my bushes. This spot has full sun & the soil seemed to be just fine. 

I dug the hole twice as wide as the root ball, but just deep enough to have the base of the bush level with the ground. With the dirt that I dug out to make the hole, I mixed in a handful of sand from a sand pile Jim has. Not a lot of sand, but just a bit. In the bottom of the hole, I put crushed egg shells & a bit of Epsom salt. I've read that these help things grow better. I did sprinkle only a pinch of 10-10-10 fertilizer in the bottom. I just so desperately want these plants to turn out well & I figured it couldn't hurt. I placed the plant in the hole and began filling in the hole with the dirt/sand mix. Again, it was only a small handful of sand - probably not even enough to make a difference but I slept well last night knowing I tried my best. 
Once I filled in the hole completely, I sprinkled just a bit of straw around the base to act as a mulch for now. Some websites said to mulch them right away, some said don't mulch them until later... so I kept it safe (I felt) and just did a bit of straw. Mulch will happen maybe next week. 
Jim was already in the area with the watering hose, watering our transplanted trees, so I had him add a bit of water to the bushes. Just enough so they got a good drink. 

Our property had random trees throughout the yard. Some places, they were too crowded, other places they were just inconvenient. So, we transplanted them to the property line to act as a wind barrier. Some were Maples, some we don't even know what they are. I'll maybe post on that later.

And there you have it! My precious blueberry bushes are in the ground. I plan on making a little cage/shelter box out of pallet wood & bird netting for them to protect from birds & other animals. Otherwise, I read that birds don't like shiny things & all you have to do is hang an old CD from the bush & it scares them off. 

Islo can be my guard kitty & snatch the birds up... 
Hunter. Pouncer. Attacker. Sunbather.
He came in the house this morning while I was getting ready.

We'll see when the time comes... which could be awhile until I get some berries. But nonetheless, I'm excited! 


Warm Wishes,
Ash

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