This is the story of my first time growing blueberries. It may take me a few years to get the whole thing posted, but I hope that it is a success.
We love blueberries! There is a farm just outside of town where we pick a gallon or two of delicious Powder Blue blueberries every year. I have no intention of giving up the tradition, but when my daughter spotted some Pink Lemonade blueberry plants at the local home depot, we had to get them!
Blueberries do better when cross-pollinated with other varieties. Although Pink Lemonades are self-pollinating, they should perform better if planted near other rabbit-eye varieties. I selected a Tifblue, which is supposed to be a good pollinator due to its extended blooming period. I also got a Powder Blue to cross-pollinate with the Tifblue since Pink Lemonade is not listed as a good pollinator for Tifblue. I think these three varieties should work well with each other.
Now we have four blueberry bushes: 2 Pink Lemonades, 1 Tifblue, 1 Powder Blue
Powder Blue Specs:
Pink Lemonade Specs
Plant Size: 4′-5′ Tall, 3′-4′ Wide
Fruit Size: Moderate yield of medium-sized fruit.
Light: Full sun to Partial Shade
Special Features: Pinkish flowers in Spring, Berries turn pink when ripe in Summer, Orange-reddish foliage in Fall. Grows in zones 4-8. Needs 300 hours winter chill (below 45 degrees) for best results.
Blueberries like full sun and acidic soil. A pH of 4.3 – 5.5 if recommended, depending on the variety and who you ask. I am aiming for a pH of about 5.0. There aren’t many places in my yard that get full sun. Plus the local blueberry farm closes in early July when the heat gets to be too much. I decided to put my raised garden bed at the back of the yard, under the edge of a tree. It will be out of the way when kids and pets are playing and it will be shielded from the sun during the hottest part of the day. It should get plenty of sun in the morning and evening.
We filled my raised garden bed about halfway with the lovely compost pile that I have been working on for about three years now. Our soil tester said that the compost was fertile but too alkaline for blueberries. I worked in the soil from last year’s Earthbox crop along with some soil acidifier, perlite, and peat moss and topped with a little Miracle-Gro Shake ‘n Feed fertilizer. I also chose pine bark for our mulch, which is supposed to have a good acid-level for blueberries.
I plan to re-test the soil next weekend and adjust as needed. I went ahead and planted our berries since I don’t think the numbers could be too far off, the weather is beautiful, and I think they will enjoy the upcoming rainy weather.
February 29, 2020: Planting Berries
It is suggested that you plant bushes about 6 feet apart. But my raised garden bed is only 8 feet long. And I know that the farm we go to plants their berries much closer. From center to center, we ended up leaving 32 inches between the Tifblue and Powder Blue, 28 inches between Powder Blue and Pink Lemonade, and 24 inches between the two Pink Lemonades. I assume this means I will have to stay on top of yearly pruning as the plants grow.
My daughter and I were snacking on a banana while we discussed our planting plans, so we threw a piece of peel next to each plant before adding mulch.