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We're very keen on eating blueberries & are thinking of planting a few bushes near our raspberry canes. Are there any tips that readers can give me on the easiness of growing/type of crop/any special conditions needed?
Many thanks in advance.
Hi Cherry, blueberries must have acid soil with a pH between 4 and 5.5 which is too acidic for raspberries so the chances are your soil isn't acid enough if the raspberries are growing well. I would check the soil pH with a cheap test kit (only a few pounds) and if it is not within range consider growing the blueberries in large pots of ericaceous compost. They grow very well like that.
We have blueberries growing next to strawberries,tayberries and gooseberries. We created a raised bed and just put ericaceous soil around the blueberries and this is their third year now and nothing has suffered by having two different soil types side by side. You could always dig out the soil and replace it with ericaceous, we've done that with other plants and nothing has died.
Trouble is the alkalinity of the natural soil eventually permeates through the ericaceous soil. Blueberries really do need a very acidic soil.
I once tried to grow lime hating heathers in a raised bed of ericaceous soil. Fine for a couple of years or so but then they began to suffer. Not convinced 2 different soils side by side is sustainable
It seems to work for me. I also have an acer bed infront of the shed with different varieties of acer in, and an azalea. They've been in for longer than the fruit and no sign of problems. I've also got a huge snakebark acer treated just the same and an acer I grew from a twig not far behind in height.
I am in the same predicament as I have two blueberries in pots but they don't like to dry out at all so they are cropping very badly. I am about to plant them out in the garden and I've got some ericaceous compost to put in the planting holes. There is a blueberry in the public gardens at the end of our road which crops really heavily so I'm hoping I can amend the soil and water each growing season with sulphate of iron and we'll get more fruit. Pruning wise, cutting out the centre stems to create a bowl effect is meant to increase yields.
I grow mine in pots in ericaceous compost and they are doing v v well
My M has two varieties growing in pots of ericaceous that do very well. She gives them an annual feed of sequestered iron. Dunno if this is correct thing to do or not!
All the above is really useful--many thanks to everyone. Interesting about the raspberries as they aren't in actual fact producing good crops. I've always presumed the soil is alkaline as I have lots of chalk around; but have never carried out a PH test. Certainly will do as it may explain reason for other failures.
I grow mine in large pots and 2013 was the first year (I've had the plants 5yrs) I got a decent crop (I say decent loosely, I got a small pot full!!) and discovered that this was due to them being pot bound - apparently when the roots no longer have anywhere to go, they finally put their energy into producing fruit!! Who'd have thought?!?!
Blueberries are probably the best of all soft fruits for pot growing and this would seem to be the ideal way of growing them unless you happen to have acid soil. Blueberries actually seem to like growing in pots!
A pot size of 18" is ideal; over-potting will actually decrease yield and you also run the risk of 'stale' compost since Blueberries are quite shallow rooted.
There are actually no fully self fertile varieties and it's always best to plant a pair of different varieties. Another aspect to consider is that of fruiting time. By planting an early and a late you will get a spread picking season.
'Patriot' is a good early variety and 'Goldtraube' a good later one.
in the case of blueberries having shallow roots - can compost be saved in the bottom of the pot by filling with a higher percentage of crocks? i do always wonder when planting in pots whether the compost at the bottom gets wasted. i know you could lift it up and see, but - just wondered if you had a rough guide?
Hi, you could fill the bottom quarter say with crocks etc but it might be difficult to maintain moisture levels in the active compost as it will be much more prone to drying out. Better I think to choose a not-too-large container in the first place, or increase the size of container gradually over 3-4 years.
Hope that helps.
Thanks to Happygirl for the explanation why I had a wonderful crop of pot grown Blueberries last year.. They are very pot bound and I had decided to repot them this year. Now I do not know what to do! Incidently, I would not get any soft fruit in my garden if I did not go to considerable expense and bother to keep the blackbirds off.