Saturday, May 2, 2015

Planting blueberries

For some time now -- several years, in fact -- we've wanted to get more blueberry bushes. The original sixteen we transplanted into the raised bed in the garden are doing wonderfully well, but because we enjoy blueberries so much, we wanted to get more.

We finally bit the bullet and ordered 24 plants from a place called Burnt Ridge Nursery in western Washington. Prices per bush were decent ($8.50 ea), but it was still an uncomfortably steep chunk o' change.

I've never ordered from this nursery before, but they were friendly, helpful, and prompt, so I have no complaints whatever. If I need to order things in the future, I will use them again.

The bushes arrived on Thursday, carefully wrapped and boxed.

However before we could plant, we had to prepare a place to put them. We knew we were going to put them between the existing blueberry bed and the raspberry bed, so we had to get some tractor tires in place and fill them with dirt.

Don cut sidewalls out of four tires.

Then we chained one tire at a time and moved it into the garden to the space between the blueberry bed (on the right) and the raspberry bed (on the left, out of sight).

Don filled each tire as he went, otherwise he wouldn't be able to fit the tractor around the tires already in place. We had just enough mixed soil -- topsoil, compost, and sand -- left over from last year to fill the four tires.

A couple hours' work, and all four tires were in place and filled.

I didn't waste any time getting the bushes unwrapped and planted, since we'd already had them two days. The roots were still nice and moist.

This particular variety is called Hardyblue. I read lots of reviews of different varieties, include taste comparisons. I wanted a type that was sweet, cold-hardy (most blueberries are), and prolific. The Hardyblue seemed to fit the bill very nicely.

I arranged six bushes per tire.

Didn't take any time to get them properly planted.

The plants are in excellent shape. They all have buds...

...and a few even have leaves.

I gave each plant a good soaking. Tomorrow I'll sprinkle some azalea fertilizer (which is acidic) and add compost and mulch. I doubt we'll get any berries this year, but these young bushes should start producing very well over the next two to three years. Blueberry pies, here we come!


  1. On the cutting tires front. I discovered, a couple weeks ago, that even my little rinky dinky circular saw with whatever blade was on it will cut the sidewalls out of regular truck tires with no problems (though the cuts were more ragged than with the reciprocating saw). I have no idea how it'd work on the big tractor tires, but I found the circular saw MUCH easier to use and MUCH easier on my hands and arms.

  2. Have you ever thought of ordering honeyberries? They grow in the northern areas of the country, fruit early, draw bees and butterflies, and, per a friend of mine in WI, are delicious.
    You do have to have 2 types of cultivars for pollination, and it seems they may spread. There are varieties for almost every part of the country and, if I can get my trees thinned, I intend to order 5 plants.

  3. We just bought some blueberry 1 gallon plants today at Baker Creek Festival, and the nursery owner suggested we pull the flowers off them the first two years to encourage the plant's energy go into growth rather than meager berry production.

    Just thought I'd mention it. It might be worth looking into.

  4. My mother lives by bakers creek, she is going g tomorrow, I'm so jealous!! But I'm going there in June, love that place

  5. Hello, Friends! Just a note from an old blueberry grower: you may want to have a mite less less bushes in each tire. Reason being: each bush, over the years, will "branch out" from the base. They will fill up your tire quite splendidly getting real bushy and competing with each other for light and water. me--I'd plant 3-4 bushes per tire (but, then again, that's me.)

    How does that old 1950s mantra go that I heard so often whilst I was growing up: "DON'T CROWD ME, MAN!"

  6. Are you planning on transplanting them later, or do blueberries up there not grow as full and tall as blueberries here in Florida and Georgia?

  7. If you want to increase your blueberry herd, try rooting some bushes from the ones that you have. In the spring, clip off some green wood, dip it in rooting hormone and put in some rich soil. You can also bend a branch down to the ground and weight it down with a stone or brick. After a month or so, you should have roots forming where its been sitting on the ground and you can clip it off behind the roots and have a brand new plant. I've expanded my blueberry forest a lot by using the above methods and haven't bought a blueberry plant since discovering how easy this is. Hope this helps.

  8. Bad mistake, your planting is way too close and over crowded for Blues, in a year or two you will remember my words, "Too Close".