When I planted our three blueberry bushes, I did just about everything wrong.
a) I planted them in a bog. We had only lived in our house for a few months before I planted them, so I hadn’t gotten a good sense of what the different areas of the yard were like. Eventually I learned that back area of our backyard, along the fenceline, is the lowest spot in the yard. The whole backyard drains into it, and then it sits. It doesn’t drain well, and is consistently soggy after a good rain.
That’s where I put the blueberries. Bad idea. They need well-drained soil.
b) Blueberries need acidic soil. I knew this, and dug out holes for them and put some acidified potting soil in the hole and then planted them. I knew this would just be a temporary measure, but still. Bad idea. Acidify your soil properly before planting.
c) When planting, avoid digging out your native soil and re-filling with a very different soil. If the soils are too different they will never properly meld together, leaving the plant to try to survive in the invisible container you’ve put it in. When I dug up the blueberries, they were only in the potting soil area and hadn’t extended into the rest of the soil at all. Bad.
So what should I have done?
Blueberries are especially picky about their pH. They need acidic soil. You can amend the soil in a certain area for blueberries or other plants, but it’s easiest to control pH in a container.
When we had a fluke 60 degree day on New Year’s Eve, I knew it was my one chance. I’d been wanting to move the blueberries for two years, but needed to do it when they were dormant (aka – winter) but when the ground wasn’t so frozen that I couldn’t get them out. I had to do it.
I did some research online for what type of mix to fill the containers with. This is what I decided on:
- 1/3 peat moss
- 1/3 mulch
- 1/3 organic potting soil
- sulfur according to package directions for containers
I created the mix, dug the bushes up and replanted them in cedar half whiskey barrel-style containers. When I pulled the bushes out of the ground, the holes filled in with water. That’s how seriously boggy that back area is.
Just another reason to garden in raised beds!
I’ll let you know how the blueberries turn out in a year or two.