|'Bluecrop' Blueberry Bush|
Blueberries typically enjoy acidic soil and if the soil isn't ideal it will need amended. Getting a soil test to find out what the soil is like (I have to admit that I've never had my soil tested) from your local agricultural extension program is a good idea!
Here is my strategy for improving the soil for blueberries:
- Add aluminum sulfate and bonemeal to the soil prior to planting. The aluminum sulfate is a common soil acidifier often used in to change the color of hydrangea blooms. Bonemeal has a high phosphorus content which is good for promoting rooting. I want the blueberries to have a great root system to start off with.
- Add organic matter to the soil area. I'll scratch in compost periodically to the top layers of soil and allow the nutrients to soak down into the root system. Working in compost
- Water periodically with diluted coffee. There's almost always a little bit of coffee at the end of the carafe when we're done with the coffee in the morning. Unless of course one of the children kept us up in which case we'd be strongly considering brewing a second pot of coffee just to get through the day. Diluted coffee has a low nitrogen level and is slightly acidic. I'll also integrate the coffee grounds in and around the base of each plant on a semi-regular basis to improve the organic matter in the soil and improve the acidity.
- Mulch well! Blueberries need moisture and a good organic mulch like pine needles is perfect. They will slightly (just a little) acidify the soil over time, allow water to move to the root system, and shade the ground to keep the root systems cool and moist. Blueberries like their moisture!
I'm looking forward to the fruits of spring and winter hasn't even begun yet!
What fruits do you grow in your garden?