WOW! What Awesome responses! Thanks everyone!
Ok, let me try to answer your Q's as best I can...I'm a wee tired, had a long day working outside today.
Judging from your pictures, you must have a lot of good tips to share.
By all means, I am no expert! I just do what I do, when I do it, if I do it! lol! I'm a LAZY gardener! I have no special tips that I know of...but yeah, let me tell you what I've done with my BBs.
I have a question too--are those the same blueberry bushes that you started out with in 2002 and 2003?
I started with 4 BBs in 2002 (2 plants per EB). I believe I bought sunshine. Wait let me take a look at my Garden Log........ Yup! Sunshine they were! All 4. In 2003 I still had the same 4. Then in 2004 I purchased 4 Misty. I wanted More Sunshine but for some reason they weren't available at local nurseries, and since I had read about Misty, that's what I decided to get. In 2005 two of the Misty unfortunately died. Looking for replacements, I stumbled upon some "ok" looking bareroots at Walmart. So I Grabbed 2 for me and two for my sister. When I got to the register, it turned out they were $1 each! Two weeks later, the plants looked great! So I went back and bought my sis 2 O'Neils at .18 cents each! Later in the week I went back and bought 2 O'Neils' for me and they were only .08 cents each! So I went ahead and bought what they had left. They just wanted to get rid of them! Worked for me! Sadly some of those plants didn't make it. And lucky for me, my sister ended up giving her BBs to me! During that year I also purchased TopHat. But I've been most successful with the Misty, Sunshine & O'Neil, which reside in 8 EBs. I have 1-Misty and 1-O'Neil in 2gal Pots. And the TopHats (5) are in 2gal pots as well.
My plants are not "BUSHY" like most plants shown in pictures. I don't prune away older wood as I've read, that it has to be done. I only prune off any dead little twigs. And maybe some really crackly branches, if there are any. As it is, I find it difficult to pick fruit and not drop any. I can only imagine how much fruit I'd lose if the plants were all dense and bushy. I like them just as they are! I do prune off growth passed a certain height, and I try to prune back the side branches so they are about 7" long, no longer if possible. That's just my preference.
I have a question - I've always thought that blueberries require soil that is more acidic. Did you use something other than a potting mix for your planting medium?
What growing medium you use and do you add extra peat
You are absolutely right! They DO require more acidity. I planted all of my Blueberries in 'E.B. Stone Organics Azalea, Camellia, Gardenia, Planting Mix' and some in 'Gardener & Bloome Acid Soil Mix'
The E.B.Stone contains: Composted Fir Bark, Sphagnum Peat Moss, Redwood Compost, Mushroom Compost, Volcanic Pumice Stone, Earthworm Castings, Bat Guano, Kelp Meal, Feather Meal and Gypsum. I didn't have a bag handy for the 'Gardener & Bloome' to check what it consists of. To neither of these mixes do I add extra peat. I use them as is.
What fertilizer you use.
How do you fertilize your boxes?
At first planting I mixed in to the top 5 or 6 inches, 1 cup of E.B. Stone Organics Azalea, Camellia fertilizer, and 1 cup of vermicompost. I used 100% vermicompost. Now I'll add the bagged kind that contains kelp, and bat guano if I don't have any 100% pure vermicomp available. For fertilizing after the plants are established in the EBs, I gently mix into the top 1 - 2 inches the E.B. Stone fertilizer and again, the vermicompost. I try to not mess with the roots, if possible. I normally fertilize in July when all fruit is gone, and new growth begins. In 2009 I used a blueberry fertilizer I purchased from Gurney's. Don't really know if it made any difference compared to E.B. Stones. I did have a bit more fruit, but then again we had more chill hours than in previous years, and blueberries produce better with more chill hours. Also, my BB EBs are on the North side of a wall. So they don't receive full sun the whole year. Only in the Spring and in the Summer. During Fall and Winter I relax on filling the EBs reservoir. I actually let them go until there is no more water in the reservoir, before I add more water. They don't drink very much during that time of the year, and I like for the mix to take a breather from wicking.
Do you add anything other than water to the reservoir
Nope, nothing at all!
What do you do each spring before growing season
Marvel at all of the blossoms and berries that are developing and growing on the plants. Stop buying frozen blueberries, make room in the freezer for the berries I'm going to freeze, check my reservoirs to make sure they are full, do any slight pruning of overgrown branches and little dead twigs. And talk to the plants! They love it when you're grateful! I also tell them I'm sorry their air is being polluted on a daily basis by the idiots that are smoking next door. So nasty!
ALL of the other growing magic.......
Hmmm...Would my kitty sleeping on the BB EBs, be counted as magic? Shower your plants with Love!
Which varieties did you plant? I was hesitant to dedicate that many of my Earthboxes for the Blueberries when I planted them years ago.
In the EBs Sunshine, Misty & O'neil. The TopHats (in pots) will extend the season and ripen when these are done. I once read that 12 plants will provide for a family of 4. I think 12 plants will barely provide for my 4 year old niece alone! She came over and ate a good portion of that 2lb+ tub.
I don't know much about growing them but I assume they are a perennial shrub. Did you ever replant them and change out the mix?
Nope and nope!
I think that covers all the questions so far. I do remember once I had these odd looking white, spotted hard shelled things on the branches. I had to hand pick every single one off! And that was when I only had half of what I have now.
I still wonder myself, when and what I should prune. It really wasn't until Oct of 2008 that I really realized WHEN the flower buds begin to appear. I also still wonder If I'm feeding at the right time. I would think so...new growth begins to grow and 3 months later, the flower buds begin to develop. Buds begin the third week in Oct and picking begins the first week in April.