Getting free blueberry and raspberry plants...help needed

nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)June 11, 2014

A friend texted me that she has a blueberry and raspberry plant to give me. Not being one to turn down a free plant, of course I said yes!
Problem is, I don't know much about either.
I've heard BBs need an acidic soil and another plant. Can they be grown in a pot?(at least for this year til I start another area for fruits)
I know NOTHING about raspberries! Soil recommendations? (mine is clay, but I have compost), do they need something to climb? Another plant as with BBs?
Appreciate any help! Nancy

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shermthewerm(8 PNW)

Lucky you! Blueberries need another plant (a different variety). They do not like compost, but prefer sawdust (fir or hemlock is what they recommend here). I've seen people grow them successfully in pots.
Raspberries don't need anything to climb, but some staking is required--I have a row of raspberries with a stake at each end & wire strung to keep them upright. My soil is also clay in that patch, I do throw compost down when I have enough. Do you know if what variety they are? Some are sort of ever-bearing & some are summer-bearing (June here). The pruning requirements are different. Mine are ever-bearing & I just cut them all back to the ground in the winter, but the summer bearing ones, you have to pay attention to which canes you prune.
Hope that helps. Enjoy your new plants!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 9:16PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Raspberries are easy but, although seemingly looking a gift horse in the mouth, I'd be careful about accepting freebies. If they are from fairly new stock and the parents are still disease free and cropping well, fine. But raspberries can get viruses and the fruit quality and quantity can deteriorate. If you accept them check, either before or, to avoid hurting feelings, after receipt.

Lots of Raspberry and Blueberry advice over on Fruit and Orchards Forum.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 4:40AM
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Muscadines978(7, Dalton, Ga.)

I hate to disagree with the use of sawdust. Fresh sawdust as it decomposes depletes the soil of nitrogen causing a nitrogen deficiency in your plants. Only use the stuff when it is well composted!!!
When it comes to compost, I never heard of a plant that didn't like compost especially blueberries.
Hans

Here is a link that might be useful: Muscadines And More

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 5:48AM
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Muscadines978(7, Dalton, Ga.)

Please check out this link: http://gardening.about.com/od/berries/a/Blueberries.htm

Here is a link that might be useful: Muscadines And More

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 6:01AM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

Thanks, all! I'll hop on over to the fruit and orchards forum.
DH works in a wood shop, but mostly redwood sawdust.
Nancy

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 11:53AM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

Well, I'm forgetting about the sawdust, but my neighbor says we have alkaline(well) water. He's going to give me a test strip tomorrow.
I'll buy some rhodie mix to pot them up for this year, while I learn more about them.
The one plant I was given is just called Bushels Berries from River Ridge Farms...pretty generic. I'll have to look them up.
Now, if my water turns out to be alkaline, what might I add to it to make it more acidic? Nancy

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 8:40PM
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sandpapertongue(7a VA)

You can add vinegar to the water before watering the blueberries. Or you can set up a rainwater collection system and use the rainwater instead.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2014 at 8:45PM
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Muscadines978(7, Dalton, Ga.)

Please be careful with the vinegar, it's a good way to kill plants and mess up your soil. First of all don't worry about the alkane water, worry about the PH of the soil. Blue Berries prefer and do best when the PH is 4.3. If your PH is normal, 6.5 just ad about a 1/4 cup od Sulfur around each plant. If your PH is close to 3, just add a little, 1/4 cup, of lime. Just be careful and don't over do it with these chemicals. After adjusting the PH check it a month later.
Don't make the mistake that I made by over adjusting. My PH was 6.5 and I added 1/2 cup of 90% sulfur which dropped my PH to 3 so I had to ad lime to bring it back up. Please note that most manufacturers have changed their sulfur from 90% to 30% and still charge you the same price. Their purpose was to make more money, of course.

Hans

Here is a link that might be useful: Muscadines And More

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 5:16AM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

I have some calcium carbonate. Will that do the trick? Sprinkle some in when planting? Or do I have to mix it into the soil earlier in the year? Nancy

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 11:42AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

I am not a chemist by any stretch of the imagination but surely Calcium carbonate would make the soil more alkaline. Calcium carbonate is the stuff which furs up our kettles and pipework around my area - essentially chalk. There are not many areas in the UK outside the uplands which have acid soils and blueberries are frequently container grown here. We just use an Ericaceous mix as sold for Camellias, Rhododendrons, etc.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 1:30PM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

Hmmmm, I thought calcium carbonate was more like a lime type substance. I'll have to look it up! Thanks! Nancy

    Bookmark   June 14, 2014 at 9:23PM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

Calcium carbonate, i.e. chalk, IS 'a lime type' substance and lime will make soil more alkaline, i.e. raise the pH. For blueberries you need acidic soil so you have to lower the pH if it is not low enough naturally.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 8:41AM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

Sorry, got it backwards! Nancy

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 11:36AM
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nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

It looks like my best bet is the neighbor's oak leaves! I can compost them, but can I chop them and soak them in water to make a nice acidic water?????
Always looking for something to figure out! ;) Nancy

    Bookmark   June 15, 2014 at 10:47PM
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Muscadines978(7, Dalton, Ga.)

I am confused!!! Why are you trying to fix a problem when you don't even know that the problem exists??? As I mentioned before the first step is to check the PH of the soil. The results of that will tell you if you have a problem or not. A lot of home remedies don't work especially if you don't know for certain that you even have a problem. Then stick with the proven remedies to fix the problem.

Hans

Here is a link that might be useful: Muscadines And More

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 2:14AM
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floral_uk z.8/9 SW UK

I agree totally, Hans. Note I said 'you have to lower the pH if it is not low enough naturally.'

Nancyjane - you need to get your soil tested to see if it will suit the Blueberries. (Raspberries tolerate a wide range of pH) Either that or look at the kinds of plants which grow happily in your immediate area. Do Rhododendrons, Camellias, Kalmias and heathers thrive? If so you probably have acidic soil.

Home made concoctions of oak leaves will not acidify soil to any appreciable extent. Nor will pine needles. Trying to alter the pH of a bed full of alkaline soil is a massive job. I'd just grow them in containers or a raised bed where you can replace the native soil with an Ericaceous mix. But ONLY if the native soil is tested and found to be alkaline.

    Bookmark   June 16, 2014 at 4:40AM
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