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Blueberries in large containers

Posted by bejay9_10 zone 9/10 (My Page) on
Sat, Aug 31, 13 at 13:05

Raising blueberries always sounded like a lot of extra work - especially if attempting to monitor the acidity of the soil. Also, I felt that perhaps a blueberry in my temperate climate might not have much flavor.

However, I inherited a nice plastic nursery tub - about 2 ft. deep and 2 1/2 ft in diameter. I'm wondering if I buried it in the ground with holes in the bottom, it might be easier to keep the acid problem more constant, and also facilitate watering - which is becoming an expense issue.

Am also interested in a variety for my climate that might have a bit more tartness. I'm near the ocean with foggy summers and no chill hours to speak of.

Any suggestions?

bejay


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RE: Blueberries in large containers

  • Posted by fruitnut z7b-8a,4500ft SW TX (My Page) on
    Sat, Aug 31, 13 at 13:38

bejay:

I've got a large container blueberry I just buried outdoors. I like it for temperature control and stability in the wind. But it doesn't make watering easier, it's harder. You can't tell when water runs out the bottom so are always guessing on when and how much to water.

In the container size you have wind and temperature won't be an issue. If you set the container in a saucer you will know when water has pasted through the media and the wicking action will save some water.

If this is city or well water, pH will be a big issue.You will need to acidify the water unless it's rainwater. And if using a saucer under the pot you might run into salt buildup over time. Leach and drain the pot/saucer once a month or so.


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RE: Blueberries in large containers

I'm guessing that you're in coastal California? If so, Sunshine Blue is low chill variety (150 hrs) that's very popular on the west coast. As a bonus, it's also reported to be very tolerant of higher than ideal pH. I have one that I planted in the spring of 2012 in a 6" deep raised bed filled with a blend of pine bark fines and peat, and, despite the fact that the underlying soil has a pH of about 6.5, it's thriving.

If you get at least 200 chill hours, you might want to look into Sweetcrisp, Springhigh, and some of the other low chill cultivars out of Florida. I don't know if any of them will meet your tartness requirement, but, for low chill areas, southern highbush are generally the best fit. If you get 300 or more chill hours, your options expand a bit to include some rabbiteye varieties.

As for the buried pot idea, you can definitely make that work, but I'd suggest that you at least consider a raised bed or mound. You'll probably have to water more frequently, but you also won't have to worry about the potential drainage issues that fruitnut mentioned.

This post was edited by shazaam on Sat, Aug 31, 13 at 14:29


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