Planting blueberries in a pot in backyard

Discussion in 'Fruit and Vegetable Gardening' started by Bonaventure, May 25, 2020.

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  1. Bonaventure

    Bonaventure New Member

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    Hi, I am new to gardening and I am interested in planting blueberries in my backyard. I did a bit of research online and found that they like acidic soil, pH around 4 - 5. I also read that an easy starter is to mix regular potting soil with peat moss, in a one-to-one ratio. So I did that in my 20" pot, but when I use the commercial pH tester (the one with 2 needles sticking into the soil) it says pH is only 6. In fact, over time, it appears the pH is gradually returning to 7. Is my tester broken or is it expected, that the peat moss wasn't acidic enough? I did my initial gardening shopping at Canadian Tire, and the next acidifier available there was aluminum sulphate, which many people obtained due to the toxic aluminum. Any advice and tips? Will my blueberries grow fine with a 1:1 mix of peat moss and regular potting soil?
     
  2. Puddleton

    Puddleton Active Member 10 Years

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    Greetings and welcome to horticulture.
    Items to note
    1. The potting soil should be fine for Blueberry. (Providing it is high quality or meets your industry standards). Too much peat moss will hold a lot of water around the roots.
    2. How many litres or gallons of soil do you need to fill your 20" pot?
    3. My sum says approximately 26 litres (6 gallon)
    4. A smaller growing cultivar will be fine (You'll probably need to pot it on for next season).
    5. It will need full sun with plenty of air movement
    6. Don't let it dry out but don't keep it soaked. (Avoid using a saucer under the pot)
    7. Consider growing another variety close by as they fruit better with a cross pollinator
    8. PH probes are very unreliable. If you need to lower the PH, Ideally use sulphur or Iron (sulphurs better) don't use aluminium
     
  3. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Contributor

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    I have never used a pH tester for soil ... well maybe decades ago for school !

    Anyway - a couple of questions

    What variety of blueberry and when did you purchase and plant it?

    Also - is there a reason you want container blueberries ? (Space or convenience etc?)

    Think of how a blueberry patch is - it is like forest soil - I know of one small private acreage (ie not Fraser valley commercial farm) w happy blueberries and it is rich and sunny and forest type soil .

    If all else fails or you need more blueberries than your crop provides - I swear by the ones fr Powell River BC (boxes in freezer section) — and they say - no cannons! (Ask in the Fraser valley or Okanagan what propane cannons sound like)
    https://www.coastberrycompany.com/

    I look fwd to updates on your project
     
  4. Bonaventure

    Bonaventure New Member

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    Thanks a lot for your reply, and here are some details:
    Approx 30 - 35 L, potting soil and peat moss combined
    I bought three of small ones of various breeds of blueberries, about 1 - 1.5 ft tall
    Other than getting the soil formally tested, how many I check roughly what the pH would be without those pH probes? Also, is a 1:1 ratio of regular potting mix and peat moss good enough?
     
  5. Bonaventure

    Bonaventure New Member

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    They are bluecrop, elliot, and duke. I bought them less than a week ago and they are small plants, around 1-1.5 ft tall
    Since I am new to gardening I don't want to mess up my lawn too much. I bought a few plant boxes but they are too shallow for blueberries; more suitable for vegetables I think, being a little deeper than 1 ft only. My pots are 20" in diameter and height.
    I had been interested in gardening for a long time, and I finally got a lawn that I can work on! At the moment it is more of an interest to plant various things, and blueberries seems to be a great start because my kids love them, especially the ones around in Vancouver!
    Will do. Would love to share any updates.
     
  6. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Contributor

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    What fun to start this!

    I think if anything - depending on your exposure (ie which way your garden faces) - and what sunlight and rain and shade and wind you get —

    Your containers will be susceptible to being either too dry or too wet —- I am not saying yours will be — just something to keep in mind when buying your soil — I really like a BC product called Sea Soil (make sure you get the container edition (version ). (I do not work there or have any connection w company) — it is not vegan (that I am aware of) if that is a factor for you —- i think it contains forest industry « waste » and fish production « waste »
    SEA SOIL™ | Natural Organic Growing Soil for Your Flower & Vegetable Gardens

    And the great thing about containers is you can move them to a sunnier or half sunnier spot

    And then feeding - what and when etc — your professional garden store will guide you I am sure regarding the 3 infamous fertilizer numbers and what’s best for your new farm :)
     
  7. Bonaventure

    Bonaventure New Member

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    Thanks for your advice. I'll look into Sea Soil.

    As for my pots, I am currently putting them on the west side of my backyard, which is facing south. It gets about 8-10 hours of direct sunlight and another 4-6 hours of brightness indirectly. If it is proven to be too much, I can always move it to the east side which is less exposed to the sun directly.
     
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  8. Georgia Strait

    Georgia Strait Contributor

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    Différent than blueberries - and easy to grow year round in our Vanc BC - Swiss chard

    I grow in containers — in my sheltered area (we have minimal sun and if we do - it is from sunrise to around noon)

    So if you’re at the garden Center - I like either Pacific Northwest Seeds from Vernon BC - or - WestCoast Seeds out of Ladner BC (nr YVR - thru the Deas Tunnel aka Massey Tunnel)

    It’s called Bright Lights - or - Rainbow - or - Celebration (basically thé stems grow in diff colors of red / yellow / pink)
    Celebration

    http://pnwseeds.ca/userContent/documents/PNWcatalog2018.pdf

    I use scissors to harvest the leaves and the plant keeps growing

    And if it expires in the cold winter - likely there are some seeds in the soil from when last summer’s plant bolted (went to flower / seed)

    Thé seeds are fairly Large (size of a peppercorn you likely have in your kitchen ) — so your children can easily plant in those expanding Jiffy pots then plant out in approx 2 wk. it’s great to see our food grow and we care for it too.
     
  9. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Hi @Bonaventure, can I add to the excellent answers you have already received, I never water my blueberries with tap water. I use only collected rainwater. Obviously in drought conditions you have no other option, but primarily it should always be rain water.

    And btw, the leaves on blueberry trees are just a stunning scarlet in Autumn.
     
  10. Bonaventure

    Bonaventure New Member

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    Thanks I would love to use rainwater too. However with the design of my house it seems there weren't much space for a barrel under the gutters --- would block most of the pathway if so. There are some space in front of the patio in the backyard but that's more than 10 ft away from the nearest gutter. How would that work? Are these any effective ways to collect rainwater without a gutter?
     
  11. Acerholic

    Acerholic Paragon of Plants Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout Maple Society

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    Hi any sloping roof like a shed or you can purchase flat water butts that are mounted on the wall, allowing you to pass along the pathway.
    If you google ultra slim water tanks, you will find the right one for you.
    I'm afraid, IMO you would need a gutter from a sloping roof, but the slimline tank is possibly your best bet.
    Good luck with growing your Blueberries.
     
  12. Durgan

    Durgan Contributor 10 Years

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    Planting blueberries at home in Vancouver is akin to taking sand to a desert to make kid castles. Blueberries thrive around the airport in Vancouver as other places. It is necessary to have six or more plants to get a reasonable amount of fruit. Also they grow slowly and take a few years to get established. What I am saying they aren't worth the effort.
     
  13. Bonaventure

    Bonaventure New Member

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    But it is fun to eat what you grow. That's the whole point of going green isn't it? Blueberries are just a start.
     

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