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Q: Growing Blueberries

By on May 26, 2009

Question:

Dear Expert,

I am new to gardening, and I’ve had a little luck with the usual
suspects: tomatoes, peppers, onion and so forth.  I would like to
plant blueberries next year.  I live in Santa Monica, California and
would like to know if the sharpblues have any hope of thriving there.
If so, when can I get them from you and what exactly do I need to do
to create the right conditions.  I understand that in CA we have too
much alkaline in our soil, but I don’t know how to prepare the
appropriate recipe in buckets to grow blueberries.  I have compost
here.  Can you help me?

Thank you,

Answer:

I looked up the data on Chill Hours for your area, and it seems to me that Sharpblue requires more than your climate could give (look here for California Chill hours by County).  Chill hours are the number of hours below 45 degrees between November and February, many fruit trees and bushes need a certain amount of these hours in order to set fruit.  The blueberries we carried last year with the lowest chill hours are the Misty and the O’Neal (you need at least two different varieties for pollination).  However, when you receive the Fall catalog, you may find new varieties with low chill hours.  You can sign up to receive a catalog if you don’t already at www.groworganic.com.  We have blueberries in the winter, sold as “bare root” because they are dormant, but you can order in Fall when you get the catalog.

As far as growing in containers, you might consider using 2/3 Peat moss and 1/3 potting soil, as well as an acid fertilizer (you could throw in some compost if you’d like).  We have a good fertilizer called the “Acid Mix”.

Hope that helps! Thanks for growing organically!

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