Blueberry Bushes

Blueberries are fantastic – lovely additions to yogurt, smoothies, pancakes, cereals, or as a simple raw snack. These tiny fruit are also incredibly expensive, but well tended plants can pay for themselves in a single season. I struggled to grow them last year in half barrels and failed miserably. The roomie and I have big plans for the orchard portion of the farm and knew blueberries needed to be added to the fruit already on the land.

She learned about True Vine Ranch, a family farm in Bonner Springs, Kansas, from her brother and sister in law. It was located just down the road from Grass Pad, so we drove over there at the spur of the moment after picking up sod for the coop last week. As we got ready to turn down the drive I realized we hadn’t checked to see if they were home! A quick call and the kind owners invited us to pull in and have a chat.

Doug and Tonya Wiley were so generous with their time – they were busily packing up shipments for mailing but hopped on their tractor to get 6 bushes for us. Tonya discussed the instruction sheet with us, gave a few practical tips, and we parted happily.

We returned to Grass Pad a few days later to pick up peat moss and mulch – if you do the work of purchasing good plants you’d be foolish not to follow all instructions! The much needed rain slowed us down, but we got to work in the Tuesday lull.

After moving the greenhouse to a new location down near the barn, we laid out the plants in a steady row – looking to create a hedge we could walk around to collect fruit. Now the tough work of planting could begin. It was a job made easier with the roomie’s help – she saturated the peat moss and kept a brush fire going to keep us warm on a misty day.

  • First up: dig really large, deep holes and remove the soil. The soil moves to the flower beds and pots in front of the chicken coop.
  • Next: fill the holes with saturated peat moss. Tonya’s tip about making it the texture of brownie batter was incredibly helpful – this stuff holds a TON of water!
  • Finally: plant bushes level to native soil, surround with mulch, and fertilize.

It took us several hours to get the first three plants into the ground; if weather allows we’ll get them finished up this weekend.


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