One of the first things we did when we bought the house—besides immediately discover an alarming quantity of mold behind the walls of the bathroom—was plant blueberries. I envisioned a hedge of blueberries that would supply us with fresh blueberries in the summer and dried blueberries through the off-season. I love blueberries in just about anything: oatmeal, muffins, yogurt, pies, salads, jam. Blueberries are versatile!
When I first bought my blueberry bushes, I purchased eight bare-root plants and two potted live blueberry plants through Burpee. I followed the instructions to modify the soil to make it more acidic and thus the blueberries happier. Seven of my eight bare-root plants died, leaving me feeling more than a touch despondent, refunds notwithstanding. The potted plants were disappointing in another way: they were wimpy little wisps of a shrub, years away from even thinking about producing a handful of blueberries.
Then, we braved a rainy morning to traipse off to the farmer’s market for more seconds for peach jam. We discovered True Vine Ranch‘s stall, which had the most vibrant looking blueberry plants I had ever seen for sale at a reasonable price. I was ecstatic. The woman was so helpful and friendly, and we impulse purchased five plants that ripen in succession from them (Duke, Bluecrop, Liberty, and Elliott). She provided wonderful growing instructions and tips for caring for the plants, which we have followed. We planted them in peat moss and have applied an acidic fertilizer once a month through the growing season.
Our blueberry patch has thrived its first year, and our locally purchased bushes are already heavy with fruit. Yes, please! Although I still wish that I had purchased another local blueberry bush to replace the spindly little bare root plant that barely survived last year, it seems bent too bent on life to thwart it now. The wimpy little potted plants from Burpee look better than they did when we had purchased them, but they’re nothing compared to the magnificence of our local bushes. While I’m sure that they’ll mature, every time I look at my hodgepodge (yet gorgeous) one-day hedge of blueberries, I am reminded that I ought to look for local options first.
Notes: True Vine Ranch gave me nothing for my comments in this blog (but if they wanted to send me another blueberry plant or two, I totally wouldn’t turn one down!). If you’re interested but don’t live in Lawrence, they ship their plants. I heartily recommend them!