Monday, March 30, 2009

Blueberry Renovation

We have twenty-one mature blueberry bushes. We estimate that they were planted in the 1960's. They are one of the best features of our property. Over the years we have harvested hundreds of pounds of the health-giving, anti-oxidant loaded, delicious, juicy berry.

There are a number of varieties planted, from early to late with some sour and others sweet. In a good year we will be picking from July through October.

In March one spring job is to prune the bushes. It has taken me years to learn how to do it properly.

Last year we did not have a bumper crop of berries as we usually do. It may have been due to the long cold spring that we had, which detrimentally affected a number of orchard crops in our valley, decreasing the fruit production by as much as 50%. (Unfortunately, this year is acting like a repeat. I've already heard that the time-table for the blossoms is set back. We just have to hope we don't have the hard freezes we had last year that killed blossoms. Such is farm life.)

Even so, it was time to do some renovation of our blueberries.

The grass had encroached so closely around the base of the plants that it was choking them. It made mowing difficult. And it looked terrible.

I got the pruning done during two afternoons that were without rain. Probably the only two non-rainy afternoons of the month. Time to employ my boys for the drudge work.

Yesterday the big boys showed up to help with some spring garden work.

This is one good reason to have big boys. They can be very useful.

It was dicey to get sod out without damaging the roots of the bush. I came along behind with a hand trowel to get what was matted inside the base. A couple other big boys helped on this job too, but I forgot to take their picture. Notice our faithful border collie supervising the proceedings. This is always his job. He's a farm dog and he's all about quality control.

Mr. Dirtywrench came along at the end with wheelbarrow loads of composted manure from our pile at the back of the property. Sometime I'll write about our lazy way of composting that is so not like the magazines tell you to do it and yet yields the wonderful black gold anyway.

Mr. D. also gave each bush a dose of organic fish fertilizer.

I LOVE the results!

The bushes look so much better and I can just hear them cheering at the amount of nutrients that they've been given that they will transform into branches hanging heavy with berries.

Anyone for blueberry pie?


  1. Yum. I have a friend who shares her bumper blueberry crops with me. I freeze enough to last me a year. She ended up throwing some out! Hope you have a bountiful harvest.


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