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Post  Ginger on 3/8/2010, 3:15 pm

I'm planting blueberries in Mel's mix and I want to know if I have to add acidity to the soil? I have lots of coffee grounds. Will that work or is it needed?
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Post  timwardell on 3/15/2010, 9:40 am

i'd be interested in the answer to this one as well. Wouldn't the peat moss provide some acidity? If not, would amending with pine needles (sometimes called pine straw) do the trick?
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Post  S. Smith on 3/17/2010, 1:39 pm

In the reading that I have done adding the peat to the existing soil is enough, The compost adds all the other nutrients, not sure what it does to the Ph. In South Eastern Idaho the soil is so acoline we can not grow blueberries in the ground. I have a bit of a self imposed contest with a friend to see who can grow them first. She has read that even if you container grow the berries you must water with rain water or distilled water. Any feelings or ideas about that?
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Post  Lavender Debs on 3/17/2010, 1:50 pm

The blues like the soil to be a little acid, it isn't a huge deal (said the old lady from the acidic rain forests of Washington)

Your best bet is to pick up a soil test kit. They are inexpensive and fairly easy to use. Peat is supposed to be good. All the grannies with blueberries and lumberjack husbands used pine chips (sawdust, not needles) in the valley I lived in. That might have just been convenient for them though.

I've grown them in containers for a couple of years with regular potting soil and they did as well as plants grown in the ground. Neutral soil is just fine for them but if it leans toward acid without jumping into really acid they will be happy.

If you can grow rhododendrons you can grow blueberries.


edit: about the water....check the ph of that too. That could be why you need to use rain water. If you keep a fish tank you know to keep that water neutral, use the water you siphon off to refresh the tank, they will love that! Distilled water works too, but it will cost you a bit. If you have a water softener for drinking and laundry that should work, but again dip a bit of ph paper into it to find out.


Last edited by Lavender Debs on 3/17/2010, 1:55 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : water)
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Post  timwardell on 3/17/2010, 5:20 pm

@S. Smith wrote:In the reading that I have done adding the peat to the existing soil is enough, The compost adds all the other nutrients, not sure what it does to the Ph. In South Eastern Idaho the soil is so acoline we can not grow blueberries in the ground. I have a bit of a self imposed contest with a friend to see who can grow them first. She has read that even if you container grow the berries you must water with rain water or distilled water. Any feelings or ideas about that?

When buying blueberry plants in the Dallas area, the nursery folks will typically recommend that you dig a hole twice the size of the root ball and fill it with peat moss to help get the acidity needed. My parents have 55 acres in East Texas where the dirt is a nice sandy loam and pine forest dominate. They have 6 blueberry bushes in the ground that are all over six feet tall and produce like crazy in the acidic soil. I haven't been so luck and have yet to get a bush to make it. -- Alas, I still have my dwarf peach trees. As of this morning they are covered in blooms so it would appear they did survive our long, cold, wet winter. Yippiee! :o

I agree with Lavender Debs about the water. Could be a pH thing. In lieu of a soil test kit you can buy sensors that you stick in the ground that measure moisture, light, and pH. Not quite as involved as a soil test, but for less than $12 you get a meter that you can use over and over again and the results you get will be close enough for government work.
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Post  timwardell on 3/18/2010, 9:16 am

@Ginger wrote:I'm planting blueberries in Mel's mix and I want to know if I have to add acidity to the soil? I have lots of coffee grounds. Will that work or is it needed?

bpbdrummer posted this link in another thread:
http://justfruitsandexotics.com/downloads.htm

Click on the "blueberry" link for a 4 page information sheet that will tell you everything you need to know. The document states that, "Blueberries will not grow well in soils with a pH above 5.5. Adjust soil acidity as necessary with powdered sulfur and iron sulfate."

Some great info. Check it out.
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Post  dixie on 3/18/2010, 10:41 pm

When buying plants from Walmart, Lowe's, Home Depot, be sure to do your homework on varieties for your zone. Last year I bought several from Lowe's and after reading about them, none of them were for my area. You would think you would be safe buying locally.
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Post  miinva on 4/30/2010, 1:14 am

There's nothing local about big box stores Smile

You could check for nurseries and farmer's markets that are local, I've found some great plants that way and they were varieties that flourish here in central Virginia. The person I bought my vegetable plants from at the farmer's market grows everything he sells so he's been a wealth of information.
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