Saturday, April 30, 2011

Blueberry bushes

Homer and I attended a Slow Food dinner in Harrisburg a month or so ago. The featured speaker was an author and professor at Radford. He had written a book about growing blueberry bushes, trying to build a business, maintain his marriage and his sense of humor. He read from his book and his writings were beautiful, inspirational. We had already ordered 60 organic blueberry shrubs and after listening to his stories were quite excited to get growing!

Homer worked the pigs over the area first. The pigs dug up the turf, most of the shrubs and trees and almost all the grass and vines. What was left was clay: red, hard, compact. So Homer started digging holes, at the advised distance. And threw his back out working to get all of those holes dug before the shipment arrived. His friend Gavin was kind enough to spend an afternoon here running a post hole digger we rented from Home Depot..and got every hole in place.

The directions we received advised us to plant in clay, but to empty the hole of any loose bits of clay. Then add a specific amount of peat moss, planting the blueberry shrub to an exact depth. While Gavin ran the post hole digger, Homer and I got the peat moss and shrubs into every hole. The directions also said to mix the prat moss with water in a wheel barrow, then put the mix in the hole, then add the shrub. We chose to ignore this portion of the directions, and mixed the peat right in the hole with the water. Every plant went in the ground with a nice amount of the peat moss, and we slept like babies that night.

Neighbors stopped by to see what we were planting. With the pigs still in their pens, buckets of Planet Produce juicer pulp and giant garbage bags of stale Atwater's bread it is no wonder the neighbors say "what exactly are you doing?!". Really, who can blame them?

And then came torrential rains. And winds. The peat moss, so carefully mixed with wTer, washed out of many of the holes. And we thought all was lost. Tonight we spent time in that part of the property , were Homer had refilled the holes. And every plant looks beautiful, each is growing, sprouting, blooming. As with any plant, blooms mean fruit at some point in time!

We chose blueberries because they are native and support huge numbers of native song birds and insects. And because they are delicious! Can't wait to share with our CSA!

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