Monday, May 15, 2006

The Blueberry Hedge

Sunday we went to Hedgehog Hill Farm to pick up our plant order. Last year, we participated in the farm work exchange program, spending one day working on the farm, and receiving in exchange a gift certificate for $50 worth of plants. We ordered 4 highbush blueberry plants, 2 Blueray, and 2 Patriot, a Daphne v. Carol Mackie, a Purple Ninebark v. Monlo, 4 creeping thyme plants, and 10 alpine strawberry plants for the strawberry jar.

Sunday being perfect gardening weather, sunny and breezy enough to keep the black flies at bay, we planted the blueberries. We had prepared the space for the blueberries by placing hay bales on cardboard last fall, quite effectively killing the sod underneath, (see above photo) but amazingly, NOT the tulips seen in this photo, which were planted in the lawn by, as Michele Owens says, the previous regime, and have been blooming yearly ever since we arrived. As testament to the amazing will of these tulips, here they are blooming away having grown up through the hay bale covering them.

We removed half the the hay bales, using some to mulch around the shrubs planted last weekend, and the remaining bales to mulch the edge of the yard as part of the ongoing campaign to kill off the knotweed and the multiflora roses. We'll get some additional varities of blueberries soon to complete the row once the tulips have finished blooming.

Digging the bed was pretty easy, with all the rain the soil was pretty soft, but the break in the rain allowed it to dry enough to be workable. I used my soil test kit and discovered the pH was 6.5, so I added some Espoma Garden Sulphur to acidify. The test indicated the nitrogen level was a little low, so I added some Fertrell organic fertilizer. The phosphorus and potassium levels were ok. We worked the fertilizer and sulphur in, and planted the blueberries, adding three additional unknown variety plants we had on the property when we arrived, backfilling with a mix of soil and a good amount of compost. Then we mulched with shredded leaves from the leaf bin, thinking the acid from the leaves would make good mulch. Once we mow again, though, I will mix the leaf mulch with some grass clippings to speed along decomposition.

We then planted the alpine strawberries in the pot Dan's mom gave us last year, and ended the day with our summer Sunday ritual, walking over to meet Karen & Bill, and Bill & Michelle for ice cream at the Dairy Treat. Yum.

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