Gardening where the sidewalk ends

A Box of Blueberries April 10, 2009

Filed under: berries — greenwalks @ 11:58 am
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

One of the very few winter garden musings I have managed to actually enact at this point in the spring is my desire to try a few blueberry plants. It’s my first time growing any berry other than strawberries, and although nobody in our house is a huge blueberry fan, I figured maybe we’d become more so if we have a few fresh-from-the-backyard handfuls to incorporate into our summer diet.

I pondered putting these in the parking strip, but decided the temptation for passers-by to covertly sample would be too difficult to resist. If these do well, I might reconsider next year and add a few out there, put a “help yourself to a few” sign nearby, and see if I make some new friends (besides the birds).

Looking around locally for a bare-root organic blueberry source proved fruitless (sorry), although I imagine if I’d tried a little harder I could have found one. I finally just decided to order some from Peaceful Valley Farm & Garden Supply, an organic outfit in California, as it was getting a bit late in the season for bare root and I didn’t want to miss out. Yes, I know it was not very eco-friendly to have my organic plants shipped from out of state! I hope to offset that by cultivating them without the use of harmful chemicals and maybe I can assuage my guilt in other ways too.

It was a pretty exciting day when the box arrived.

The box of blueberry plants arrives!

I’d never ordered live plants through the mail before, so I was eager to see how they were packed. The shredded recycled cardboard packaging was too cool to toss, I am saving it for a re-use.

Cool recycled cardboard packing material

The true test – how did the plants look? Pretty good, I thought! Already in flower, too, amazingly.

My new organic blueberry plants

I had selected two of the same variety, ‘Sunshine Blue,’ as it is self-fertile so doesn’t need a pollinator of a different variety. I was also drawn to its reputation for being on the shorter side and therefore good for a small space like mine, as well as its semi-evergreen habit which should provide some winter beauty in an area that is sadly lacking at the moment.

You can see a little bit, in this next shot, that the blossoms are pink at this point in the year. I believe they turn white later.

Hello Sunshine

All that was left behind in the box:

Just a few dropped leaves

I’d give Peaceful Valley a big thumbs up for their careful packing and quick shipping. They also responded very quickly and informatively to a question I had about the organic-ness of the plants, since it was a little ambiguous on their web site.

Plants in the mail – is this something you partake of, or do you need to see (feel, sniff, inspect the roots of) a plant before you make it yours?


15 Responses to “A Box of Blueberries”

  1. João Soares Says:

    Wish you a happy Easter and how nice walking in your garden.
    Flores*Flowers to you

  2. Those ARE nice-looking plants! I hope they do well for you, and that you’ll enjoy the fruit. I’m a “hands-on” kinda gal myself. I like to see and touch plants before buying, although there are so many interesting varieties available by mail. If I get started down that path, I’ll be in big trouble!

  3. Your blueberries were really well packed and look very healthy, how lovely.
    We don’t have anywhere that sells plants locally and have to travel about an hour and a half to the nearest nursery, so I do buy some specific plants on line, but I do miss the more impulsive buys and the “touchy, feely, sniffy” buys that I did when I lived nearer nurseries and plant sellers.

  4. bughunter99 Says:

    That packing is cool. I have never seen anything like it. Good luck with the berries. It looks like you are starting out with some nice size, healthy plants.

  5. Catherine Says:

    They look great! You’ll even get some berries this year I bet with all those flowers. I’m a huge fan of blueberries and believe me they taste much better fresh off the bush! My mom has a couple of the same variety you chose and they have been very productive and they are still only about 2 feet tall.

  6. keewee Says:

    I also have planted two blueberry bushes for the first time this year. I can hardly wait to pick my very first homegrown berries.

  7. Grace Says:

    I can vouch for the innumerable merits of ‘Sunshine Blue.’ Yes the buds are pink and morph to white as they open. I have two plants. I house them in large containers so I can keep a better eye on their watering needs. I never let them dry out and keep a saucer underneath the pot just in case I might lapse. (Never, ha, ha.)

    I’ve purchased mail order plants more times than I dare admit. In fact about an hour ago I placed my second order with Annie’s Annuals. I’ve also purchased from Forest Farm and Big Dipper Farm. The plants were healthy with strong root systems and no foliar ailments. Shipping costs are a bummer but other than that, mail order is a viable option when you MUST have a plant that isn’t offered locally.

    Good luck with your blues.

  8. Melanthia Says:

    That’s awesome! My blueberries are just buds right now, including one I’ve yet to plant. I can’t believe you guys don’t love, love blueberries. My little guy gorges himself, one reason why I keep buying more buses (5 so far).

  9. Melanthia Says:

    bushes. But he does love buses, too!

  10. These plants look great — I’ll have to check out the site. I routinely have ordered live plants from Burpee and Cook’s Garden and have been satisfied. I’m not always satisfied with everything I find locally at garden shops, so this is a great way to get what I want.

  11. Racquel Says:

    They did a great job of packing those plants for shipment! Alot of the mail order sources I use are being eco-friendly with their packing material too now. Good luck with the new Blueberry bushes! 🙂

  12. Matron Says:

    How lovely! I have some blueberry bushes and I think they are going to have a really productive year because they will have liked the hard Winter. Make sure your soil is completely acid they will hate any alkaline at all! Give them a mulch of pine needles!

  13. Katie Says:

    I love Peaceful Valley and am really glad (and lucky) to live about an hour from them, so I guess that makes them local.

    We put in blueberries from them last year and all 4 are doing marvelously this year. I had no idea who pretty blueberries were! We plan on planting many more in the future.

  14. Courtney Says:

    I am growing blueberries, too. I found one bush around the side of my house. I was talking to another grower at a garden expo and she said that if you have multiple varieties then they will cross pollinate and you will get more berries. I know that you said your plants are self-pollinating, but you might want to throw in another variety to get more fruit.
    Best of luck! Happy gardening!

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