Greenwalks

Gardening where the sidewalk ends

A Box of Blueberries April 10, 2009

Filed under: berries — greenwalks @ 11:58 am
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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?

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Streetberries August 21, 2008

Here is proof that you CAN plant tasty berries in your parking strip, at least in my corner of Seattle, and you will probably have some left for yourself even after any greedy birds or humans have had a taste.

These folks have had a raspberry patch going in their hillside raised bed for a few years running. The canes are pretty tall, almost like a forest, and it seems like the berries are allowed to ripen largely unmolested:

Raspberry sidewalk

Late-summer blueberries fresh from the bush are one of life’s purest joys. But how to ensure that you have enough to put in a pie or at least on your cereal? Here is one street gardener’s solution: raised bed + stakes + netting = happy harvesting.

Protected blueberries

Finally, here is the bravest soul of all – a neighbor dug out a small patch of the parking strip grass and planted a strawberry bed. It’s ringed with a sweet basket-weave fence and gets a ton of sun. Do they get any berries? I hope so!

Street strawberries

Has anyone else tried raising such tempting treats on the street? How’s it going?