March 18, 2018 at 9:46 pm #11592
It’s too early to plant, at least in northern Indiana, but it is not too early to plan. My husband and I have ordered some seeds–tomatoes, bell pepper, green onion, carrots, spinach. The garden won’t be as large as we would like, since we will have renovation starting at the end of April or beginning of May. We have to fence the bottom to keep out the rabbits, and we will use old screens from the house to cover it at night when the deer like to come and graze.
We have also ordered two blueberry bushes–one that will eventually be 6 feet, and will work nicely to create some privacy between us and the neighbors’ deck (houses here are very close), and a smaller one in front of it. My husband is trying to find a source for wild blueberries for the terrace, where we already have some blackberries and black raspberries.March 18, 2018 at 10:28 pm #11595
Last year we only put in 5 tomato plants, and they didn’t do very well in the hot summer, but rebounded when things cooled off. Then we had a week where it rained every day and I didn’t get out to pick and the fruit over-ripened and the vines shut down.
Fortunately, two of the graduate students at UNL had some test gardens (10 rows of tomatoes, each about 160 feet long) and they were picking 500-1000 pounds of fruit three times a week by late August, which was more than even the food pantry could handle, so we got several batches of 50-75 pounds of tomatoes, and I made a lot of tomato sauce, of which I think I’ve used less than half.
I think another duo of graduate students are doing tomatoes again this summer. We’ve been getting a few hothouse tomatoes during the winter, too.
I’m trying to decide what I want to try this year other than a few tomatoes. Lettuce and spinach have such a short growing season, because as soon as it starts to get hot, the plants bolt. I seldom have good luck with peppers or eggplants. I don’t care much for cucumbers unless they’re pickled, and salty pickles are off my diet. Doesn’t leave much. (The problem with farm shares is you get lots of stuff we don’t eat, like kale and beets.)March 19, 2018 at 7:24 am #11608
Mike, snap and snow peas are good options because they go a little longer into the summer than regular peas. We always had strawberries and asparagus, but of course asparagus takes a long time to establish.
Here is one of my favorite sites for daydreaming
I currently don’t have time or land for vegetables and I’m still not sure what does well here in our heat. Our chef is trying to establish a small garden in the planters right outside the Market, but we have to go through the powers that be at the company to move that along. My job this week is to track down the head of landscaping to see if we can accomplish that.March 19, 2018 at 8:37 am #11610
I forgot to mention that we will also plant bush beans.March 19, 2018 at 8:44 am #11611
When I planted our blueberry bushes nearly 40 years ago, the catalog said to plant three for proper pollination. I did and ours are over 6 feet tall. In later years, I planted some highbush blueberries.
The blueberry bushes are a favorite for fall color…so amazingly beautiful!March 19, 2018 at 9:03 am #11615
I left out that the plants should be three ‘different’ varieties/names, not all the same for pollination.March 19, 2018 at 2:17 pm #11627
There are a number of fruits that need a separate pollinator. Usually the nursery catalogs are pretty good at letting you know what you need.March 19, 2018 at 4:55 pm #11637
My husband thinks that they may be self-pollinating. We shall see when they arrive. If we can get some wild blueberries for the terrace, that would give us a third variety. A friend let us look for some on his property, but unfortunately the area where my husband recalled their being present has been overrun with honeysuckle and the invasive bittersweet. (Gardening stores of yore have a lot to answer for.)March 19, 2018 at 5:36 pm #11642
This site says that blueberries are self-pollinating but that you get bigger berries if they’re pollinated from a second variety. (But both varieties have to be in bloom at the same time, of course.)
I’ve never grown blueberries, how long is the harvesting season?March 19, 2018 at 8:15 pm #11648
I planted 10 highbush blueberries about 25 years ago, two different varieties. Over the next 5 years, a couple of the plants at one end of the row died, one every year, and I replaced those with different varieties, so I now have 5 different kind. I pick blueberries starting in early-to-mid-July, through mid-to-late August. One year I counted the quarts as I picked, but gave up at 50 quarts. They are a wonderful plant to grow, easy care, no pests, (except for the birds, and for that we have an elaborate netting system), minimal diseases (and none here), easy to pick standing up, delicious, healthy, and a beautiful addition to the fall landscape.March 19, 2018 at 8:20 pm #11649
Mike…there are several fairly new spinach varities that do not bolt in the summer. Have you tried any of them? Just a thought. I have not had a garden for several years now, due to bad hips, but I used to plant them, and they did very well. I am not sure where I got the seeds, but might be Burpees.March 19, 2018 at 8:23 pm #11650
Mike, I posted our harvest time for my garden in Vermont, yours might be different. You can get early, mid-, and late season varieties. As soon as the June strawberry season is over, our summer raspberries are just about ready to pick. Next to ripen are the blueberries, followed by blackberries in early-mid August ’til September. Then, the fall-bearing or ever-bearing raspberries are ripe until we get a hard frost in October.March 19, 2018 at 9:21 pm #11651
Our blueberries always ripen by 4th of July and continue for 3-4 weeks but most ripen in three weeks.
Blueberries like acid soil and I always used Aluminum Sulfate once a month from March thru July. Just used a tablespoon sprinkled a foot out from the base in a circle. Aluminum sulfate is used to
purify drinking water so no need to fear an aluminum issue. It is a white granular product and very easy to sprinkle around the blueberry bushes. I use it for my hollies, lilacs, all the pines/spruces, azaleas and probably some things I’m forgetting. I buy it in a 3# bag about anywhere gardening things are sold.March 19, 2018 at 9:46 pm #11652
We pick blueberries at a local place, usually starting in July until some time in early August. A lot depends on the weather. The bushes would supplement the berries we pick–provided the birds don’t eat all of them. We have acidic, sandy soil, so the blueberry bushes should be happy.
Coffee grounds and tea are another way of acidifying the soil.March 19, 2018 at 10:04 pm #11653
Every day, I toss my coffee grounds and tea onto my azaleas just out my north kitchen door. I bought the azaleas a year after we moved into this new house in 1975. They are so huge they are almost up to the guttering. The aluminum sulfate has helped them to thrive so much. Our house is 90′ long and I planted azaleas all along the north side of the house. Such a beautiful sight each spring.
Speaking of needing pollinators, the only things I planted that need them are my American holly trees and my Ilex winterberry hollies…they need male and female trees to produce berries. And my blueberries as that is what the company said to do.March 19, 2018 at 11:06 pm #11654
I suspect the neighborhood birds would have a field day with blueberries, they get about half of the black raspberries. I planted elderberries, there are never any that even get purple before the birds descend upon the bushes. (Elderberries are one of the favorite foods of cardinals, and we have at least two breeding pair in our yard.)March 20, 2018 at 12:23 pm #11659
Regarding elderberries, I can relate. I landscaped our three acre yard for the birds and critters as we are avid bird watchers. We are a designated Illinois Acres for Wildlife habitat and I’m certified as a National Wildlife Habitat property.
I bought cut-leafed elderberry plants for the birds and we have several huge heads of the old native elderberries…the birds adore them and strip all the berries in no time. June berries are another much loved planting the birds go nuts over here. I always chuckle and say momma cardinal is incubating the June berries to ripen them sooner. She camps in the bushes days ahead of ripening so she can get them first. They eat them when just a dab of color appears.
American hollies are a huge food source for birds in winter. I planted three trees and they are huge now. Birds won’t eat the berries until a hard freeze or two have occurred. These have to be planted in threes for pollination. Even the male tree has a few berries each fall/winter.
For 18 years, we counted birds for Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s Project Feeder Watch and we had 58 cardinals on many of our winter counts. They look like Christmas ornaments about 4 o’clock each evening when they gather in our fruit and pine/spruce trees for their evening feedings at the feeders. Husband says we have 10-15 pair nesting in summer here. We have 10+ acres of mowed farm field and a 15 acre woods so there is plenty of room for them to nest. We enjoy seeing the parents bring in their new babies to show them the feeders and how to search for foods on their own.
Blueberries have to have bird netting over them here for us to get any of them.March 24, 2018 at 4:38 pm #11761
Our two blueberry bushes arrived today. My husband says that they are trying to come out, so he has potted them and put them in the (heated) garage, which we keep at about 42F, where they will be protected from the cold surge that came in today, and the one that is predicted for after Easter. Once the weather is past the chance of freezing, my husband will plant them out front. He is so excited that he has gone back online and ordered a couple of low-bush ones for the terrace.
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