The Q&A Archives: Space for Blueberries

Question: I live about 1 mile south of Lake Ontario in the Rochester, NY area. I have a small garden bed I would like to plant blueberries on the south end of the house. Below is a small diagram:

|~~~~ <-N

The garden area "~" is 4'x8' and is protected by the garage on both the north and west sides. There is a 30" wide footpath to the east. My questions are:

1) How many plants can be supported in an area such as this?
2) Is the variety pack (one of each type of Blueberry) a good choice
or should I plant specific varieties given my area of country and
planting location?
3) Lastly, if I were to order plants, approx when would they arrive for
planting in my area?

Answer: First off, the highbush blueberry bushes usually grown in home gardens are actually large plants ( I would estimate the bushes at about five feet wide plus you'll need room to stand in to harvest) so your space may be too limited for what you want to do. Blueberries need plenty of sun and do best with good air circulation. They also need perfect drainage, soil with plenty of organic matter in it and a very acid pH (around 5) so you should probably run some basic soil tests before you plant. Your County Extension can help you with the soil tests and interpreting the results and should also be able to suggest varieties particularly suited to your local conditions. Their number in Monroe County is 461-1000. Finally, plants are shipped in early spring with exact dates depending on the weather that year and of course, when your order is received. Good luck with your blueberries!

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