Florida Gardening forum: Blueberry Advice

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Name: Jean
Fleming Island, FL (Zone 9a)
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qwilter
Feb 21, 2015 5:40 AM CST
I've decided to put some blueberry plants in this year. I know I need male & female & acidic soil. There are quite a few varieties out there. So, does anyone have favorites? And why?
I plan to put them along a picket fence line along the edge of where the new veg garden is going in.
Blessed are the Quilters for they are the Piecemakers.
Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
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dyzzypyxxy
Feb 21, 2015 9:03 AM CST
Jean, nobody loves blueberries more than I do, since I come from the Pacific NW where they are widely grown and do great. They're pretty plants and delicious fruit. But they really are pretty hard to grow here in FL. The soil pH will rise due to the sand/shell components and you need to keep amending constantly to keep it acidic enough for them unless you grow them in pots. Then once you do get them growing, prepare to 'share' with every bird, squirrel and rodent for miles around. I've reluctantly concluded that it's better to let the pros grow my blueberries and strawberries. Mostly because of the 'sharing' factor - I hardly got my share ever!

As far as which varieties, there are a few that were bred specifically for Florida, including several with "Gulf" in the name. Those plus the "jewel" series - I think there's one commonly available called "Emerald". You can assume that they are at least more disease resistant than the other southern highbush varieties.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Mary K
Safety Harbor, FL (Zone 10a)
Vegetable Grower Container Gardener Region: Florida Tomato Heads Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Level 1
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p1mkw
Feb 21, 2015 12:08 PM CST
@qwilter ... here are a couple of links with info on growing blueberries in FL. I too thought about growing a bush in a container (there are some that are self-pollinating). However, once I thought about the battle with critters, I decided it probably wasn't worth the trouble.

http://www.floridahillnursery.com/blueberry-plants-vaccinium...
http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/mg359

Good luck .. keep us posted on your progress. You may just change my mind Smiling
Mary K.
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
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flaflwrgrl
Feb 28, 2015 9:08 PM CST
Jean, when we bought this place it came with blueberry bushes. These people never tagged or labeled anything so it's all been a guess as to varieties but I did find one tag in the ground around the blueberry bushes. It's this:
Highbush Blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum 'Sunshine Blue')
I have no idea of the other varieties that are planted. I can tell you that they produce quite well & we've been here through 2 seasons of produce. I don't do a thing to them. They are too far from a water source for me to try to water them. I've not tested the soil here but I know it's got to be on the acidic side. Funny thing ~~~ all I ever heard was "you have to beat the critters to them" and darned if I know why but the critters don't bother them. Once in a blue moon I will see a bird snatch a berry but I have been amazed at how they have left them alone. The berries are quite good for blueberries & of good size. And here's the rub..... I am a dyed in the wool fruit lover excepting for blueberries & papaya. Papaya I can not tolerate at all but blueberries I just don't really care for --- they just don't turn me on. Shrug! So here I sit with producing blueberry bushes wishing they were anything else. Isn't that just like life?
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Elaine
South Sarasota, Florida (Zone 9b)
The one constant in life is change
Cat Lover Master Gardener: Florida Tropicals Multi-Region Gardener Vegetable Grower Region: Florida
Herbs Orchids Birds Garden Ideas: Level 2 Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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dyzzypyxxy
Feb 28, 2015 9:24 PM CST
I was just chatting with a fellow who planted blueberries at our local Community Garden. I (innocently as can be) asked how it was going and he went off on all the critters and birds and PEOPLE!! who stole all his berries last spring. He says he feels like he needs to build a big, sturdy cage of wire mesh with a lock on it if he's going to ever harvest enough blueberries to put on his cereal for breakfast.

Ann, I am dying of jealousy that you have blueberries. Life is so unfair . . . let's see, if I drive up there in June will you trade me for some mangoes? If those bushes produce well with no help from you, just think how good the berries might be with a little extra water and perhaps a touch of fertilizer right about now? I'll bet you'd have more birdies, too. Not saying you should, just idle speculation here.
Elaine

"Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm." –Winston Churchill
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Region: Florida Dog Lover Birds
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flaflwrgrl
Feb 28, 2015 9:37 PM CST
Maybe the ticket to production is that the former owners put about a 4" layer of pecan shells as mulch for the blueberries. I dunno. You're right Elaine --- it just doesn't seem fair does it? I think just about everyone in the world goes ga-ga over blueberries and I go ga-ga over bananas, peaches, apricots, plums, nectarines, dates, citrus, avocado, strawberries, blackberries, pineapples, apples but not blueberries. My best friend in Alabama fights the critters every year to harvest her blueberries before everything else gets to them. I sit here & wish the birds would go ga-ga over mine b/c I would like to watch the birds as they feast on them.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



Name: Jean
Fleming Island, FL (Zone 9a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers Composter
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qwilter
Mar 1, 2015 2:49 PM CST
Thanks Ann.................I know there are quite a few that do well here but thought I'd see what folks actually had that produce well.
Now if the rain ever stops so I can get back out in the yard!!!!
Blessed are the Quilters for they are the Piecemakers.
Name: Ann ~Heat zn 9, Sunset
North Fl. (Zone 8b)
Garden Sages Native Plants and Wildflowers Xeriscape Organic Gardener I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level
Butterflies Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier Region: Florida Dog Lover Birds
Image
flaflwrgrl
Mar 1, 2015 10:44 PM CST
There is some place not far from here that raises blueberries & it's a U Pick place. Everyone oooo's & ahhhh's over the blueberries they get when they go there. For the life of me I can't remember the name of it but I know it's not more than 20 miles from here.
Wait, I googled & I think this is the place:
Scott's Blueberry Farm see it in the link:
http://www.gardens.com/local/florida/10687-Scotts-Blueberry-...

You could call them & ask what varieties they suggest.
I am a strong believer in the simple fact is that what matters in this life is how we treat others. I think that's what living is all about. Not what I've done in my life but how I've treated others.
~~ Sharon Brown ~~



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