A few days ago, a small box showed up on our doorstep. It was our blueberries. I was, to quote ‘Mater, as excited as a tornado in a trailer park. The very next morning we drove up to our land to get them planted. It took about 3 hours to till each row a few times, add some peat moss, then till again. Then it took about 3 hours to plant all 100-something plants. I took my time, making sure each plant got a big drink of water as I put them in the ground, then another after I tucked them in. I packed the soil down firmly around each plant using my hands, then made a well of soil around them to hold water around the roots instead of letting it run all over the row.
The plants came in all sizes between 8-16″ or so. There are over 30 Duke, 30 Bluecrop, and 40 Jersey blueberries. About one in four had flowers blooming – I picked those off finally today to get the plants focused more on producing roots and shoots instead of fruits. As soon as we get a not-so-windy day, I’ll be sprinkling some sulfur around each plant to lower the pH of the soil and allow the plants to utilize nutrients more efficiently. Right now, it takes me about an hour and a half to water all 100 plants by hand. That sounds dreadful, but it’s pretty easy thanks to this contraption:
Our lawn tractor can easily handle a full 55-gallon drum as long as it’s strapped down tight to the trailer. The drum is on a homemade wooden frame that allows it to tilt forward so that water comes out the spigot installed in the cap. There is a hose attached to the spigot that works by gravity. Tip the hose down – water comes out. Tip it up – water stops. It takes two full drums to water all 100 plants. I fill it through a hole on the side of the drum (or the top in this orientation). I don’t use this to water our large fruit orchard (apples, pears, peaches, grapes, etc) because we have a hose that actually reaches all of those. The blueberries are over 400′ away in the south field, down one hill and up another. That’s a LONG way to haul buckets. I’m pretty happy with this watering rig… at least until we can get a well installed in the south lot.
So that’s the start of our berry farm. We probably won’t be open for at least another two years. Next year we plan on doing at least 100 more blueberry plants, plus at least 1000 raspberries. We still have to come up with a name for ourselves and figure out a marketing strategy, but that will come in time. I had the idea of calling ourselves Patriot Berries. We’ve got the blue blueberries, and we plan on adding red raspberries. Anyone know of a white berry that might sell well? Maybe gooseberries, white currants, or white grapes? Then we’d have red, white, and blue. It’s corny, I know, but I’m a corny gal.
Anyone else have ideas for a name for our farm?