Raised bed

Today we finished a four-day project. Built a raised bed for our new blueberry bushes. The old ones drowned in our heavy clay. Used untreated landscape timbers and built a bed three feet wide by eight feet long. Drilled half inch holes in the timbers, three each for the long run, one each for the end caps. Stacked the timbers and drove an eighteen inch long half inch diameter rebar stack in each hole and used six inch, super strong, metal screws to hold the end caps in place. Worked well but took we old people a few days to gather, contemplate, consider, and do the work. Today we mixed up a big mess of dirt, vermiculite, peat moss, and composted cow manure.
Dug the three new plants in, watered well, and took a nap. In 2013 and early 2014 we got a goodly amount of berries from the originals. Then the heavy rains came and drowned everything planted in a hole in the five feet of clay under our property except the pear tree. Had a crew come in and dig a humongous hole for that one with lots of soil amendments added.
The plants had bloom buds appearing already so we will see what happens now. Three different rabbit eye bushes should cross pollinate well and we happen to have a goodly amount of pollinators here. Mostly bumble, mason, and carpenter bees with a few European honey bees and a lot of bee flies.
One more raised bed to amend starting tomorrow when I take the last three cabbage heads out and pull up the green pea vines that haven't done well all winter. The other bed will get emptied by the middle of this month. Pulled the last of the beets and radishes from that one but still have broccoli, spinach, and lettuce doing well there. Will empty it anyway as it badly needs amending for spring.
George
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On Friday, February 13, 2015 at 8:14:23 PM UTC-5, George Shirley wrote:

Remove the blooms for at least the first year. Your plants will show their thanks in berries in later years.
What varieties did you get?
Steve
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On 2/14/2015 10:41 AM, Steve Peek wrote:

blueberries, will do that this afternoon. Putting up pickled beets at the moment, the only way I like them.
Premier, Climax and Tifblue, purchased from the top nursery in our area. We will probably go back to a nearby market farm and pick both blue and black berries plus figs.
I miss our old property, had mature fruit trees, a Brown Turkey fig, a Japanese persimmon, large Meiwa Kumquat and another that I don't remember, and two different plum trees. Did have a couple of peach trees but the peach borers got both of them before I learned about planting chives or onions around the base.
Here we have a small Celeste fig, a small Meiwa kumquat, and a Tennousi pear out front. Wild dewberries came up under our fence and we've been pruning and feeding them and training them up a nylon trellis on the fence. I do like dewberries.
Big difference between a 14,000 SF property and a 6500 SF one.
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I have those 3 plus 8 other varieties. Premier and Climax are early, Tifblu e is mid-late season. Tifblue tends to get very tall, so you may have to ke ep it topped. Remember they are very shallow rooted, mulch well for the lif e of the plant. If you are looking for other varieties, Powderblue is a hig hly productive mid season plant and my very favorite for fresh eating, pick Centurian for huge, late berries. My other plants are Northern Highbush so I don't think you would be interested.
I have an acre plus of blueberries, 700 or so plants. My picking season run s from late May through frost. I did a lot of study with the Ag extension o ffice of NC State U and planned for a long picking season. So fat it's work ed out pretty well.
Good luck with them, Steve
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On 2/14/2015 1:59 PM, Steve Peek wrote:

manure compost and a manmade dirt which is mostly composted peat moss (?), composted pine bark and other ingredients. The bed will be mulched heavily with pine straw, easily come by near by for free.
Don't have room for anything else Steve, very small property and the backyard is already crowded. We dug in every amendment we could find along the backyard fence, all three sides plus the little space at the front. One corner has my herb garden in it as they seem to do well with the shade there. One of these days I will take a picture and post it. Will have to be happy with going to the U pick 'em farms nearby. We got blackberries and blueberries that way last year at about $3.50 a lb. Were going to pick dewberries along the state highway verges but they didn't get enough rain. Texas actually has a law that allows picking berries along the state and county roads so lots of folks do that. I wish they had a law that allowed you to pick up a deer that just got clipped and only the head was damaged. Saw one this morning and we could have had it in the SUV in a few minutes if a damned state trooper didn't happen by. They don't salvage road kill for food banks here, they just have them picked up and hauled to the dump. I like the way Alaska does it, gives it to folks that need meat.
Add on: all our raised bed gardens have a flat soaker hose buried half way to the bottom and right in the middle for watering during our very hot and sunny summers. Beats standing out there with a hose an hour every day. The fenceline beds have a regular soaker hose running down the middle. I put in a four connection rig on the faucet and have the hoses run through. Might decide to go to a buried drip system later.
Got three heads of cabbage left to pick, might make sauerkraut tomorrow or Monday. Got a nice clean five-gallon bucket that is food quality just for that.
George, Heat zone 8B, SE Texas
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