Growing Blueberries in Northwest

I live in the Seattle area and was wanting to grow blueberries in my garden. Can anyone give me advice on what plants would do well and what soil conditions are good for Blueberries.
Also, is it best to buy local plants or can I get plants from a catalog?
Thanks, Paul
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Blueberries are available at any local nursery - you will get larger and older bushes if you buy locally as opposed to mail order. Most will come from growers in the Skagit Valley or Oregon - one of the largerst blueberry growers in the country is located there and many area nurseries order their plants from them. Some should be available right now in bare root form.
Our PNW climate is ideally suited to blueberry growing - our soil tends to be acidic and we get plenty of moisture, however you WILL need to provide supplemental watering in summer. They like rich, humusy soil in maximum sun - add compost and some peat or coffee grounds to increase acidity and help with moisture retention.
There are dozens of varieties available in a range of sizes with berries varying from tiny, wild-flavored ones, to ones identical to those sold commercially and to jumbo sized berries about the same diameter as a quarter - pick which ever you like the best.
Fall Creek is that large wholesaler I mentioned - they have a great website with detailed information about different types and growing requirements. http://www.fallcreeknursery.com/gardener/index.html
pam - gardengal
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On 8 Feb 2004 03:31:04 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (paul) wrote:

I bought my blueberry bushes locally and they have done well. Plant at least three varieties, 8 feet apart, for better crop yields. They have a shallow root system and prefer acidic soil (pH 5). Prepare the ground using a generous amount of peat moss and a 1/2 cup cottonseed meal per plant. Mulch with 4" of old sawdust, wood chips or bark. Your area is a good one for growing blueberries. For the NW USA, Dixi, Earliblue, Bluecrop, Berkeley, and Jersey are good choices. Newly planted bushes can become exhausted and weak if they bear a lot of fruit the first year, but you can avoid this problem if you remove some of the buds on each twig (the first year of growth) to allow the plant to become established. You will need bird netting to protect the fruit.
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How do I know what the PH of my soil is? I compost grass clipings and leaves and add that to the garden every year.
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (paul) wrote in message

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Soil test kits are available at your garden center. Home Depot has them. I think WalMart may have them too. Compost tends to neutralize pH extremes.
On 9 Feb 2004 12:07:49 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (paul) wrote:

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If you live in the Seattle area, your soil is slightly acidic - in the 6.0 to 6.5 range. This is perfectly adequate for growing blueberries - there are dozens of commercial growers in the area. If you lime your lawn to control moss, you may be altering the pH of your compost. Adding a small amount of peat moss to the planting holes or mulching with coffee grounds (available free at any Starbuck's) is all that is necessary to amend pH for the blueberries.
Visit Swanson's Nursery in north Seattle (Ballard area) - they carry a large selection of blueberries, about 20 different varieties - and their staff is very knowledgeable about their care and culture. Some will be available now as bare root plants but a larger selection of container plants will be available later in the spring. Ask for a 4 year old plant if you want berries quickly. Tell them Pam sent you :-)) and they should help you pick some good ones.
pam - gardengal
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Thanks for the information I can't wait to try it. Tamme
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Are blueberry plants hardy enough to withstand a hard freeze during winer?
Is there anything special I will need to do to take care of them during the winter?
Thanks, Paul snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (paul) wrote in message

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Yes, they can withstand freezing. In fact they probably benefit during the dormancy period. However, there are many varieties of blueberry plants and some like cooler temperatures than others. Read up their care for specifics. I don't do anything special to my blueberry bushes during the winter, although I prune them in late winter-early spring. I often see wild blueberry bushes growing above the frost line in the mountains, here in east Tennessee. The Seattle climate is good for growing blueberries.
On 11 Feb 2004 17:33:09 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (paul) wrote:

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Blueberries are native, among other places, to Maine, which last time I checked, is about a zillion times colder than Seattle in winter, so you needn't worry over much about freezing temps.......

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Really. Is 29 below a hard enough freeze? <G> Our yard in Maine is carpeted with blueberries, there is no lawn!
--
Ann, Gardening in zone 6a
Just south of Boston, MA
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On 2/12/04 6:10 AM, in article snipped-for-privacy@4ax.com,

Ann!
Lucky you! Cheryl
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The 29 below and a crop of blueberries can be a two edged sword, for under such conditions the growing season is short. I used to live in northern MN, and a late spring (cold weather until May 15 or later) usually meant abundant wild blueberries. In an early spring the blueberries bloomed too early and were usually caught in a freeze. The ideal combination for wild blueberries in northern MN was a late spring and a wet summer. While I live there, I often picked 200+ quarts of wild blueberries in a year of ideal conditions. Of course, ideal blueberry conditions also mean swarms of mosquitoes, deer flies, and sand flies.
I now pick 8-10 quarts each year from my cultivated bushes, if I beat the birds, but the blossoms never freeze in the spring. We do have wild blueberries in our area (northern AR), but the berries are the size of very small beads and are extremely sweet. I have a few in my back yard in the same shaded area where I have azaleas.
John
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Maine wild blueberries are small, sweet and tasty, and I picked probably 20 quarts this past summer.....and I didn't make a dent! I've got some frozen up, I may make more jam.
--
Ann, Gardening in zone 6a
Just south of Boston, MA
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in the evening I take a small bowl of Atkins almond crunch, I have an open tray of frozen blueberries and take a handful, then pour cream over the top for my evening snack. they are perfect. the other thing I do is blueberry pancakes .. pour the pancake batter into the pan, drop the frozen blueberries into the wet batter. after both sides browned I zap them in the microwave to get the BB really cooked, hot and juiced. Ingrid

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snipped-for-privacy@wi.rr.xx.com expounded:

Yum, Ingrid! I think I'll make bb pancakes on Sunday......:o)
--
Ann, Gardening in zone 6a
Just south of Boston, MA
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yup, it is much easier to pour the batter and then load the frozen blueberries on top. flip when the batter is set, then zap in the microwave to complete the cooking. the pancakes arent "high" but they are drooling with bb juice. Ingrid

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ List Manager: Puregold Goldfish List http://puregold.aquaria.net / www.drsolo.com Solve the problem, dont waste energy finding who's to blame ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Unfortunately, I receive no money, gifts, discounts or other compensation for all the damn work I do, nor for any of the endorsements or recommendations I make.
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boggy, somewhat shaded areas (morning sun, afternoon shade). They often compared favorably in size to the domestically produced berries and were gigantic compared to the wild berries in AR. One exceptional year I picked twenty-five quarts in an afternoon at my secret berry site. Getting there included a two mile walk down logging trails and an additional half mile hike through brush. Few others competed with me for the berries, and I didn't tell anyone! :)
John
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