Author Archives: sandieanne

Planting Blueberries

Planting blueberries will give you blueberries for years to come.  Here are a few tips that I have learned about for healthy blueberries.  A real plus for blueberries is that they are native plants.  Of course, after you read my previous post about protect blueberries from birds, you will understand why they are native plants.  Native plants feed the local wildlife whether they are insects, birds or small animals.  Blueberries definitely feed the birds if you don’t take measures to protect them for yourself!!

Planting Blueberries from Herring Run Nursery

Herring Run Nursery is a native plant nursery in the Baltimore area.  They carry several types of blueberries.  They are open on weekends or by appointment during the week.  They carry lots of native plants, shrubs and trees.  The workers at Herring Run can give you advice on what you might like to plant in your garden to attract native pollinators, birds or small animals.  Look up native plant nurseries where you live for the best in native plants.

When planting blueberry bushes it is best to plant at least two different types for the best pollination results.  Blueberry bushes are self-pollinating but do better and create larger fruits through cross pollination with different type bushes.

Blueberries Like Acidic Soil

When I dug the holes to plant my blueberry plants, I added a lot of peat moss to the soil to make the soil more acidic.  Blueberries grow best in acidic soil.  Then I mulched them with pine bark mulch which is also acidic.  You could also use pine needles as mulch if you have those available.

Protecting Blueberries in the Winter

I started with just one blueberry bush a few years ago.  This bush kept its leaves through the winter.  Since we now have deer in our neighborhood, I wanted to protect the blueberry from being eaten.  I put deer netting around the bush.  I read that the deer don’t like the feel of the netting so they won’t eat whatever it is covering.  In the meantime, the leaves were not eaten during the winter.   Planting BlueberriesHere is a picture of the blueberries growing within the netting.  It is clear that the netting would not protect these berries from the birds.  I imagine that the bird could just pluck off a blueberry through the netting.  So I covered my plant with row cover material.

Protect Blueberries From Birds

If you are growing blueberries, your main focus should be to protect blueberries from birds. You might not realize this in the beginning but it is very important to protect blueberries from birds if you want to eat any yourself.

Blueberry Bush US National ArboretumFortunately I learned this lesson the easy way.  I didn’t lose all my blueberries to the birds.  I only lost about half of them.  Here is the story:  Last June I spent a lovely afternoon at the US National Arboretum.  I highly recommend visiting the US National Arboretum if you have the chance.  The gardens are absolutely beautiful. There are meandering paths with choice places to sit and relax and enjoy the flowers and landscaping.  Here is a picture of the place I chose to sit and have lunch.  You can see the US Capitol in the background and the bush in front of the tree trunk is a blueberry bush!  As you can see I found a shady spot where I could eat my lunch!

How I Learned to Protect Blueberries From Birds

I was eating my lunch and relaxing.  I noticed that birds kept alighting on the bushes and pecking on something.  As I looked closer I realized that there were several blueberry bushes in front of me.  The birds were have a great lunch also!!  The thing that really surprised me was that the blueberries weren’t even close to being ripe.  They were just starting to get a purplish-bluish tinge to them!  The birds didn’t care if they were ripe.  Protect Blueberries From BirdsThey were taking the berries before they even had a chance to get ripe for us!  They must like them that way.  This was a great learning lesson for me. You need to protect blueberries from birds before they are even ripe.  Here is a closeup of one of the blueberry bushes and you can see that a lot of the berries have been eaten!

One Idea to Protect Blueberries From Birds

I posted a few years ago on protecting berries from the birds using row covers.  These row covers work very well to save your berries!  Just make sure you get them on early enough before the birds start eating the berries.

 

Worm Composting Science Facts

Worm Composting Science FactsWorm composting science facts are helpful to understand how important vermicomposting is to the health of the soil.  This is a continuation of a summary of worm composting facts from a survey in Australia.  Please see my blog post Worm Compost Science Education Facts for the the introduction and more science facts on worm composting.  There is a lot of information here so I divided it into two blog posts.  In this picture you can see worms working on creating worm compost from a cantaloupe rind.

More Worm Composting Science Facts:

  1. In all growth trials the best growth responses were exhibited when the vermicompost made up a relatively small proportion (10-20%) of the total volume of the container medium. (p. 17)
  2. Surprisingly greater proportions of vermicast in the plant growth medium have not always improved plant growth. (p. 17)
  3. There is a substantial body of evidence to demonstrate that microbes, including bacteria, fungi, etc. also produce ‘plant growth regulators’ such as: auxins, gibberellins, cytokinins, ethylene, and ascorbic acids. (p. 18)
  4. Since microbe population is significantly boosted by earthworms, large quantities of  ‘plant growth regulators” are available in vermicompost. (p. 18)
  5. Vermicompost is rich in humic acid which promotes plant growth and nutritional uptake. (p. 19)
  6. Several studies have shown that earthworms effectively bioaccumulate or biodegrade several organic and inorganic chemicals. (p. 19)
  7. Vermicompost use in crops inhibits soil-born fungal diseases. (p. 19)
  8. The ability of pathogen suppression disappeared when the vermicompost was sterilized, indicating that the biological mechanism of disease suppression involved was microbial antagonism. (p. 19)
  9. Buckerfield found that the stimulatory effect of vermicompost on plant growth was apparently destroyed when it was sterilized. (p. 22)

The page number at the end of each fact gives the reference to the research in the original survey!  As you can see there has been a lot of favorable research on worm composting.

Purchase My PowerPoint Video, an Introduction to Worm Composting!

I created a PowerPoint video which I saved as a movie, as an Introduction to Worm Composting. This is a very good introduction with my own photos and video clips on my experiences with worm composting. I tell you what common mistakes I have made to save you from making these mistakes yourself! There are two choices:

  1.  Download the Power Point/video to your computer for $1.99
  2.  Or rent it for $.99.

Click on this link which will take you to Gumroad, a secure site, where I sell my products:

  1. Then click on Rent or Buy depending on which you want to do.
  2. Lastly, click on “I Want This”.  Gumroad processes your payment and then you will be able to download my video.

Here is a preview of my PowerPoint video:  the Introduction and Chapter 1: