garden and coop

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It’s been a mild fall here so far; hopefully I didn’t just jinx Michigan.  Only a couple of nights where it got below freezing, and generally pretty nice weather for late October.  Makes for happy lettuce.

With the changing seasons in mind, I putzed around in the girls’ coop.  Picked up a roll of faced insulation to put on their walls.  I’m not sure whether they’ll bother it.  So far, so good.  But if they start pecking it, I’ll need to get out the drywall tools.

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I also found a junk piece of plexiglass in the barn (full of pretty letters and arrows) that went up over the windows for keeping out those west winds when the temperatures dip to minus 20.  Not sure how much warmth it’ll keep in because there are roof vents directly to the outside, but from what I understand, drafts can be dangerous, but ventilation is necessary.

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My little blueberry bushes are still plodding along.  I’m pretty sure they’re not growing as well as they should be.  Our soil is naturally very alkaline, and I added natural sulfur to it last year, but the crude soil test I did still says it’s in the alkaline range.  I decided to mulch with naturally acidic spaghnum peat moss and see if that helps.  I you have any hints for blueberries, I’m all ears.

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12 thoughts on “garden and coop

  1. I wish you success with the blueberries. The peat moss is a good treatment, but I wouldn’t bet on long term success. As the roots expand they will likely get into soil that isn’t in their ideal ph range. Your best bet for harvesting loads of blueberries is probably a day trip to the west side of your state where there are plenty of U-pick blueberry farms. I’d consider trying a hardy cherry. I have the opposite situation. Blueberries thrive in my acidic soil. I tried cherries and kept 2 trees alive for 5 years. One year they produced enough for a single pie. Then they died.

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    • Well thanks for your input. I’ve tried blueberries several times over the years with zero success (didn’t help when my daughter accidentally mowed one planting). Your thoughts unfortunately sound about right to me. But cherries sound like a great idea, and I’m not giving up yet!

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  2. I’d mix the peat moss in to the soil and seeing how you have lots of red oak (if I’m identifying those logs correctly) growing where you live make use of their leaves which are very acidic. If you have access to any oak or pine sawdust mix huge amounts of that into your soil to lower the pH.

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    • Thanks for the tips! And it so happens I DO have oak sawdust 🙂 I can’t really mix anything into the soil, since the bushes are already established, but I’ll definitely use the sawdust mulch!

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      • Pile it on!

        Our soils are low pH to start with but also low in humus so for my blueberry patch I added a lot of saw dust the year before planting. It worked just fine.

        The tannins in the oak sawdust should leach down into your soil.

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  3. I understand it is difficult to amend soil to be more acidic. However, I wonder if a raised bed with purely acidic compost would work?

    My soil is not acidic – not had a soil test done but cauliflower and broccoli like it – and I still get blueberries. I have fed it coffee grounds and pine needles (acidic) which may have helped – or maybe it’s just good luck.

    Your blueberry bush has a lovely autumnal colour at the moment, anyway 😊.

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  4. I’m no blueberry expert, but my (two) plants crank out several pints of fruit every February in their pots (filled with 100% sphagnum peat, amended annually with sulfur). I am going to cut the bottoms off them this year and give them a permanent home in the garden (and access to soil microbes), so we’ll see how that goes. My neighbor planted her blueberries directly in our clay gumbo soil and amended heavily, and they all died. I think it’s all about the soil.

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  5. Dan,
    I was wondering if you have trimmed your grape vines yet? I am going to try and root some vine cuttings and figured I’d check. Hope you are doing well and that your well is staying liquid this year.

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