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mrklean

Blueberry Bushs

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Last year Home Depot sold nice-sized blueberry bushes for about $7 each. I forget the variety, but it was one of those recommended for northern Minnesota. We bought six and planted half at our cabin (Ely) and half at our home (Grand Rapids). We're eager to see whether they survived this winter ... unfortunately it will be quite a while before we know as they are still buried under snow and we have more snow coming frown.

the bushes sold pretty quickly and I had to wait for a second shipment before we got any .. but I would assume they will sell them again this year. If you have a HD nearby it would be worth asking if they will get any this year. Otherwise I'd go to a local nursery/garden shop and ask.

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Where can i get some blueberry bushs locally i dont feel like trying to get them online?

A lot of Garden Centers and Retail Hardware stores will have them. If you get the cream of the crop they're a quality plant. But really you're better off getting something off the internet from a reputable supplier (I don't think I'm allowed to recommend mine out of Missouri)

Just make sure you know your zone and purchase accordingly. (If your info is correct you're in zone 4)

Blue berries LOVE acidic soil... So mulching with Pine straw is a handy and resourceful use of pine needles in the yard!

Rabbits, especially in late winter on hard long winters like this LOVE blueberry bushes with a deep passion. If there is something they can chew through or tip over to get at a blue berry bush they will work on it until they get to it and chaw that thing down into the roots killing it.

(Learned this the hard way a few years back!)

My blue berries are currently under up turned 5 gallon buckets weighted down with rocks last fall and planted in an area that drifts over for most of the winter locked under the banks until just recently.

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I've been wondering the same thing, about blueberries. My wife and I want to get some bushes started, but I'm concerned about our zone and losing the plants to the ridiculously hard cold winters.

We are in a very small circle of zone 3 in NW MN, and it appears there are only a few cultivars available that might withstand a zone 3 winter. These are available thru many of the mail order catalogs, and thru a large nursery in Wisc, and of course, the U of M.

The price of each plant is the real barrier. They've been rapidly going up in price every season with increasing demand. I'd hate to put in a $100 in bushes only to have them all die.

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I've been wondering the same thing, about blueberries. My wife and I want to get some bushes started, but I'm concerned about our zone and losing the plants to the ridiculously hard cold winters.

We are in a very small circle of zone 3 in NW MN, and it appears there are only a few cultivars available that might withstand a zone 3 winter. These are available thru many of the mail order catalogs, and thru a large nursery in Wisc, and of course, the U of M.

The price of each plant is the real barrier. They've been rapidly going up in price every season with increasing demand. I'd hate to put in a $100 in bushes only to have them all die.

What you need in zone 3 to feel safe about their ability to over winter are the low bush blueberries that the bears fatten up on. They grow almost in small matts on the ground, commonly in fire burned areas in your neck of the woods.

Find an area in your neck of the woods this fall that is public land, or private land that is giving permission... You'll usually see people are foraging blue berries. (They are around)And it's usually on pine forest that has burned in the last 10 years. In the fall driving by it will look very red on the ground.

Extract the plants with a trowel in a large ball of earth and put them in wet burlap bags...

Bring Bear Spray and have one person keeping an eye out... Black Bears ARE there... They know about it and are lurking, probably watching you the whole time as you plunder their fattening up food source!

wink

Bring the plants back home and transplant IMMEDIATELY into holes rich with compost and pine straw. Then when it comes time to pack them away for the winter, Water them really good and dress them up in straw, cover with a bucket weighted with bricks or rocks... When the snows come that first winter, go out and specifically shovel them with insulating snow.

After their first growing season they should be able to be treated like regular low bush blue berries, as this type is lower to the ground and hearty all the way up into continental Canada and Alaska....

The blue berries that grow in these wild burned out areas are the Chuck Norris of Blue Berries!

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I hear what you're saying nainoa. We used to go out picking wild blueberries in the Chippewa Nat'l Forest when we lived in Grand Rapids, MN.

We've got quite a bit more prairie, then pine forest here in the Northwest. Not that that is stopping me.

The one thing that I struggle with with wild strains is they are so darn small. You gotta pick about a hundred of em' for a small cup of berries.

I'd have to do more than just cover em' in pine straw. We've got pretty rich, loamy farm ground in this country. I'd almost assuredly have to soil test before, during, and after planting, to make sure the pH was right for sustaining growth.

We're still walking the fence on this one, but getting nearer to making the final decision. I've read up on KaBluey blueberries, and they may have the stuff to make it in our country. Otherwise the Northblues, or Dwarf Northsky (I think this is basically a wild cultivar) might be the berry plants we need?

Same thing kinda applies with true Blackberries. We can grow black raspberries in our region, but I spoke with a very well versed grower last year not far south from us, and he confirmed my own findings that there isn't a true blackberry that will produce in our country. The plants will grow, they just won't produce fruit. Very disappointing. frown

Thanks for all the tips though. Sure appreciate your willingness to share advice for growing success!

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I was at wal mart in Alex today and saw a TON of blueberry plants there some looked better then others ill probably hit up a local nursery, i was nervous about buying anything online from gurney's because if its no good I'm out of luck.

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I picked up several different varieties at MFF last spring. They produced well. I picked up some stuff at HD to add to the soil to make it acidic as I have mostly clay where I planted them. I also gave them some water with vinegar mixed in several times. Mulched them with pine straw I ordered on line. Now, hopefully they survived the winter. They have been buried in snow most of the time.

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See if you can get any TWO of these varieties. They will yield better with cross pollination, and all are cold hardy varieties introduced by the U of M. Almost all plants are now grown out west so probably does not matter where you get them as much as what you get.

Northblue, Northcountry, Northsky, St. Cloud, Polaris, Chippewa

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Started a patch up here in Duluth a few years ago. I tried the varieties mentioned by pushbutton above from a local garden center. They all survived the last 3 winters. Chippewa grows especially well. I recommend buying from a local garden center who sells plants conditioned for the local climate zone rather than from a big retail chain who ships them in from who-knows-where.

Main things are to acidify the soil with sulfur additive and/or pine needle mulch and protect from those rabbits in winter. I had berries my 1st year but rabbits have mowed them down limiting the crop when I haven't protected them in winter.

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University of Minnesota Extension (your tax dollars at work) is your friend.

http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/DG3463.html

http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/horticulture/DG2241.html

http://blog.lib.umn.edu/efans/ygnews/2011/04/creating-a-soil-mix-for-bluebe.html

http://www.maes.umn.edu/prod/groups/cfans/@pub/@cfans/@maes/documents/asset/cfans_asset_374280.pdf

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This is fantastic info guys! Thank you!!!

Just so you know, I've had really good luck with the mail order catalogs. If you call them and let them know the plants or seeds they sent didn't survive the first season, or didn't germinate, respectively, they'll replace everything at no cost to you!

Ordered a bunch of strawberries many years back, and explicitly told them not to ship the plants until the end of May. They shipped them right away in March. They didn't survive 2 months in the refrig.. Had to replace all 100 plants. When I explained the situation to customer service at Gurney's they didn't even hesitate. Had a new batch of 100 plants in less then a week.

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Thats good to hear i might give Gurney's a shot for a couple things they have that buy 100 get 50 coupon all the time hard to beat

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Yea, Mrklean. I take advantage of that coupon offer almost every year. Their seed is a bit more expensive out of the gate, but if you factor in the free stuff along with that coupon, you actually come out pretty good.

The other thing I've found with Gurney's that's really positive. Their seed is absolutely terrific. Nearly every seed I've purchased thru them has germinated very quickly, and produced very vigorous, productive plants.

If you do go with Blueberry plants thru them you should know that by now they may be cleaned out. I've inquired in past years and they are typically sold out really early in the year.

Also, if you do purchase something from them that doesn't make it thru the first season, and they can't replace the plants due to inventory shortage, they'll typically just credit your account to the amount you spent initially. They're very, very accommodating.

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Two years ago I made the decision to purchase seed locally, rather than thru the order catalogs. We have a decent garden center here in town, and they carry pretty much all the veggy seed we need.

I won't say it was a HUGE mistake, but it definitely cost us a lot of money in the long run. One green bean variety was marked incorrectly, and we ended up with the wrong variety...in abundance.

I inquired about a good sweet corn variety, and was told directly about one they had in stock. I asked specifically for a high sugar content hybrid, with a very CRUNCHY texture as it's always one of our best sellers. I was told it was the #1 best selling variety of sweet corn in the country.

Long story short, the sweet corn planted in staggered increments over a six week period all ripened simultaneously, and was over-ripe in only a matter of a few days. The quality was marginal with low sugar content, and a very mealy, soft texture. We sold very little, and lost almost all the crop to being over-ripe so quickly.

Thankfully I'd carried over some great seed from the previous season, planted in a different garden, and our family enjoyed this variety throughout the rest of the season.

We also purchased what was marked as zucchini, another big seller for us. I put in 4 large mounds, only to find out later it was all a mixed variety summer squash. Again, we sold a little bit of this, but most went to waste.

I'm not going to slam the seed store, but I will say I wasn't impressed. My experience with the big seed catalog distributors has been nothing but good, and like I said earlier, you get exactly what you buy, great quality seed. And the more expensive seed, seed corn for example, is out of this world great quality stuff!

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Back before the lake and the rabbits reduced my interest in gardening, I really liked the stuff from Stokes seed catalog. As I recall it was just seeds, no bushes etc.

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