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resalesally

blueberries in a wine barrel

What do you all think of planting three blueberries in a half wine barrel? Sallu

Comments (31)

  • fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX
    10 years ago

    That's a workable situation. I've got two in a 12 gal pot to good effect. Mostly I'm going to 3-5 gal pots just for the reduced weight.

  • wizzard419
    10 years ago

    I only have two in mine, but three should be fine as long as they get enough light.

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  • riverman1
    10 years ago

    Blueberries develop a large root system in a short amount of time. When I transplanted my plants this past fall out of wine barrels the entire barrel had roots all the way to the bottom and they had only been in the barrels for one growing season. If you plan on leaving the plant in the barrel I would only put one in each container.

    Here is a video on the topic:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l6G0CkhKX0k

  • jolj
    10 years ago

    The Piggly Wiggly has 3 gallon Powder Blue & another kind??? of blue berry plants for $10.00 each.
    They are 24-36 inches high.
    I going to plant some in a field, but they would go well in a wine barrel.

  • fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX
    10 years ago

    Three blueberries in a big pot is just like three trees in a hole. It will work fine but the most vigorous may need extra pruning to keep each plant at the same size. Obviously each plant will be smaller than if there were only one plant. But there is no reason it won't work. Try it before you say no.

  • Sally "Cricket" Benfer
    Original Author
    10 years ago

    Two Sugar Crisps and something else to help pollinate :)

  • ken_adrian Adrian MI cold Z5
    10 years ago

    when i messed with a half whiskey barrel ...

    the issue was drainage and proper potting media ...

    you cant just fill it full of dirt .. and hope for the best ....

    otherwise.. its just another pot ...

    it was long ago .. but i think i had to place it on 4 bricks.. to lift it off the ground enough to know when it was draining ... drilled 4 rather large holes in the bottom ... and lifting it.. also stopped it from rotting real fast ...

    ken

  • riverman1
    10 years ago

    I think for sure it would work at some level. However, it seems counterprodctive to grow three smaller plants rather than one large. If using more than one plant per hole was more productive you would see commercial growers using this approach.

    Ken brings up a good point about draininge, I had the same problem with some of my wine barrels. I drilled several large holes in the bottom but still they didn't drain very well which led to problems with a couple of plants.

    This winter I transplanted all of them in pots into the ground.

    RM

  • fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX
    10 years ago

    RM:

    It does seem a waste to put two plants of the same variety in one pot. That's wasting one plant unless one dies and then you still have a backup. Three plants in the long run probably won't produce much more than you could with a single plant. But I produced 18 lbs on one plant in 12 gal media last year so for a home gardener what difference does it make.

    Three plants properly chosen would spread out harvest much longer than one plant. That's the main reason home gardeners plant any kind of high density system IMO.

  • bamboo_rabbit
    10 years ago

    I agree with Fruitnut that it will work just fine. Will you get more fruit from 3 plants in the barrel as opposed to 1 plant in the barrel? Probably not.

    Here in Florida some of the commercial growers grow the plants their entire lives in 25 gallon pots filled with nothing but fine pinebark. Some of the plants get HUGE and are very healthy.

    Far as drainage if you have a container that does not drain well simply wick it and that will solve the problem.

  • blueboy1977
    10 years ago

    What do you use for a wick? Do they make wicks for potted plants or is it just a piece of rope? Also do you have to coil it inside the media or just stick in through the bottom a couple inches?

  • riverman1
    10 years ago

    "Three plants in the long run probably won't produce much more than you could with a single plant".

    Exactly, so why bother?

    "That's wasting one plant unless one dies and then you still have a backup".

    I have never had a plant in a pot die so again I don't see the value in using multiple plants per pot.

    Finally, I have grown plants in wine barrels and about 70% of them did well, the others had problems with drainage. If a person is going to use containers I have had better luck with 18" or so diameter sized containers.

    Here is a Reka in a smaller pot followed by a Darrow in a wine barrel.
    {{gwi:73981}}

    {{gwi:73982}}

    RM


  • Ernie
    10 years ago

    "Three plants in the long run probably won't produce much more than you could with a single plant".

    Exactly, so why bother?

    Fruitnut hit on one good reason -- spreading out the harvest. In resalesally's case, she can grow three plants that produce early, mid, and late season crops in a single pot. Sure, she'd get more fruit from each if it has it's own pot, but what if she doesn't need that much fruit, doesn't have room for three pots, etc.?

  • iammarcus
    10 years ago

    I have started using pots because I am on a reclaimed strip mine and I have trouble with some plants living.
    I also have a lot that can't stand my winters and spend it in my garage, including several of my pluots. Therefore space considerations force me to put 2-3 in one 20 gal. pot or cut back on the number of varities I want to grow.
    Dan

  • bamboo_rabbit
    10 years ago

    Riverman,

    Two reasons.

    1. in one pot you have three plants so 3 harvest windows and that will extend the harvest for those that are limited on space.

    2. It looks very cool to have 3 in a pot. I have a friend in north Florida who grows that way and angles the plants when she plants them. It looks very decorative.


    Blueboy,

    Anything that will wick. Polypropylene, cotton, braided rope, all will work fine. The rope just needs put up a few inches inside the container and can even be done after the fact. Helps if the plant is a bit off the ground like on bricks as the air will get to the wick and the water evaporates.

    On a side note that is how I start all my pepper and tomato plants. After the seedlings go in the 9 oz plastic cups yarn is pushed up through the bottom drain hole and they sit on a rack with the wicks dangling down in a nutrient solution. The plants draw up what they need and you never have to water them. All I do is go in every few days and raise the lights higher as they grow up. It makes for the most gorgeous strong big transplants. I would show you but the tomatoes and peppers are already planted out in the garden.

  • blueboy1977
    10 years ago

    Thanks for the info Bam! I have a Sunshine Blue and Powder Blue in 15 gallon containers with alot of peatmoss. I think I put too much peat in it and the bottom is always wet. I dont think it has collapsed yet but Im alittle concerned about a perched water table in the pots. I will put a piece of rope in them tonight. All my other potted plants are mostly pine bark mulch and dont stay wet like the other two. I havent noticed any negative effects on the plants yet but Im sure its just a matter of time!

  • riverman1
    10 years ago

    I think you are wise to keep an eye on the water level Blueboy. I think that was part of the problem I had with my wine barrels......they had a mix of fir and peat and didn't seem to drain very well. However............you might recall how these are grown in solid peat and seem to do well.

    http://ptallman.home.comcast.net/~ptallman/index_blueberries.htm

  • Bradybb WA-Zone8
    10 years ago

    Does anyone know where to get the mycorrhizal fungi that Pete Tallman is referring to in that article?I think it needs to be Ericaceous(Ericoid)to work with Blueberry roots.I have some growing in containers and was wondering if it might be beneficial. Thanks,Brady

  • blueboy1977
    10 years ago

    Good point Riverman, I do remember that. You know I may be overkilling it again, thats just how I roll man!

    Brady, Ive seen the fungi at local nurserys in small amounts. The fert I use has all the fungi in it already and I think thats probably why Ive had such good results so far. Alot of rain water and attention to detail probably didnt hurt either.

  • riverman1
    10 years ago

    I hear ya Blueboy....I tend to overthink these things too but that's part of the fun. When you start talking about adding "fungi" for the roots you know you're a fanatatic or not quite right or both! lol.

    RM

  • Bradybb WA-Zone8
    10 years ago

    Quite a few plants depend on mycorrhizae to get their nutrients and vice versa.Fertilizer companies are realizing that,especially organic and are adding it to their mix.
    I was collecting mushrooms where I work last fall and found different Boletes and others.I brought them to some experts for positive identification.The lady talked about one in particular and said there must be Birch trees in that area.Yes there are.She said that one needs those trees and has a symbiotic relationship with them.
    This fungi is already in the soil and will be in sufficient amounts to help growth unless the topsoil is cleared away or something kills it.
    With the Blueberry's fine root system,being not very efficient,the mycorrhiza attach themselves to the roots and bring nutrients to the plants,kind of like extra roots.Here is a little excerpt from Wikipedia about the Ericaceae family,of which the Blueberry is a member.
    Most Ericaceae (excluding the Monotropoideae, Pyroloideae, and some Styphelioideae) form mycorrhizae, where fungi grow in and around the roots and provide the plant with nutrients. This symbiotic relationship is considered crucial to the success of members of the family in edaphically stressful environments worldwide.[4] The Pyroleae tribe are mixotrophic and gain sugars from the mycorrhizae as well as nutrients.
    I was wondering,by making my own soiless mix in a container,how could it get in there on it's own?It might have to be introduced. Brady

    Here is a link that might be useful: Mycorrhizal Effects on Host Plant Physiology

  • riverman1
    10 years ago

    Last year I added some granulated sulfur to my soiless mix around my plants. Six months later, I was adding some mulch and noticed that the granules had not broken down in the least. This is what really got me thinking about soil bacteria and whether or not they were present in sufficient numbers with a soiless mix. Blueberries of course are not the only plant that works with fungi/bacteria. Alfalfa works with a common bacteria to fix atmospheric nitrogen into a form that the plant (and others) can use..........amazing!

    RM

  • subiej
    10 years ago

    Bradybb, I am looking for the exact same thing- Ericoid Mycorrhizae (EMF)-- with which to inoculate my bareroot blueberries before planting next month, and i found this product: http://www.horticulturalalliance.com/DIEHARD_Ericoid_Root_Dip.asp

    Only problem... it's $50!!! Cripes. It's a huge bag, though, apparently for commercial growers.

    I'm really not sure how necessary this stuff is. I did read one study that suggested that inoculating with EMF was only helpful in cases where the soil pH was higher than optimal/~4.5.

    Have you found any other sources, in smaller quantities perhaps?

  • Bradybb WA-Zone8
    10 years ago

    subiej,
    I saw online one company awhile back that was selling it.I don't think it was Horticultural Alliance,but it was about the same price,which seemed high.
    I wonder if taking soil samples from around some Rhododendrons,Azaleas or Heather might retrieve any.But then,how could it be determined? Brady

  • riverman1
    10 years ago

    Brady,

    I was looking at some soil today made by Dr. Earth that may fit the bill for what you are looking for. Maybe this mix could be top dressed on your plants or you could make a compost tea and use it as fertilizer periodically on your plants.

    Notice this soil "guarantees" that Mycorrhizae are present and that its Infused with eight select strains of ecto & endo mycorrhizae.

    Here is the link and the ingredients.

    http://organicgreenroots.com/Dr-Earth-BAGTAINER.html

    �100% Organic & Natural Hand Crafted Blend.
    �Infused with seven champion strains of beneficial soil microbes.
    �ProMoisture Hydrate� protects the Pro-biotics with an infusion of organic aloe vera.
    �Infused with eight select strains of ecto & endo mycorrhizae.
    �MycoApply Certified: Guarantees Mycorrhizae is in the soil.
    �Can be used as a compost tea.
    �Aloe Vera and Yucca extracts.
    �Provides abundant nutrients and ideal drainage.
    �Ideal mix to use at time of transplanting.
    �Grow plants right in the bag.
    �Patented bag design reflects heat away from roots.
    �An abundance of Bat Guano & earth worm castings.
    �Natural growth regulators.
    �Bio-active and Bio-available.
    �Won't burn seedlings.

  • Bradybb WA-Zone8
    10 years ago

    Thanks riverman,
    I'll look more into his products.From what I can understand,there are those two main groups, Endo and Ecto Mycorrhizae and some others like Ericoid which the Blueberries use of which there are not many providers, that I can find. Brady

  • riverman1
    10 years ago

    Well it's just an idea and it's not expensive.

    RM

  • waiting_gw
    10 years ago

    Will this work for potting media?

    The 2.0 cu. ft. Mini Pine Nuggets work well as a decorative ground cover. The mini nuggets are made from Southern yellow longleaf pine and are excellent for slowing weed growth. The nuggets help retain beneficial moisture and add nutrients to the soil for optimal plant health.

    * Made from Southern yellow longleaf pine
    * Hinders weed growth
    * Decorative ground cover
    * Helps add nutrients to soil for optimal plant growth
    * Note: Product may vary by store.
    * MFG Model # : 363936
    * MFG Part # : 363936

    Here is a link that might be useful: pine bark

  • Bradybb WA-Zone8
    10 years ago

    Waiting,
    That should work as long as the pieces are not too big.If they are,just run them over with a vehicle like bamboo rabbit suggests. Brady

  • waiting_gw
    10 years ago

    Thanks, Brady.

    Have you seen this ericoid mycorrhizal fungi-containing product?

    gary

    Here is a link that might be useful: DIEHARD

  • Bradybb WA-Zone8
    10 years ago

    Gary,
    OK.Yes,subiej brought it up earlier in this thread. Brady