My friend Chris and I both bought blueberry plants this year to grow in containers. Now we’re going to see which one actually produces berries. I’m not what you’d call a careful person (my husband is probably agreeing wholeheartedly right now) so I have my money on Chris’ plant.
Chris does everything right when it comes to gardening. Before I even met her, I walked past her place all summer gazing wistfully at the tall corn I could see beyond the fence, wondering what else she had growing. Not surprisingly, I was blown away when I saw her gardens for the first time. She has elevated beds with drip irrigation, and everything was organized and weed-free (at least I don’t remember seeing any weeds). It looked dreamy to me who was wondering what we could grow on this challenging hill.
Of course, it’s a lot of fun anytime we see each other. It’s about impossible not to compare notes on what new varieties or techniques we’re trying, and it’s very special to have a fellow gardener who speaks the same language. This year it’s all about the blueberries. We each bought a ‘Top Hat’ variety, which is specially made for containers since you might as well beat your head against the wall if you try to grow blueberries in the ground around here.That’s where the similarity ends.
Chris developed an awesome self-watering container for hers. She put a lot of research and work into making it work correctly because she said it’s important for the blueberries to receive even moisture. I planted mine in a fabric “Grow Bag” I’m trying out this year. It’ll be lucky if it is watered before it dries out unless I keep it within the range of the sprinklers for the patio gardens.
Even if it receives enough water, I really must do something to mitigate the alkalinity in the water. Chris thoroughly researched the cultivation requirements, and thankfully let me take a look at the information she found. (She offered to let me take them home to read, but I know there’s a distinct possibility of losing her work in the abyss of my organizational system.) One thing that caught my eye was adding vinegar to the water. I will do that … when I remember. A lot of people think because I write extensively about gardening that my gardens must be perfect. Now I’m laughing. I “plan” my gardens when I’m wandering around on those spring days that are too cold to do anything.
Planting is usually a hurried event taking advantage of nice weather (sometimes a rarity) in between schoolwork for the boys and writing
assignments. (And now that I’m a member of the Montana Wilderness Association I’m a hiking fool.) Weeding is done in fits and spurts, and I’ll probably have a lot of late nights trying to process the veggies once they’re ripe. But that’s what is so cool about gardening. Gardeners often do things differently, but the results are the same: We love it and can’t wait to tell you the adventures of the season.
PHOTO COURTESY OF AMY GRISAK
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