… to praise the blueberry is to praise the ordinary and easily obtained pleasures of this world, … ~ from Ode to Blueberries by Campbell McGrath
I’ve noted in my previous posts that gardening is a long-term endeavor for me. Some of the efforts I’ve made thus far – the fence, the raised beds, the soil – have been for the long-term. But all of the planting that I’ve mentioned is for the current season. Before now, I have not mentioned the blueberries.
I actually consider my mother to be the blueberry expert in the family. When I was young, I remember her packing us up on a hot, sticky summer day and heading to a blueberry patch on Johns Island (South Carolina). It seems like one of my mother’s friends and her children would always meet us there. We would be given baskets and told to fill to them the brim.
Flash forward many years to when my parents were living in Atlanta. There, my mother’s approach to growing blueberries certainly made them an easily obtainable pleasure. Planted along the side-yard fence were enough blueberry bushes to feed the entire neighborhood. My mother’s chest freezer became the vessel filled to the brim with this versatile treat.
I wanted to create a similar space in Patch405. Brad was worried when I wanted to clear a section of native growth that shielded our property from the neighbors. Maybe I convinced him of my vision, or maybe he’s given up on trying to stop me. Whatever the case, I cleared the land and placed three blueberry bushes in a raised bed. Upon planting, each bush was approximately a foot tall. But each one is expected to grow to reach 6 to 8 feet in height; plenty tall enough to provide the privacy Brad desires.
Rabbiteye is the basic type of blueberry that my mother recommends, and it is one of the three types that grows well in Oklahoma. I’ve learned that you need at least two varieties of blueberries in order to provide cross pollination and maximize yields. I’ve selected Austin, Climax, and Premier.
The downside of all this is that you must permit the blueberry bush to grow for several years before allowing it to bear fruit. If it bears fruit too early, it is detrimental to the health of the plant and then the fruit will not be tasty. I have to remember that this is long-term planning! One day I will reap the benefits; just not today.
So I will nurture my plants and find another place to get blueberries for the time being. I’m having a difficult time finding a place in OKC. I have discovered a fun place in Broken Arrow, OK – which is basically a suburb of Tulsa and about 90 minutes from my house. Thunderbird Berry Farm looks like it just opened last Thursday for the 2018 picking season. Let me get my basket ready!