Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Blueberries & Netting

Cultivating a variety of fruiting plants takes time and patience. Strawberry vines will begin to produce in their second year, and raspberry canes in a year or two. Currants and gooseberries also take a few years to harvest a decent crop. But blueberries will really test one's patience, and when the crop finally begins to ripen, we're not about to let a single morsel fall prey to the birds.

Blueberries require extra care in most locations because they need acidic soil and plenty of sun. Amending the soil is standard procedure, but it can be tricky to find organic acidic soil amendment and fertilizer. Nevertheless, it's all worth the trouble. Blueberries are low in calories, high in antioxidants and oh so delicious.

Here at Red Bucket Farm we planted four blueberry bushes in 2009 and four more in 2011. We have five different varieties of blueberries which helps boost pollination. This is the first summer that we'll harvest more than a handful of berries.

We learned that it's beneficial to leave the ripening berries on the bush for a week or two. This improves flavor and nutrition but it leaves them susceptible to bird raids. So we opted to net each bush with nylon netting purchased at the fabric store. It looks a little silly, but will allow sunshine and rain to penetrate without weighing down the branches. Bunnies love to eat blueberry bushes especially in winter, so be sure to fence them carefully.

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