This is a journal of my vegetable gardens. Skippy was my first dog and he thought the garden was his, even though I did all the work. Now Suzie and Charley follow in his footsteps. We're located near Boston (USDA zone 6A). I have a community plot, a backyard vegetable garden, fruit trees, berry bushes, chickens, and bees. I use sustainable organic methods and do my best to grow all of my family's vegetables myself.

Monday, June 01, 2015

today's garden work - clearing the blueberry patch

Today I cleared my blueberry patch. I pulled ferns and weeds and trimmed rhododendrons back to leave a cleared ring of about two feet around each bush. I dug up the prolific (and beautiful) native plox, piled it in a wheelbarrow and will relocate it tomorrow. The bushes look much better. If the berries start to ripen, I have bird netting ready to use.

I did the clearing because my new blueberries seem to have "mummy berry". Bummer. I was thinking the berry patch could have native ferns and wild flowers growing under the bushes. But last year, my bushes lost all their berries and this year the same seems to be happening. My bushes bloomed well this spring, fruit set, and now the young berries are shriveling up. Mummifying is a good description. I am reading this is caused by a fungus that propagates year to year through infected berries dropped on the ground and not swept away. It is agrivated by reduced air flow - from ferns and native flowers growing too close, I think. I'll gradually see how much clearing is needed.



Anonymous Lara said...

Very interesting. I have seen mummified berries on wild blueberries and usually it seems these are on plants in more overgrown areas. It makes sense that these wild plants are having issues with air flow too.

June 03, 2015 9:43 AM

Blogger Joe said...

My parents used to grow blueberries on their hobby farm. The last few years before they sold the farm they had trouble with mummy berry-to the point where one year there was no harvest (compared to up to 1000 pounds on a normal year). The supposed cure was to get rid of the infected berries. We would pick the infected berries as we saw them, then covered up the ones that were on the ground with a layer of mulch (we had a steady source for wood shavings). We always had some affected berries regardless of what we did, but we did at least substantially decreased the losses.

June 03, 2015 11:58 AM

Anonymous agrieconomics said...

Great article

June 10, 2015 4:26 AM

Anonymous Joan said...

So sweet

June 18, 2015 5:03 AM


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