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guild ideas for blueberries

Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
I have a very sparse guild in my blueberry area, as it is acidic and a lot of plants don't do well with acidic..

My canopy is 2 sweet chestnut trees, they like acidic...then I have a hedge of 10 blueberries (very young). I have put in seeds of buffalo berry, and I have ordered highbush cranberry yet to arrive for this year, and north of the blueberry babies this year I have planted potatoes. I had some service berry and juneberry in here but realized they prefer more alkaline soils so I moved them and they are doing better..

SO, I would like suggestions for what I can put in with the chestnut and potato plants besides the ones mentioned above that will round out my blueberry guilds. (oh yarrow grows well here but I had to pull most of it out as it was rampantly trying to kill my blueberries, there is still a yarrow lawn 2' away from them so the blueberries get the benefit with out the strangling roots.


Brenda

Bloom where you are planted.
http://restfultrailsfoodforestgarden.blogspot.com/
Shawn Harper


Joined: Mar 01, 2012
Posts: 221
Location: Portlandia, Oregon
    
    1
Heather and huckleberry.


She changes everything She touches, and everything She touches changes.
Alex Ames


Joined: Feb 24, 2012
Posts: 351
    
    1
I can tell you what I am doing but I doubt it is a functional guild. My garden is topped by a little ridge
to the North about 4' higher than the garden and on that ridge I have 15 blueberries in kind of a horse shoe.
To the North of that I have eleagnes which I can't spell without looking it up. I have a volunteer mulberry
next to it that I am encouraging. In front of the ele-whatever I have my potatoes. When I saw this thread
I went out and tried to take a picture but couldn't figure out a way to show everything I wanted to show.
It would be good to work this whole area up into a guild.


[Thumbnail for IMG_1631.JPG]

Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
your blueberries appear quite happy...what climate are you in to have berries on your blueberries already Mine haven't even begun to flower yet here in Michigan.
Alex Ames


Joined: Feb 24, 2012
Posts: 351
    
    1
Brenda Groth wrote:your blueberries appear quite happy...what climate are you in to have berries on your blueberries already Mine haven't even begun to flower yet here in Michigan.


I am in Georgia. That is not all, I have some tomatoes already setting fruit! Now that is unusual for around here.
These blueberries will never touch my lips if I don't fight off the birds, the deer, the squirrels and I have even seen
a rabbit get up on his hind legs to eat them.

This guild thing does not draw much input does it? I was trying to find out if Swiss Chard and tomatoes got along on
another thread but got no opinions or legit info. I even posted a photo to show proximity. I bet you know since you
are actively trying to set up guilds that work.
Nick Garbarino


Joined: Apr 24, 2012
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
Perhaps basil? It's used in apple guilds and it likes acid.


Certifiable food forest gardener, free gardening advice offered and accepted. Permaculture is the intersection of environmentalsim and agriculture.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
i didn't see your request about swiss chard and tomatoes, but yes they get along fine, I have both growing in my greenhouse every year (the chard just keep coming back, 4 years now)..Chard gets roots that will go to china, so they are great dynamic accumulators and good mulch plants if you have extra ..or forage for a lot of animals..i plant lots here.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
i did not know Basil likes acid soil, I think I might still have some seed, I'll pop some in and see how they do..thanks.
Alex Ames


Joined: Feb 24, 2012
Posts: 351
    
    1
Brenda Groth wrote:i didn't see your request about swiss chard and tomatoes, but yes they get along fine, I have both growing in my greenhouse every year (the chard just keep coming back, 4 years now)..Chard gets roots that will go to china, so they are great dynamic accumulators and good mulch plants if you have extra ..or forage for a lot of animals..i plant lots here.


I have a cage of tomatoes with two plants in it that is surrounded on 3 sides by Swiss Chard that keeps on
producing. The tomatoes are smaller than most of my other tomatoes so I was wondering if the chard could
be causing it. I have a different tomato variety in each bed so some of it could be variety differences. I will just wait
it out and see how they come along.

So I could fence in my blueberries and grow potatoes, basil and maybe tomatoes in among them and nearly double
the effective size of my garden without expanding the outside dimensions.
Nick Garbarino


Joined: Apr 24, 2012
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
I'm going to plant more basil too, this time amongst my young blueberries. I just hadn't thought of it until I read your post. Can't have too much basil, and at this point there's lots of empty space between the young blueberries. When the basil is done, I'll just chop and leave it there for mulch.
Erica Wisner
volunteer

Joined: Feb 10, 2009
Posts: 734
Location: Okanogan Highlands, Washington
    
  86
I came here looking for this same answer - and now I'm trying to remember what I've seen in blueberry fields at home, or in the mountains, and offer more options.

Our blueberries did really well with piles and piles of lawn clippings or fir/pine wood chip mulch. We would have groundcovers like clover and dandelion that volunteered, and we liked them for keeping the soil 'tilled' without disturbing the blueberry roots. We also got a lot of thistles which we had to weed out aggressively.

We had rhubarb at the end of the same bed, soaking up all the runoff from the blueberries' fertilizer/mulch/summer watering regime. (No chemical fertilizers, they just got pampered when we had green manures to dispose of.)

In commercial fields, it seems like I see a lot of things like chickweed. Acid-tolerant salad crops (lettuce is in the same family as dandelion, yes?) could be a good match. I also see a lot of nitrogen-fixers like vetch and sweet peas, and morning glory will climb in there, so covering that function with something less invasive would be smart. Bush peas or beans maybe, not so close they would shade the stems; or a low-growing clover.

The discussion has already covered a lot of the plants that guild well with tomatoes - like basil. Carrots do, too, I believe. Fennel or dill might grow with blueberries where they aren't ideal with tomatoes. Cilantro? It did well with my tomatoes last couple years. Blueberries get pretty dense roots over time, that may be why they like so much mulch (to keep growing roots into), and I wouldn't want to try too many bulbs or edible roots for that reason. But nearby, between young bushes, it could work fine.

In the wild, you see various alpine things like lupine, rosette-shaped plants. I might be tempted to do wildflowers / beneficial insect plants, but not so much as to shade out the blueberry stems.

Wild or commercial strawberries could also be good - they like the same rich mulches. If you have a very shady plot, you won't get as many blueberries as you would in sun (they just explode in clearings after a forest fire, 2nd year after being burned they produce very heavy crops).
If you are committed to growing berry bushes in the shade, a lot of NW native plants are acid-tolerant; this can include wild ginger, ferns, kinnickinnick, salal, and a number of pretty wildflowers like Solomon's Seal, bleeding hearts.

Fir, pine, acidifying trees nearby are good, to maintain soil conditions without needing to fuss with the pH. Juniper and yew are conifers that offer some edible / medicinal benefits too. Cedars and Western/Mountain hemlocks offer nice variety in texture and cone size, and good greenery for winter wreaths. Douglas Fir is a fast-growing evergreen that produces decent timber or firewood (similar density to cherry, and not as pitchy as pine).
Mugo pine and golden hinoki are pretty evergreen landscape cultivars that grow very slowly, if you want some bonsai effect and needle-mulch in there without committing to a full evergreen shade situation. (We're talking a little pine puffball with 2" needles, or charismatic drooping Christmas tree, after 5 years or more.) But you can usually import conifer droppings mulch, or tree-trimmings from power line maintenance, without needing to provide your own coniferous trees on site.

Huckleberry, heather, Kinnickinnick, salal, madrone, and manzanita are all in the same family as blueberries. They love the same conditions, but will compete more than cooperate. Azeleas and rhododendrons are similar feeders too.


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Nick Garbarino


Joined: Apr 24, 2012
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
Blueberry root structure is very shallow, so anything with deeper roots would not be competitive in the root zone. Carrots fit that, but pulling up carrots would disturb the blueberry roots. It would be a shame to leave carrots in the ground. So, I'm thinking a real good blueberry guild candidate should have deep roots, likes acid soil, and is a good nutrient accumulator. Such a plant would mine the depths and bring up good nutrients during the growing season, then it could be chopped and left in place as mulch, without disturbing the roots, and the roots would add biomass and nutrients to the soil. Help me out on this - what plant(s) fit this description?
L. Jones


Joined: Apr 29, 2012
Posts: 80
Location: NW Mass Zone 4 (5 for optomists)
Burdock, perhaps, if you manage it. If you let it go, you'll probably regret it. Leaving the root in place, you'll have to keep cutting top growth back, as it does not give up on life easily. I don't put it there deliberately, and weed it out when it puts itself there, as there are uncontrolled patches beyond my managed area but clearly within seed dispersal radius. It certainly has a deep taproot and can produce prodigious top growth. I make occasional collecting expeditions out there to gather it for compost before it fruits, but it's not enough to keep the stuff under control.

I have hops (humulus lupus) growing behind my blueberries - other than the yearly (rhizome) pruning to keep it from growing all through the blueberries, it does well. Needs to be given (preferably 15-18 foot tall) support for best growth/production, and be where it does not shade the blues. I forget what its's supposed to like for pH, but it's perfectly happy there. Could be sending roots elsewhere if it's not into acid, I guess, but it's right next to the bed and does runner into it. My understanding is that hops has both the rhizomes that runner shallowly, and a deeper root system that does most of the feeding - keeping the rhizomes under control (or only letting them go rampant where you want them to) is a normal part of hops management. At harvest time, there's plenty of greenery to chop & drop. It will use the blues as support if you let it, and the blues won't like that much (too much shade).

Highbush cranberry (viburnum trilobum) is around the corner, and has never done well for us. We still have some stems, but they are suckers sent out before the previous stem died, several times over. They have never amounted to anything. Hopefully yours will do better where you are.

Other things doing well in there (which probably don't fit your deep-root, chop&drop desire, precisely) are:

Fringed bleeding heart (also needs a bit of chopping back, but looks nice and it's not too hard to control) - this is the shorter stuff with deeply divided (fringed) leaves that runners - perhaps the taller clump-forming type would also work, and stay put better, but it might also compete more for light.

Lignonberry - no useful production at ~3 years or more, but looks nice, finally starting to spread away from the initial plants, low evergreen, a few berries. I'm going to be "not a fan" if it doesn't start making useful quantities of berries soon, though.

Various bulbs (better planted with or before the berries, rather than after, due to the shallow berry roots - but most bulb roots are well below the berry roots.) Crocus, daffodils, scilla, snowdrops are staying well. Iris gradually died out.

Heather (erica), but it's being invasive/piggy - overpowering the shorter blues. Took a while to do that, but current plan is to move it away from them. Might not be a problem if you only grow tall types of blues. May also be competing at root level, though.

Strawberries grow OK, but really don't produce well - I think good blueberry pH is way too low for good strawberry production. Moving those out, at least for production of fruit (ie, some can stay and putter along barely producing, but some have to go elsewhere to get strawberry production that suits me.) If the pH suits strawberries, I don't think the blues will be happy.

Black raspberry has been trying to seed itself. There's also a wild grapevine, but that's now getting the weed treatment, as it made no grapes when given the "oh, so you're a volunteer food plant" treatment. I guess you could treat it as a source of greenery to chop, but I think they are also mostly shallow rooted.

Muddling towards a more permanent agriculture. Not after a guru or a religion, just a functional garden.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
my blueberry bed is on the south side of a lattice fence. on the north side I have potatoes to use the more acidic soil in the area. I did put some seed of morning glory on the fence but the idea of beans sounds good up the lattice there, too cold here yet to put in the beans but I can do that in a couple of weeks

I have a highbush cranberry plant coming.so that will go in there also. I do have mulch on the blueberries, aspen chips and I sheet compost on that.

there are raspberries and sweet chestnut babies west of the blueberries and horseradish east...but something with deep roots does sound like a good idea, I'll have to do more seraching on what has deep roots that likes acidic soil.

thanks for the input
Nick Garbarino


Joined: Apr 24, 2012
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
I'm starting to focus in on horseradish as a good candidate, but only if the roots are not harvested, which would disturb the shallow blueberry roots. Horseradish have incredibly deep roots, leaving the soil near the surface for the blueberries uncontested. They tolerate a pH range of 5.5-6.8. Their roots can go down as much as 12 feet! Here in Zone 9 we are right at the warm end of their range, which means some winters may not get cold enough to force dormancy, and they might not last long. In other words they may grow more like annuals here instead of perennials. But in my case, I'd rather have them being controlled by nature instead of me having to do all the work. Once my blueberries get full size, I won't have room in my terracred beds for things as large as horseradish anyway. So, at that point, I would like to transition over to smaller plants that occupy the same niche. Well, almost the same niche, because I doubt any small plants will send roots down 12 feet!
Shawn Harper


Joined: Mar 01, 2012
Posts: 221
Location: Portlandia, Oregon
    
    1
Nick Garbarino wrote:Blueberry root structure is very shallow, so anything with deeper roots would not be competitive in the root zone. Carrots fit that, but pulling up carrots would disturb the blueberry roots. It would be a shame to leave carrots in the ground. So, I'm thinking a real good blueberry guild candidate should have deep roots, likes acid soil, and is a good nutrient accumulator. Such a plant would mine the depths and bring up good nutrients during the growing season, then it could be chopped and left in place as mulch, without disturbing the roots, and the roots would add biomass and nutrients to the soil. Help me out on this - what plant(s) fit this description?

Your looking for dandelion. This also gives you a salad crop and flower crop. Plus if you leave the leaves in place, they produce a gas that assists with the ripening of fruit.
Ivan Weiss


Joined: Dec 19, 2009
Posts: 157
Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
Nick Garbarino wrote:Blueberry root structure is very shallow, so anything with deeper roots would not be competitive in the root zone. Carrots fit that, but pulling up carrots would disturb the blueberry roots. It would be a shame to leave carrots in the ground. So, I'm thinking a real good blueberry guild candidate should have deep roots, likes acid soil, and is a good nutrient accumulator. Such a plant would mine the depths and bring up good nutrients during the growing season, then it could be chopped and left in place as mulch, without disturbing the roots, and the roots would add biomass and nutrients to the soil. Help me out on this - what plant(s) fit this description?

--
Comfrey, no? I chop and drop comfrey all around my blueberries.

Pastured poultry, pork, and beef on Vashon Island, WA.
Nick Garbarino


Joined: Apr 24, 2012
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
Thank you for that feedback Shawn. Dandelion does have a deep tap root and it is a great nutrient accumulator. One problem that I see regarding it's use in a blueberry guild is that it likes neutral to alkaline soils. Bluberries like battery acid - just kidding but we're talking pH 4.0-5.2. Even my horseradish idea doesn't get me into that pH range but my soil should be above 5.5 (needed for horseradish) down deep where their roots go, while still being right for blueberries near the surface. I mulch heavily with pine straw and the southern highbush blueberries are loving it so far.

Regarding basil, on second thought I am going to avoid planting it with my blueberries, because that would create a highly competitive situation in the root zone, and blueberries don't like that at all. By the way, after fumbling around on the internet, I am finding that Appendix I in the back of Dave Jacke's Edible Forest Gardens is excellent for this kind of exercise. He's got a lot of important information all in one place. The only thing is, you need to be able to cross reference the common name to the latin name, but he's providid an index for that too, just a few pages over. Interesting that basil is not listed. I'm wondering if he doesn't consider basil a good plant for permaculture or just hadn't got it in there yet. Basil is such a common garden plant, so it seems odd to leave it out of a list of hundreds of plants. Or maybe it goes by another latin name besides Ocimum basilicum?
Nick Garbarino


Joined: Apr 24, 2012
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
I was looking at comfrey, which seems to be the king of all nutrient accumulators and mulch plants. It may not compete too much with the blueberry in the root zone, but I can't tell for sure. Blueberries are supposedly not into sharing the root zone at all. I may be able to go with comfrey for the blueberries back in the food forest proper, but for my terracred beds in zone 1, I'm afraid I'll never have enough shade to keep the comfrey in check. Which is good for blueberries because they're not really into shade that much. I guess if I used the Russian comfrey, that would address that. The other thing is comfrey apparently doesn't like real acid soil, although it can tolerate some acidity. Since I'm in Hardiness Zone 9A and I don't want what I plant to get too big or take over my zone 1 area, and I want to keep my pH real acidic for my blueberries, I'm still leaning more toward horseradish, but I'd like to find something smaller to fill the same niche in the future when the blueberries start filling in the space. If it's this hard to design a little blueberry guild, imagine the complexity of a whole food forest. I think mine is going to be part design analysis, part throw stuff out there and see what works!
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3088
Location: woodland, washington
    
  53
I plant low blueberries around high blueberries. the low plants provide a nice fruiting ground cover. they're almost certainly competing to some extent, but not enough to cause any real trouble.

I also plant strawberries, favas, garlic, and some thymes and oreganos. and I mulch heavily with wood chips. gardening orthodoxy suggests that those plants don't like the same conditions that blueberries do, but they all seem to be enjoying each other's company. large amounts of organic matter and humus go a long way toward making pH less critical than is typically believed.

personally, I think the threat of blueberry root disturbance from harvesting root crops is a bit overblown, too. pulling up a couple of carrots from the root zone of a blueberry isn't likely to cause serious issues. if the carrots are crowded in there and roughly the whole root zone is disrupted, then sure, a blueberry will likely not appreciate its rowdy neighbors.

I would like to try some groundnut (Apios americana) around the blueberries, too. the vines aren't terribly aggressive here, and the nuts themselves grow shallow enough that harvest ought to be relatively painless for the blueberries. probably put those in next year when I've got some tubers to spread around.

sorrel seems to volunteer quite a bit on our place, around the blueberries being no exception.


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Nick Garbarino


Joined: Apr 24, 2012
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
Tel's input, much appreciated by the way, prompts the realization that there probably is no such thing as a "one size fits all" blueberry guild or any other kind of guild because so much depends on local conditions. It's hard to imagine worse soil than what we have here in the Sand Hill habitat of Florida. This sand was deposited long ago by the ocean when sea level was much higher. It's nothing but sterile yellow sand with almost no organic matter or nutrients, and it is literally dozens of feet deep. Even in the mature climax forest habitat around here, the topsoil is only an inch or two deep, then the yellow sand starts. Every gopher tortoise burrow is an excavation of this poor yellow sand, piled up next to the hole. Every time it rains, nutrients are washed down below the reach of many of the roots. So, in this context, avoiding competition in the root zone is more critical than in better soils. I'd much rather be starting with clay, because you can build a better soil out of it than you can with pure sand. For our food forest to be productive, we will need to really concentrate on techniques and design features that really maximize mulch production and hold as much biomass as possible in the first few inches and minimize competition in the root zone. This food forest will be very similar to the tropics with regard to almost all of the biomass residing in the living forest, and very little in the soil. Just like the Long Leaf pine/xeric oak community native to this area. But in other areas where the soil has some clay in it, root competition may not be as critical.
tel jetson
steward

Joined: May 17, 2007
Posts: 3088
Location: woodland, washington
    
  53
you're certainly right, Nick. growing anything in marginal conditions makes any setback for a plant more troublesome. I'm in a flood plain, so I've got fairly sandy conditions, too. sounds like your sand is rather more difficult than mine, though.

in that situation, I would guess that buried organic matter could help things along. blueberries are probably always going to be a challenge, though. I've also wondered about chia flour or basil seed flour or some other mucilage for retaining moisture and nutrients longer in excessively draining soils. could be a good way to jump start the accumulation of humus. or it could be pissing in the wind.
Nick Garbarino


Joined: Apr 24, 2012
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
There is a very large southern highbush commercial blueberry farm less than 2 miles from our place, so that's encouraging. My strategy at this point is lots of pinestraw and oak leaf mulch, horseradish companion plants in summer, and mustard companion plants in winter. We're picking berries now, although the new plants are still pretty small. Not sure what's more fun - tending the garden or snacking on the garden.
duane hennon
volunteer

Joined: Sep 23, 2010
Posts: 382
    
  10


hi Brenda

here in west pa, zone 5, north facing slope
i add 3 inches of leaves each fall
my blueberry guild has blueberries as the top story (full sun)
underneath is creeping charlie, wild violets and wild strawberries
these just grow on their own and keep down the grass
i would have to spend time pulling them out if i wanted anything else
they provide plenty of forage for the bumblebees before and after blueberry blossoms
the plants are loaded with blossoms (and bumblebees)
L. Jones


Joined: Apr 29, 2012
Posts: 80
Location: NW Mass Zone 4 (5 for optomists)
duane hennon wrote:my blueberry guild has blueberries as the top story (full sun)


Certainly around these parts, blueberry plants will grow under trees, but otherwise lazy people will climb mountains to reach blueberry plants that have established above treeline, because they have far more fruit on them. Many shaded plants have no fruit at all - but they'll be ready if/when there's a fire to get rid of those pesky trees.

The commercial lowbush (wild, but slightly managed) barrens (not being on top of mountains) are burned regularly.
Brenda Groth
volunteer

Joined: Feb 01, 2009
Posts: 4433
Location: North Central Michigan
    
    8
thanks for all the input, I actually had to move some blueberries that were taken over by horseradish that moved into their bed, and the horseradish was killing them..so I wouldn't plant horseradish IN the blueberry beds, but I do use their leaves as compost around them. I put a barrier between to hold back the horseradish spread.

I really like the idea of using the beans, I am planting rattlesnake beans, winged beans and soybeans this June, so I'll put some in there..also the idea of strawberries has me thinking. I have a lot of "strazzberry" plants and they'll be putting out runners soon, maybe I'll put some pots under some runners and move those among the blueberries..as a groundcover...only problem, both will tend to draw birds..may have to get some net then.
Nick Garbarino


Joined: Apr 24, 2012
Posts: 239
Location: west central Florida
Brenda, thanks for the warning about horseradish taking over blueberry, although I doubt that would happen here in zone 9. Some references state that zone 8 is the southern limit for horseradish. I think I'll get some horseradish going in other places and see how it does before trying it in my blueberry beds. I do like the way the roots go way down deep similar to comfrey. Mustard too, and I'm sure mustard would come to a screeching halt here in the spring when it warms up.
Rianna Stone


Joined: Apr 01, 2012
Posts: 12
Location: Oklahoma
I recently acquired some Top Hat Blueberry bushes so I was glad to see this thread. I looked up some info about Little Bluestem which is a prairie grass. This variety gets about 2-3 feet tall. From what I could find it is a clump forming grass that is drought tolerant. One website I looked at said most of the roots grow almost vertically down to a comparable depth of shade trees. It likes a pH of 5.6 to 6.5 and grows in Zones 3-9. We live in Oklahoma so this would be a native grass here but I thought I would suggest it in case it would be useful.

Pamela Melcher


Joined: Jan 10, 2012
Posts: 253
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
I would keep the horseradish away from the blueberries.

Horseradish in Portland, Oregon gets out of control in 2-3 years. The plants seem to double in size every year.

That makes it difficult to imagine anything killing horseradish.

This is great for some purposes, very bad for others.

I also observed how the simple "weed" mallow might be..probably would be.... good .....it spreads far as a groundcover, the leaves and seeds are edible, and it has amazingly deep roots. We have one growing in about the middle of a 16 foot dome greenhouse. Due to circumstances beyond my control I was not able to do much in the greenhouse and so it was not watered, and I kept an eye on it to see if it needed water, and for about a year, without water, the mallow never showed any signs of ill health. After a year, it started to need water. So I conclude that it must have very deep roots. In my unenlightened days when I tried to eradicate mallow from gardens, I found it as impossible to eradicate as morning glory. I am not sure if it likes acid soil. I have MANY seeds that I collected from the one in the greenhouse, and can experiment. I will let you know how it goes.

I am fascinated with wild edible plants and welcome them in our infant permaculture food forest

Good luck, everybody. Thank you for your extremely helpful info.


Pamela Melcher
Happiness, Health, Peace and Abundance for All.
www.myncd.com/472784
Emily Byars


Joined: Apr 10, 2013
Posts: 2
I like the idea of planting clover as a ground cover, and I've seen a few people suggest it. However, I'm wondering about whether this will compete with blueberries and other bramble berries in the root zone?

I've got an additional limitation in that my blueberries/bramble patch is on top of my septic drain field. So, I can't plant anything with roots that go much deeper than the brambles'. I'll definitely be encouraging dandelions and rhubarb at the edge of the bramble patch (which sits in full sun atop a small plateau) and I'll be planting lots of acid-loving nutrient accumulators for chop-and-drop, but does anyone have any other ideas for working with shallow root limitations?
Pamela Melcher


Joined: Jan 10, 2012
Posts: 253
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
A plant which I recommend that you plant near blueberries is running comfrey, because it blooms profusely at the same time that the blueberries do.

I would not plant it directly among the blueberries as it spreads rampantly and would choke them out.

Happy growing.

Pamela Melcher
nustada adatsun


Joined: Mar 05, 2013
Posts: 39
I don't know if it counts as a guild, but maybe foods that ferment well, like cabbages. You make a low ph fermented juice (not specifically for eating and low or no salt). Then pour the juice around the blueberries. I figure the bacteria in the juice will go on living, helping keep the soil ph lower. you can eat the sauerkraut or add it to your compost, as solids will raise the ph when it decomposes. I am just growing blueberries now and have not had time to see if this method works. You probably could do like %50 cabbage and %50 comphrey form fermentation (definitely do not eat). But I have not tried it yet.

You will also want to inoculate your blueberry with mycorrhizae
Pamela Melcher


Joined: Jan 10, 2012
Posts: 253
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
Borage would be an excellent addition to a blueberry guild.

It has a deep tap root, and likes both acid and neutral soil.

It is a good nectary plant.

Flowers and leaves are edible. Sweet...

It does self sow regularly which I APPRECIATE.

Pamela Melcher
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
 
subject: guild ideas for blueberries
 
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