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Blueberry polyculture

 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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What plants have folks successfully planted with blueberries in polycultures?

I have high bush and low bush blueberries, several varieties to yield a succession blueberries through the season. There is a total of about 9 plants. We have a 1/4 acre lot. I plan to group the blueberries near each other for cross pollination. I plan to space them so they will fill in the spaces between them, and interplant some plants with them now, or perhaps plan to leave them with mature plants interplanted in a polyculture.

We live in Porltand, Oregon so I plan to give them as much sun as possible, about 8 hours of full sun in summer.

I have some nice little mats of white clover that I plan to put in between them.

I appreciate suggestions. Please be clear if they are based on experience, research, or wild guess.

Thank you.

Plant Blessings.

Pamela Melcher
 
tel jetson
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http://www.permies.com/t/14249/permaculture/guild-ideas-blueberries
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Thanks, Tel.

I just read that whole thread. Got lots of answers. Great thread.

I did a search of the forum for such answers, but did not use the right words and pulled up nothing. That thread appeared after I posted my question.

I am also going down the Plant Species Matrix in David Jacke's book, Edible Forest Gardens, Vol. 2, looking in the pH column and the root pattern column. Very helpful.

Abundance to All!

Pamela Melcher
 
tel jetson
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other low-growing/groundcover Vacciniums: lingonberry and bilberry. they're both real tasty.

groundnut (Apios americana) would also be worth looking into. harvest would disturb the blueberry roots a bit, but not a lot. it's considered a weed species in cranberry bogs, so proceed with caution.
 
Pamela Melcher
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Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Thanks, Til. Jacke (see above ) says, so far, plants which like acid soil and have tap roots: Columbine ( sun to shade); Cow parsnip; Sea beet (a perennial veg - I am looking for these - anyone know a good source?); Chicory. To be continued.
 
Pamela Melcher
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Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Plants that like acid soil and have tap roots, continued: Malva Alcea; Myrrhis odorata, Sweet Cicely; Phytolacca americana, Pokeweed; Red Clover; Comfrey, said by Jacke to have a fleshy roots, but as we know, comfrey roots go deep. That's a good start...

Thanks for your help, Til!

Abundance for All!

Pamela Melcher
 
George Lee
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Location: Athens, GA/Sunset, SC
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I interplant japanese buckwheat with my blueberry bushes to keep a population of beneficial insects around...
There are times I see hoppers or caterpillars on my young blueberry plants, the ones with ripe light green growth...
If I can keep insectiary wasps around, they'll often sting the perpetrators...
Not only that, but buckwheat is one of the best phosphorous accumulators out there and fruit bearers need it especially.
Cheers -
 
John Polk
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I know that buckwheat is a great potash (K) accumulator, but I never heard it was good for phosphorus (P) also.
I believe most clovers are better P scavengers than buckwheat.

 
Pamela Melcher
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Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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George, Awesomely kewl. Thanks so much. Will do.

Abundance for All!!

Pamela Melcher
 
George Lee
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John Polk wrote:I know that buckwheat is a great potash (K) accumulator, but I never heard it was good for phosphorus (P) also.
I believe most clovers are better P scavengers than buckwheat.



Definitely good for P!

Buckwheat is known as
a “phosphorus pump” because it is assumed the roots
solubilize phosphorus from phosphate precipitates in
the soil profile and subsoil. The following characteristics make it outstanding for its phosphorus efficiency:
1) a finely divided root system with a high ratio of root
surface to root or shoot length; 2) a high storage capacity for inorganic phosphorus; 3) an increased release of
protons and solubilizing substances by phosphorusdeficient plants; 4) a favorable ratio of phosphorus
uptake to root mass growth, especially at a low phosphorus supply; 5) a high activity of acid phosphatase in
the rhizosphere and the capability to use phosphorus
from organic sources (Gardner and Boundy, 1983).
Buckwheat has poor response to nitrogen fertilizer due
to its short growing season (“Crops of Other Plant
Families”). It has a higher tolerance to soil acidity than
any other grain crop (“Alternative Field Crops
Manual,” 1989).

 
Brenda Groth
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i started the original thread..yesterday I put out some seeds in my blueberries..behind them up the lattice I put rattlesnake beans, and in front I put soybeans, between I put seeds of sunflowers and also a few zucchini seeds..we'll see how those go for this year until I can get some permanent plants in there..I also have a no bog cranberry groundcover coming.
 
Paul Gutches
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Location: Taos, New Mexico
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Pamela Melcher wrote:Thanks, Til. Jacke (see above ) says, so far, plants which like acid soil and have tap roots: Columbine ( sun to shade); Cow parsnip; Sea beet (a perennial veg - I am looking for these - anyone know a good source?); Chicory. To be continued.


I'm under the impression that blueberries might like sulfur accumulation, and I hear they are fond of magnesium. But not calcium so much (makes sense since high levels of calcium often portends alkaline soils).

So... what about garlic for sulfur accumulation and peppermint for magnesium accumulation? Both do not accumulate calcium.

Never tried it, but might.

Then again, I have very alkaline soil and would be growing blueberries in half barrels, so deep taproots are out for me.

Paul
 
Pamela Melcher
Posts: 299
Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Thank you, Paul,

Thank you for telling me that peppermint is a magnesium accumulator. I did not know that. That makes it a very good ally for chop and drop. I love it and never could figure out why folks get so annoyed by peppermint, OK, it spreads, but it is a fantastically useful herb and smells good and repels insects and I think it is GREAT, and now have more ideas of how peppermint and I can co-create. I can think of many places that need magnesium.

It looks, from when I transplant blueberries, like they have very shallow fibrous roots, so I do not want to potentially crowd them with the shallow peppermint roots.

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, everyone. Thank you for your helpful suggestions.
 
Paul Gutches
Posts: 104
Location: Taos, New Mexico
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Pamela Melcher wrote:
It looks, from when I transplant blueberries, like they have very shallow fibrous roots, so I do not want to potentially crowd them with the shallow peppermint roots.


You're welcome.

That info came from gaia's garden incidentally. There are wonderful tables of data on accumulating plants.

Yes. blueberries have shallow roots. So, yeah... maybe not best to interplant peppermint... but keep it close by so you can chop and drop it.
 
Pamela Melcher
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Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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Thanks again, Paul.

I have a copy of Gaia's Garden and had forgotten about the plant accumulator chart.

I will study it.

We are bringing an old dairy farm then suburban lot back to life. It is a joy to do, nature bounces back, given a chance. Mineral accumulators are our good friends.

Good luck, everyone.
 
Pamela Melcher
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Location: Portland, Oregon Maritime, temperate, zone 7-8.
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I suggest that you plant running comfrey NEAR your blueberry polyculture, but not IN your blueberry polyculture.

It blooms at the same time as blueberries and blooms prolifically, thus it would help to attract pollinators.

It is a ground cover that thrives under all conditions, but seems to do better with partial shade.

It spreads rampantly, and so you do NOT want to plant it IN your blueberry polyculture.

Abundance for All!

Many Blessings,
Pamela elcher
 
Justin Deri
Posts: 79
Location: North Yarmouth, ME
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Brenda Groth wrote:i started the original thread..yesterday I put out some seeds in my blueberries..behind them up the lattice I put rattlesnake beans, and in front I put soybeans, between I put seeds of sunflowers and also a few zucchini seeds..we'll see how those go for this year until I can get some permanent plants in there..I also have a no bog cranberry groundcover coming.


Brenda,
How did you experiment go with the beans and such?
 
bunkie weir
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Location: eastern washington
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George Lee wrote:


I interplant japanese buckwheat with my blueberry bushes to keep a population of beneficial insects around...
There are times I see hoppers or caterpillars on my young blueberry plants, the ones with ripe light green growth...
If I can keep insectiary wasps around, they'll often sting the perpetrators...
Not only that, but buckwheat is one of the best phosphorous accumulators out there and fruit bearers need it especially.
Cheers -


George, what is the difference between Buckwheat and Japanese Buckwheat?
 
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