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Perrenials which are tolerant of biennial mowing?

 
Craig Dobbelyu
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Location: Maine (zone 5)
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forest garden hugelkultur
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I have an area of about a half acre which is loaded with low-bush wild blueberries. I've noticed that they tend to bear fruit better when they are mowed every other year. This is backed up by all other Maine blueberry growers. I allowed them to grow into a third once and the results were a very low harvest as well as poor quality fruit with lots of bugs. Are there other perennials which I could plant in that area which would be tolerant of such a mowing schedule as well as the acidic soil? Could anyone suggest other food plants that might grow in that area among the blueberries?
 
Brenda Groth
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i would say jerusalem artichokes probably would do well under those conditions..possibly rhubarb, asparagus and horseradish as well, but you would have to TIME the mowing at the right times..mowing before the asparagus was up and after the tops die down would work fine, rhubarb and horseradish could be mowed early spring and very late fall as well

i'm sure there are lots of others
 
Tyler Ludens
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Asparagus prefers alkaline conditions, so might not thrive in acidic soil....
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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Location: Maine (zone 5)
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forest garden hugelkultur
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Thanks for the quick replies.

Blueberries should be mowed when they are dormant, either late fall or early spring. Often the large fields are burned instead of mowing for a couple reasons. 1. Burning kills the weeds and weed seeds. 2 burning cauterizes the plants so that diseases can't invade the tissues as easily. My field borders a wooded area and is on a hillside so I prefer to mow it for safety sake.

I grew sunchokes for the first time this year, they have yet to flower but seem to be doing well otherwise. They are about 7 feet tall and really healthy looking so I might transplant some in with the blueberries this fall. My only concern is that I'd have to be diligent about not letting them spread too much, and digging too much may be detrimental to the blueberries. But hey, it's worth a try. I could always plant different types of high-bush blueberries If it came down to it.

I have a good plot of asparagus in my garden and there is a lot that grows wild in the lower portion of my fields but none pops up in the blueberry patch so they might not like that area.
I do have a lot of wild roses that seem to like it up there with the blueberries but I really don't have a lot of use for them. I'm trying to find something to take their place.
Of course the space is overrun with wild (useless) blackberry brambles too.

Keep the ideas coming. Thanks again.

 
Eric Toensmeier
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Lots of things like being cut or burned every other year but so far I have seen few which are good companions for blueberries.

We've tried a lot of companions for blueberries over the years. Some don't like the acid soil and perish. Others do much too well and smother the blueberries (groundnut, sunchoke, raspberry, Chinese artichoke).

There are a few things that get along really well with our lowbush and half–high blueberries. One is the running juneberry (Amelanchier stolonifera), and another is "Very Berry" and "Christmas" wintergreen, which likes the shade under the blueberries and makes it enormous berries ripe from November through the following April.

 
Craig Dobbelyu
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Location: Maine (zone 5)
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forest garden hugelkultur
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Thanks Eric. I'll have to do a little research as I've got zero knowledge on a few of the things you've mentioned. Much appreciated.
 
Jeffrey Hodgins
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Location: Yucatan Puebla Ontario BC
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With so many perennials that fit the bill it's hard to know where to start but it seems I'm always speaking up for the alium type things onions garlic leeks chives shallots. raspberries are grown that way sometimes too.
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/email
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