Potting Up

I’ve been thinking about large pots and our doorstep and patio areas. The two could go together and I have some pots and some young trees that need places to grow…

I’ve planted two of our Nanking Cherry seedlings in two large planters at the front steps. They grow 1 to 2 feet per annum so by next year or the year after could look like something. The filled pots are too heavy to move easily so the cherries had better be hardy. They have that reputation.

This morning, I went out in the garden surprised to find two Northland Blueberries still alive. That’s all they are, barely alive. They’ve been there three years and have grown very little. The problem is our heavy clay soil and the pH of our water. I dug around the plants with a spade a respectful distance, not wanting to disturb the roots. I needn’t have bothered. Their roots hardly extended beyond the size of the initial bare-root seedling despite application of sulphur repeatedly… Acid is useless if it’s washed away in the next watering and there’s plenty of limestone in the soil and well-water to neutralize the acid.

I prepared two three-gallon pots with a nice loam soil, extra sand and granite pieces, and a handful of prilled sulphur. That last item slowly oxidizes and the sulphur dioxide resulting dissolves readily in water to acidify the soil. I then watered with an acidifying fertilizer dissolved in a pail of water. I only needed a hole about 500mL in size to hold the root-ball of the blueberries. I pruned a couple of small dead branches. I hope the poor blueberries don’t explode with joy in their new environment… I’ll try to water them with water from the dehumidifier or Nature’s rain from now on…

Anyway, there’s a bit more room in the garden for tougher plants and the possibility of picking blueberries right on the patio. It’s all good.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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