Permaculture and Edible Landscaping…How growing blueberries got me started

What comes to mind when you think of permaculture? Well to me its working with the land rather than trying to work against it. There are tons of books on the subject, sites dedicated to its virtues and so on and so forth..While I’m not a permaculturalist (if that’s even a word) I’ve tried to adopt some of the principles into my home gardening.

From Wikipedia

Permaculture is a branch of ecological design, ecological engineering, environmental design, construction and integrated water resources management that developssustainable architecture, regenerative and self-maintained habitat and agricultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems.

Years ago, before I ever heard the terms permaculture or edible landscape, I thought it would be kind of cool to have a few blueberry bushes growing around the house. I absolutely love blueberries. If things worked out there would be enough to freeze and, maybe make some preserves or just have fresh blueberries with breakfast..Turns out I was a little too ambitious…

My journey started at the local Ace Nursery where I bought a couple of blueberry bushes. In my mind, I’d just dig a whole, stick them in the ground, then sit back and wait for my huge bounty of berries..Boy was I wrong..Turns out there’s a little thing called cross-pollination, meaning you’ll need two cultivars in order to get fruit. On top of that you have to think about soil acidity, fertilization and irrigation…

3 of the 4 bushes I bought that year died, but I learned some valuable lessons. If you’re going to plant blueberries do yourself a favor and check out the Blueberry Gardener’s Guide on the University of Florida IFAS extension site. Everything you need to know is right there.

Blueberries were the catalyst that really started me down the home gardening path. I’d say it’s become a bit of an obsession and I’ve still yet to have a decent crop. Fingers crossed this year. Over the years I’ve planted more than 20, I have 18 now at last count. They’re all over my yards, mostly in places where you would find a hedge or along a fence line.

I’m growing both southern highbush and Rabbiteye cultivars and a native Florida variety called Darrow that can do well in sandy soil. For the beginner, Rabbiteye is much easier to grow and are more drought tolerant than the highbush.

Here are just few..

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Native Florida blueberry

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