Friday, 20 November 2009

Blue Friday

Blue skies miraculously appeared over Edinburgh at 9am on the day I took off work to play catchup at the allotment - after a week of cloud and rain. Don't believe me? Well here's my proof:

Blue is today's theme as I have a lurid plastic blue sandpit to bury and fill with ericaceous compost to grow blueberries in next year. Why? Well you know what it's like when you come across some interesting information that sets you thinking. And then you hear about it from another source. And then another. Well just as I was "reaching for the seed catalogue" or (rather googling for it) I came across an offer for three blueberry bushes at a knock down price. I've been thinking about expanding my soft fruit production by adding raspberries alongside the strawberries and rhubarb. It just so happened that I also heard a Gardeners Question Time question about growing blueberries a couple of weeks ago. Bob Flowerdew knowingly advised that the best way to grow them was in threes (for cross pollination?)in a sunken bathtub (slow drainage) filled with ericaceou compost (they hate lime). Now I don't have a spare bathtub, but I do have a moulded plastic sandpit/paddling pool that has been clogging up the works in the skeleton of a greenhouse on my plot. It even has a plughole just like a bath. Perhaps a little precipitously, as I hadn't ordered next year's leeks, cabbages, lettuces etc, I placed my order for blueberries, along with a dozen raspberry canes and some shallots, over the net. Delivery is promised for next March. I have to admit that subsequently I have the vague feeling that I have become a fashion victim. However Mrs M buys them at extortionate prices from the supermarket and being the wonderfood of the decade they all get eaten, so I guess it's worth a try.

So here goes. Rather than digging in muck today I'm taking the net off the strawberry patch...

...digging down to the subsoil...

...and meeting the watertable on the way. It has rained alot even in the east of the country, but this seems to be clay underneath the loam. Perhaps I'm wasting my time burying the plastic liner as I already have the ideal conditions (clay under loam and my soil has a low pH)for growing blueberries. No don't even think of it. Ploughing on:

Bury that liner

and fill with ericaceous compost (3 bags for £12) I probably need one or two more bags to make it up to ground level without resorting to my common or garden topsoil.

I've kept any subsoil removed apart for relaying the path as Dr Hessayon (Dr Veg) advises that it's the last thing you want at surface level. The topsoil is going to fill the holes left where the old rhubarb root masses are being removed.

Now maybe tomorrow I'll turn my attention to the rest of the neglected plot!


  1. Thanks for visiting my blog, Mal. I've enjoyed reading your blog (from the beginning), you've had a really productive year. Regarding the blueberries, I grow mine in containers in the garden. I thought it would be easier this way as I can control the acidity of the soil better than if they were planted in the ground. Beware though, they will need netting, the birds love them.

  2. great idea for the blueberry bushes...i didn't have anywhere near this much forethought...nor did I research so I have one lone bush...I will just have to wait and see what happens next year!!

  3. Inspired idea! I'm thinking blueberries next year too so maybe I'm another fashion victim.
    Thanks for commenting on my blog - but sorry the slug stays...but only in photo form - live ones not tolerated.