If you're low on space but want to plant blueberry bushes, try 'North Sky' and 'Jelly Bean'
Sure, you can always pick up a carton at your grocery store or even a nearby farm stand but there is something special about picking your own blueberries from bushes on your lawn and garden.
If you want to plant your own but wonder if you have the space, consider some varieties that work well in smaller areas and even in containers.
Blueberry bushes not only provide beautiful berries, they look great in the landscape. The bushes have great foliage which looks great even in fall. Come winter, the bush canes look gorgeous against a snowy backdrop.
One potential drawback is that they can get very big. Ones to look for are called, "half-high" blueberry varieties.
If your yard is smaller or perhaps doesn't get great sun, try the half-high varieties, like North Sky and Jelly Bean. One type called Midnight Blue is even a cascading one.
These half-high blueberry plants grow one, two or maybe three feet tall at the most. They also make great small shrubs to add to your landscape, due to their mounding shape.
To ensure they grow well, first check the pH level of your soil before you put them in the ground.
Read up on how to take care of blueberry bushes this winter, 'Baking blueberry pies this summer begins with pruning blueberry bushes now.'
For blueberry bushes to get established and grow well, the pH needs to be around five, which is pretty acidic.
If the PH level is higher, try adding in some sulfur when you're planting to keep that pH steady.
You'll know if your blueberries are not getting the right pH level, as they will develop intraveinal chlorosis. This is when the veins of the leaves turn yellow and it's caused by an iron deficiency from a high pH.
The same goes if you put these half-high blueberry bushes you plan to grow in a container. Check the soil PH and adjust as needed.
Then, fertilize them every year. And in winter, protect your container blueberry bush by bringing it into an unheated garage or a basement where it stays around freezing.
And although checking soil levels may sound fussy, the real problem with blueberries isn't in the growing. It's that birds love them.
The good news is that these half-high bushes are small enough to place some netting over the top. This can help keep birds from helping themselves to your berry crop.
Some other methods to keep birds from your berries is to hang CDs around your blueberry bushes. Sunlight reflects off the CDs and birds don't like them and will stay away.
Another home remedy of sorts came from the University of Massachusetts. It involves several packets of grape-flavored Kool-Aid powder and a gallon of water. The powder contains a compound called methyl anthranliate and birds really dislike its taste. Combine then spray the mixture on the berries and the birds touch them!
Q: What's the latest info on combating leek moth larvae? We've been dealing with it on our garlic for several years now. Last year we sprayed the garden but the choices are dizzying. What do you suggest? - Eileen, East Calais
A: Leek moth larvae can cause a problem on not only garlic, but onions, leeks and shallots. These plants are in the allium family and have few problems with pests, except for this one!
Need more leek moth larvae expertise? Read more from All Things Gardening: 'Your garlic, shallot and onion plants might need protecting from the leek moth'
For garlic, try a floating row cover or micromesh screening. That keeps the moth away from laying the egg onto the plant and so you don't get the larvae.
If that's not practical, another simple solution is to use bacillus thuringiensis or BT. It's an organic spray that kills the larvae.
Try those methods and you should be able to mitigate any damage on your garlic.
Q: Please help solve a conflict between my husband and myself. We've got a maple tree that's about 15 years old. It's doing great and we haven't seen many signs of moths eating it around eating the leaves. But there have been a higher than usual number of seedlings sprouting in the mulch around the tree. Should we try to let some of those seedlings survive? - Joann
A: The good news is that nature will kind of take care of that. The seedlings are probably more plentiful because the maple tree had a lot of seeds that it dropped last year.
A lot of seedlings germinating, and then through natural selection, most of those will die off.
Fortunately, maple trees fare better in spongy moth outbreaks and don't lose as many of the leaves to the larvae munching them. It's really the oak trees that suffer the most damage.
As long as your maple tree is otherwise healthy, you needn't worry.
All Things Gardening is powered by you, the listener!Send your gardening questions and conundrums and Charlie may answer them in upcoming episodes. You can also leave a voicemail with your gardening question by calling Vermont Public at 1-800-639-2192.Hear All Things Gardening during Weekend Edition Sunday with Vermont Public host Mary Engisch, Sunday mornings at 9:35.Have questions, comments or tips? Send us a message or get in touch by tweeting us @vermontpublic.We've closed our comments. Read about ways to get in touchhere.