In Goes the Blueberry Patch

rototilling to put in the blueberry patch

One of the single best features of my parents’ back yard is a bank of blueberry bushes that stand taller than me. From these bushes each summer, my parents harvest upwards of thirty or forty GALLONS of blueberries. With the exception of blackberries, blueberries are one of my absolute favorite fruits.

So when Mr W and I got married last year and the kids and I moved to the farm, I couldn’t wait to plant blueberry bushes. Last month when my birthday rolls around, my parents came through…delivering five beautiful blueberry bushes to the farm.

Unfortunately, for the past month, we’ve been too busy to plant them. Well…that and we couldn’t figure out where to put them.

The curse of a huge yard is figuring out where to break up that wide open space. We’d already had to deal with that earlier this year when we planted pear trees and several other trees. It takes Mr W about four hours to mow the yard as it is…adding more things to mow around doesn’t really make that process any easier.

We finally settled on a spot on the edge of our back field. This would put them out of the mower’s path while also putting them back toward the bonfire area. I mean what could be better than summer bonfires and all you can eat blueberry bushes?

Of course the next problem we had was how to get the ground ready. We don’t have a rototiller and we weren’t talking about one blueberry bush. We were talking about five. That meant we needed a plowed up space about four foot wide by twenty foot long. You don’t really want to cut that much sod and turn that much soil by hand.

So we called up Mr D, the neighbor who takes care of our barns and our fields. Sure enough, he not only had a tiller, but had one he’d mounted on the back of one of of his tractors. The next afternoon, we heard the tractor pull up at the back door.

Off we went.

Of course we had to mow down part of the wheat field first. We generally let neighboring cattle farmers come mow about three acres of our back fields each year, but they won’t come until late June or early July, so the field was getting pretty tall. Mr W took the lawn tractor to it and in a few passes, we were ready to go.

Mr W clearing a patch

Then it was just a matter of firing up the tiller…

firing up the tiller

And going to town…

tilling a patch for blueberries

In about fifteen minutes or so, the ground was freshly tilled and ready to go. Of course while they were doing that, I couldn’t resist the urge to snap a few pictures. The clouds and sky were absolutely beautiful that day. (Playing around with Picasa filters never hurts either…)

beautiful sky overlooking the farm

I also love this shot of our John Deere sitting under a tree. If the leaves hadn’t come in, you could see the old outhouse over on the side of the hill.

John deere sitting under the tree

Once the kids came home from school and Mr W had a chance to run into town for supplies, we got to work putting the blueberries in. First we had to check the spacing on the plants…

thing one and thing two at work in the dirt

The Thing Two helped Mr W break up the root balls so we could put each plant into the holes Thing One had helped him dig.

spacing out the blueberry plants

While they put the rest of the plants in, I spread out the weed screen and cut holes for each of the plants to poke through.

weed screen ready to put in place

Up next, we had to carry the screen over to the plowed section and carefully work each branch of the blueberry bushes though the X I’d cut for them.

pulling the branches through the weed screen

Finally, we got down and dirty spreading mulch. I was honestly surprised the kids hung in there that long. But Thing Two seemed to be having fun playing with the mulch…

thing 2 had fun spreading the mulch

And so did Thing One!

thing one also loved spreading the mulch

When it was all said and done, I got my wonderful work crew to pose for one last picture before I headed in to make dinner and they went to get watering cans.

Mr W, thing 1 and thing 2 proud of their work

Step one of about eleventy billion toward making this a farm that produces fresh foods for our family…complete!

 

 

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