My Duke blueberry plants
It's finally time to start my little jungle project in the polytunnel! I want to grow plenty of tall plants in there and the blueberry variety Duke seemed like the perfect choice.
I have bought quite a few fun new plants this year. There are plenty of plant nurseries around Växjö where I live, and I just love coming home with my new findings. For example red kiwi and white peach, and I also hope to plant an elderflower bush that grows in a pyramid shape.
A jungle in my polytunnel
My goal is to get a nice jungle vibe in a section of my large polytunnel by planting tall bushes and trees. The polytunnel is 11.5 feet tall (around 3 meters) and there's plenty of space to grow. Growing tall plants means that I can grow lots of other things on ground level too of course. I have even been thinking about getting a small fountain powered by solar panels, to make it even cozier in there.
So far, I have a thornless blackberry variety called Black Satin, the grape variety Himrod, Ken's Red red kiwi and the white peach Ice Peach. I also decided to plant strawberries around the pathways. There are a few asparagus plants in here too now, Primavera and Gijnlim and the purple variety Pacific Purple.
I saw some pictures of trained blueberry bushes a while ago. It looked so nice, but I couldn't figure out why I should train them when there's plenty of space outside. But with a larger greenhouse and a vision for a lush jungle in there, I just couldn't stop thinking about them. I need tall, trained blueberry plants in my polytunnel!
I always make sure to read up on any new plants, but it's especially important when I have a specific plan for them in mind. The information on the tags is often quite scant so I try to google my plants too, just in case.
You can't use just any blueberry variety and expect it to work well trained. The varieties are very different and a low-growing one won't be right for this kind of project. The most common varieties in the garden center might not be suited for training and others are perfect for the greenhouse.
More about berries: Growing honeyberries
Perfect for the greenhouse
I recently came upon a variety that I hadn't seen before, called Duke. When I googled it, I found out that it's supposed to be perfect for the greenhouse/polytunnel. It's one of the earliest varieties, very large and flowers late. Bingo! The fact that it's tall and flowers late make it resistant to frost at night, which is perfect.
Two Duke plants came home with me and I'm going to plant them in peat moss, right into the soil under a layer of wood chips in my polytunnel. I'm going to put another variety that's growing in a pot right now in a more secluded part of the tunnel. Don't forget that the blueberries need to be pollinated by another variety (cross-pollination.)
More about berries: Propagating strawberries
I'm so excited! It takes a few years for the plants to grow tall, and I will need to prune them quite a lot the first few years to help them along. I'm looking forward to seeing them grow though!
This article was published the first time in June 2017 on my Swedish blog.14. July 2019