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The hunt for blueberries

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We love blueberries.

One of my favorite things to do in our old garden was head out and harvest the ripe fruit. But here in our new home, we have nothing yet by way of food plants (except the garlic I planted in January), so we’re starting over at the beginning in terms of making our place food self-sufficient. That includes planting blueberries.

Since blueberries take a long time to mature – but they produce fruit for decades – they are one of the first things we wanted to get in the ground.

Now keep this in mind for a moment and turn your attention to a post put up on Daisy Luther’s website some time ago entitled “The ‘Camping Trip’ Is Ending and the REAL SHTF Is About to Start.”

The piece was interesting enough, but in reading the resulting comments, one in particular caught my eye from someone named James:

“Suppliers are in serious trouble. It isn’t making the news. I got off the phone with a supplier three days ago and I almost puked. If you are holding off buying any prepper items…DON’T. Order now and express ship. The time of selection is ending. The doors are closing. You are in serious danger. Get off the computer (unless you are ordering) and do something in the real world. Train, inventory, exercise, plan, pray.”

Oookay. I don’t know what James (or his supplier) knows, but this sounded dire. Understand, we’re in a vulnerable position right now. We have our house, yes; but we have no garden, no chickens, no cattle, nothing along those lines. We’re pretty much in the same boat as everyone else, frantically trying to lurch toward a self-sufficient lifestyle as swiftly as possible.

So while I’m not willing to take this anonymous poster’s words as gospel, it does contribute to the sense of urgency we feel about getting our new homestead up and operational.

Therefore…blueberries. I began the search in late March. One local nursery said they weren’t sure about availability since their suppliers were being cagey. Another (more distant) nursery said they were taking a trip to Oregon to pick up something like 500 blueberry plants, which should be available in their store by early May. When I asked if I could reserve 30 plants, the clerk said no – there is a limit of six plants, no exception.

So I turned to online sources. Unsurprisingly, lots and lots of places were sold out:

Other places had plants available, but for exorbitant prices.

Finally I clicked on the website for Burnt Ridge Nursery in Washington State. I had ordered from them before and was pleased by their service, and they seemed to have blueberries in stock. Rather than ordering online, however, I called and talked to a very helpful fellow. He had in stock one of the varieties I was looking for, but not the other. We went through some possible substitutions, but nothing was available there either.

So I went ahead and ordered 15 Chandlers from Burnt Ridge (which they said should be delivered in early May), and continued searching for another variety (for cross-pollination purposes) for a price we could afford.

I found seven plants (Toro and Patriot) at a transient nursery in a nearby city.

And when the local nursery (where I was limited to six plants) got their stock in, Don and I headed over and picked them up, three each of Toro and Patriot.

As of mid-April, this was my blueberry collection of 15 plants – about half Toro and half Patriots.

This past Monday (May 10), I received my order of Chandler blueberries from Burnt Ridge Nursery.

The last time we’d ordered blueberries from them (back in 2015), they were shipped bare root. So imagine our pleasant surprise to open the boxes and find them all potted!

The packing was meticulous. The pots were braced by bamboo poles so nothing would shift in transit. The plants were blooming, and they arrived in amazing condition.

Each pot was individually wrapped, and under the wrapping there was a blot of wet newspaper. Nice.

Here are some of the blossoms.

I was deeply impressed with the service from Burnt Ridge Nursery. Definitely a place to look for future orders.

So here’s my blueberry collection of 30 plants: 15 Chandlers, 8 Toro, and 7 Patriot.

Our next step is to get them in the ground, and we’re working on the deer-proof infrastructure to make sure our baby plants don’t get chomped down within 24 hours. Stand by for a future blog post on that subject.

Meanwhile, if you’re holding back on increasing your preps, re-read James’ words above and ponder whether or not he might be  right.


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