Organic Blueberry Production on Heavy Soils with Animal and Forest Waste to Increase Vitamin–C and
Methodology for farmers
Land preparation & planting
Till the land and mix 10,000 lbs/acre of pine bark with a rotary tiller. Use a mould-board plow to raise rows of 12 feet apart. Set the plants in rows at 5 feet apart from December to March. 726 plants are required per acre.
Benefits of mulching blueberries with pine needle
Since weeds are the number one enemies of organic agriculture, mulching is an integral part of this farming system. A minimum of 3-4 inches thickness of mulch is recommended and 14,000 lbs/acre of pine needle is required in the first year.
Mulch maintains soil acidity, serves as insulation that keeps soil cool during hot days and keeps roots warm in cold temperatures, retains soil moisture and nutrients, increases soil moisture content in the soil surface, suppresses the growth of weeds, prevents soil crusting and helps roots to breathe freely, influences root development, prevents soil erosion, improves soil structure, minimizes direct impact of rain drops, decreases sedimentation, alleviates non-point source pollution, helps breakdown organic matter into humus, creates a favorable environment for soil microbes and mycorrhizae, benefits crop production, and finally, improves soil physical and chemical properties. If no mulch is applied with nitrogen fertilization, increasing nitrogen level results in decreased mycorrhizal concentration in the roots.