I started digging my holes with my little tractor and it took me 3 hours to go 20 feet (on account of my skill level). At that rate I wouldn’t be finished before November. So, I hired an excavator. After he had finished, my field was a landscape of high mountains merging into deep trenches. Looking at it was intimidating.
If the enormity of what I had bitten off didn’t sink in looking at the war zone that used to be my filed, it did when a full tractor trailer load of peat moss took half an hour to get turned into my driveway. “How are you going to unload it”, the driver asked me”. “What!!…you deliver it, you don’t unload it?” I replied with incredulity. “To be honest, I have never delivered a load like this to just a regular house”, he responded back. It seems that when people order full tractor trailer loads of peat moss they have things like fork lifts and big machinery and staff to unload it. I had none of that but I hired a forklift and oprator.
I knew that I needed to finish up with 1200 2’x2’ holes 18” deep, four feet apart. Each hole needed to be filled with saturated peat moss in which I could then plant a blueberry plant. Figuring out the logistics of how to transform the trenches into the right sized holes was a roundabout process which involved a lot more work than it should have. I continually remind myself that there is a cost to learning. Whether you are in school or out, learning costs time, money and energy. And it certainly did.
Finally, after the months of preparation, it was time to get my plants. My brother Greg generously drove me to the Michigan Nursery with his truck and trailer. While it was super exciting, it was also somewhat nerve racking. My two main concerns were, would all the plants fit and would we get though the border ok? When we arrived at the nursery and saw the size of the boxes I nearly collapsed. It did take some maneuvering and adjusting but, in the end, we managed to make it work with not an inch to spare. Thank goodness, as the inspector may not have been able to get back that day and my permit was only good until 10 that night. We were towing over 8000 pounds and I prayed the bulging trailer tires would hold.
When we reached the border, my heart was racing. I had 14 pages of permits, licences’ and inspections but who knows -anything can happen at the border. I can’t describe to you my relief when, after only a few hours and a few glitches, we were cleared and driving away. It felt surreal. We continued slow and steady all the long way home.
Now I am happily a blueberry grower and no longer just a blueberry planner. The planting progress is slow but steady. If you use your imagination there are a few rows where you can see the tiniest glimmer of what will be a blueberry field. If you would enjoy coming for a few hours, I welcome any and all hands. BUT ALSO – because we have moved directly from winter to summer, I need to pot a few hundred plants so they don’t die before I can get them in the ground. If you or any of your friends have large planting pots that you are finished with, I sure could use them.
Hi Arlene (I’m a friend of your sister Lori) To say I am impressed and inspired about your journey to be a blueberry grower is an underestimation! Just one thing I wanted to mention. As pots always seemed to be in short supply, I have found that plastic grocery bags – the throwaway ones – work in a pinch to temporarily locate plants which are needing a home in a soil environment. And you can easily punch a couple of drainage holes in the bottom. I have never tried it with peat moss, though. Only the very best to you in your first season. Laurel Laurel Lemchuk-Favel FAV COM 613 837-9983
Lori has told me about your wonderful gardens. A couple of years ago I was going to come and see you in the spring. Life got hectic and I couldnt make it but I am still hoping to see them sometime andI would love to meet you.
Thank you so much for the great advice. I will absolutely do that. What a great idea! And thank you for your kind words. Arlene