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[nafex] Blue Understory
>As a new tangent- has anyone had any luck finding compatible and
>useful/edible understory/groundcover plants for blueberries? Besides
>quackgrass, I mean. ;) Plants that help keep weeds out, like the same
>conditions as the blues', and add a yield to the mix?
So far we have cranberry & lingonberry. I'll add my own successes to the
list: Gaultheria miqueliana and Houttynia cordata. I see a pattern
developing: creepy little Ericaceous plants in general like to be with
blueberries. But Houttynia is an exception- herbaceous perennial,
Saururaceae, edible/medicinal. Any others out there?
OK! Now I've got Dan's reply:
>Apios americana is a spontaneous associate of blueberries in New
>England (USA) where I come from originally. If you don't mind a few
>prickles, smilax is another viney associate with a good food potential.
>Apios uses blueberry for a scaffold.
> As I said in an earlier post, pigs are a
>pretty good companion crop. Down where I live now, Florida betony does fine
>between blueberry plants, as does the maypop, Passiflora incarnata, with
>edible leaves as well as fruit, I am told.
>There is no reason not to run poultry among the bushes, too, as another
>animal crop, of course moving them to a different pasture before the fruit
> Early potatoes in mulch come to mind.
I have used maypop leaves in a relaxing tea blend- quite pleasant, although
flavor is very mild.
I don't know Florida betony; anything more to say about it?
This is an impressive list, but two big buts come to mind for me;
Blues are brittle- vines? Don't the branches breakunder load or when you're
pulling them off? And they don't like root disturbance (in my experience) so
crops that need digging or animals that dig? Or is this because I'm
accustomed to heavy clay soils and the blues' roots here are mainly in the
upper humus and mulch? Our rainless summers also mean that you need to do
alot to keep them alive; I've had them die of drought in the ground, never
mind when dug up and left. I can't imagine having a hog in my carefully
mulched blues! And whenever the chickens have gotten on them, the mulch gets
distributed everywhere but around the berries, = work to do.
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