Chain Link Fence Blues

The short of it is: we need a back yard fence.  There are a few folks around that ignore our requests and use our yard as a cut through: oh the joys of city living.  But, i feel the world has long surpassed it’s chain link fence saturation point.  What to do???

Blueberries!  An edible fence!  As anyone who’s done pick your own blue berries can attest, the high bush varieites can grow really big and very tight. Sure, it’ll take a few years to get there, but it’ll be worth the wait.  The plan is to install a free standing gate (chain link free!), with 2 bushes on either side, planted about 4 feet from each other.  Southern high bush will grow 7 feet tall, with a 5 foot circle!

As for soil prep, the biggest things i’ve read about blueberries is sandy soil, high in organic matter with a low pH.  The sandy category is covered, and it’s nice and free draining back there.  pH is already 6.4, so i’ll need to drop it quite  a bit: seems like mid 4’s is best.  So, it’s back to the takoma transfer station for some leaf mulch (i need to mulch the garlic bed anyway…), and i’ll get some pine needles from the trees down the alley, add some coir (a green alternative to peat moss?), dig it in nice and deep and wallah! 4.5 pH.

Alright, it’ll be harder than that, but you get the idea…another option for lowering pH is coffee grounds.  I’m sure your local coffee house would love to share the bounty by the sack full.  It can be dug into the soil, or used as a top dressing: remember that acidic soil won’t stay that way, so a top dressing will keep weeds down as well as maintain a low pH.


About Ryan

Urban gardening at it's best (sometimes it's worst)! Adventures and learnings from going 100% lawn free in a D.C. row house.
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2 Responses to Chain Link Fence Blues

  1. Kim says:

    Blueberry fence is BRILLIANT! FYI – I just read some stuff about coir yesterday – but about pellets, and surface reading – as I’m prepping for my seedlings (yes, that’s right – we just got our first crocuses today in our balmy 55 heat spell). Do you hear good things? I read complaints (on the internet – unheard of!) about the quality compared to peat and that there were issues with it rotting, rather than decomposing.

    Thanks for the link on the container gardening. You never know wether I’ll blog in the end.

    Also, if you haven’t already, get the Tina Fey book. You will never regret it.

  2. Ryan says:

    you got me: i found a small bale of it for $4 at the forklift, so i figured i give it a try! it’s not quite as acidic as peat, but the price is right. i’m mostly going to use it in the front flower and shrub beds to help break up the clay: coir seems to have tougher fibers than peat.

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