Blueberry planter in Vista CA

Today I brought in materials to fill my blueberry planter. There’s 18 cu.ft. each of ground sphagnum peat, sequoia (fir) bark, a planting mix; plus 6 cu.ft. washed granite sands and pebbles (i.e. D.G.); and 6 lbs. of prilled sulfur.


Yesterday I filled the planter, watered it thoroughly, and then tamped down the soil. Late this afternoon I checked the pH and it’s coming in around 6.5. I then spread prilled sulfur on the surface at the broadcast rate on the bag and afterwards watered it down with hose-attached sprayer. I’ll do the latter daily for about a week and see how the pH is progressing.


Looks good. You’re not worried about lime/calcium carbonate leaching from the concrete and raising the pH?

I would imagine that dissolved carbonate in the water would be as big or bigger as an issue.

Acidfying the water should deal with both.

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@TheGrog got it right. The materials I used are innately about pH 6. Leaching from masonry is minor compared to a municipal water supply stabilized at pH 7. My goal is to get the bed down to about pH 5.25, then fertigate at the same pH.

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Richard, what brand meter do you have? If you trust it, it has to be accurate!

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Sulfur takes months to affect the pH. That’s when it’s mixed with the soil. When applied to the surface even watered every day it’s not going to affect pH in a week. The soil bacteria need time to convert it to acid. Are you thinking differently?

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Richard. Is this the same meter as the one in your picture above?

I like the probes that don’t need batteries. To get good pH reading though you have to keep in very clean. I found I need to scuff probe with 00 steel wool. At least for the one I had, else it would not read pH correctly. I misplaced mine. I don’t have this model, but a different pH only probe. The ones they sell now I don’t like, this looks like the old school probe I had.

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It’s a cheapo … probably only good for six months. I only trust it to about 0.5 accuracy. @Drew51 is right though, you have to keep the contacts clean at all times.

That can be true, but the product I bought is part water-soluble and part “standard” prilled sulfur. In my experience the water-soluble portion should be permeating the mix in about a week and as you said: the rest will take months. In the meantime I’m going to plant those blueberries and then put down a few inches of small fir bark on top. The latter will enable the bacteria to go to work. Also, my fertigation system will be reconnected this summer when the construction work is finished and that will sustain a desirable pH.

Interesting…let us know how that works. I’ve got a garden area that has pH of 6.6. I’ve thought about going with blueberries there. What you’ve used might be what I’d need.

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Excellent blueberry setup. I am really impressed with your setup. I just dug a trench and put the moss and chips in my 3’ X 6’ area. I’m jealous now.

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Now the pH is reading about 6, so I popped the plants in the ground and put down a layer of sequoia bark.



I wish I had your gardening budget. Your plantings always seem to be of “industrial” strength.


Over the decades at different home locations I did all the labor myself. This is the first time I’ve paid someone else!

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I hope @bleedingdirt is paying attention. He is struggling with blueberries in the alkaline Bay Area.

I am. I’m moving in with my adopted dad @Richard :grinning:


Blossoms on Monrovia Sunshine Blue :slight_smile:


Very nice Richard, any updates?

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The Monrovia’s are evergreen here, loaded with immature fruit and still blooming. The O’Neil’s are semi-deciduous and slow-growing this time of year – just starting to bloom. Possible staggered harvest!

As mentioned in another thread, I recently added N-pHuric to my fertigation system. The pH in the blueberry bed had been creeping upward but is now back down to 6.25. I’d like it down another 0.5 so perhaps an increase in dosage will be necessary for the ‘acid loving’ sub-system in the coming months.