Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Blueberry tubs

Back in February I mentioned my two blueberry bushes. One was a very thoughful gift from a good friend and the second one I bought as a companion for the first. Although both are termed self-fertile, the received wisdom is that 2 bushes will give you a larger crop than a single one.
Having decided to keep them containerised in order to better manage their acidic soil requirements - I needed to find them appropriate containers. In the meantime, they were repotted into flower buckets from our local supermarket (the yellow one with the big M; other supermarkets are of course available...)
As I'm a fan of all things vintage when it comes to garden tools, household items and books, I pondered on the idea of suitable containers for a while before deciding to track down some dolly tubs. For those of you too young to have heard of these, dolly tubs were the washing machines of the Victorian era. Galvanised steel or zinc tubs would be filled with water on washday and a wooden dolly peg was used to agitate the clothes in the water until clean (or at least cleaner than they started out). Often at the end of the day when all the clothes were washed, the children of the family would be popped into the tub one by one for their weekly bath!

Anyway, having acquired two of these lovely items from the fabulous shopping emporium that is eBay, I asked my very handy handyman to drill some drainage holes in the bottom before I added plenty of crocks and what seemed like a trailer full of ericaceous compost. I'm really pleased with how they look and it gives the plants plenty of root growing space.

We had a pretty good harvest from these two bushes during July, August and September - plenty of blueberry muffins were baked but sadly there weren't enough for making blueberry jam as well. Now the cooler weather has arrived the leaves have begun to change colour, displaying wonderful rich autumn hues.


  1. I love those containers, what a wonderful idea, I must keep my eye on Ebay. My blueberries let me down this year, I got about a dozen berries of two bushes. I'm hoping for better things next year.

  2. Those tubs are a fantastic idea - I also love a bit of vintage but wouldn't have thought about looking on Ebay - now I know! Your blueberries certainly seem happy in them. Would be interested to know if your bushes are in shade or full sun? Mine are on a friend's allotment in full sun and have been slowly dying off (but that could be the lack of regular watering!).

  3. Hope that your blueberries thrive in their new accommodation. Their autumn foliage looks most attractive. I can remember hand wringers being part of washing machines when I was a child - well before the arrival of spin cycles :)

  4. Blueberries? Wow! It's so expensve here in where i live! How nice you can pluck from backyard!

  5. Jo - what can I say, I'm a sucker for an eBay bargain. Hopefully your blueberries will produce more fruit next year.

    Caro - They get full sun from mid-morning to around 4pm and plenty of coffee grounds mulching to boost the acidity of the compost.

    Anna - I remember my granny using her twin tub on a Monday - and it really did take all day. Seemed the height of modernity as well!

    Malar - they're not cheap to buy over here so it's been great to produce my own supply, if only for a short time.