Blueberry gamble pays off


Powell Smith: He came to me about four years ago with an idea about growing blueberries. And he wanted to grow high bush blueberries, which have very exacting soil requirements, and most of the soils in our area are not suitable for high bush without extensive amendment. Monty had this idea of growing the blueberry plants in pure pine bark in large forty-gallon nursery pots. And his system has worked surprising well. After visiting him recently and finding that he was picking blueberries and packing blueberries, he said he has got a remarkably good crop this year in spite of the challenges. So, he has been quite successful with a crop in an innovative fashion and it is a crop that we probably need to grow more of in South Carolina. The greater demand for blueberries now on the market with the health benefits that we have found out about blueberries, I hope that it is going to provide opportunity for more South Carolina growers to get into a lucrative new crop.

Monty Rast: My blueberry crop is a new project. Powell Smith with Clemson University has helped me develop the pot system. And we planted in one hundred percent pine bark, which is a new technique that we have employed. Learning how to grow a crop that nobody else around grows is always innovative and a lot of fun but very challenging, so Clemson has been there for every step of the way.