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Looking for herbs to fill out a blueberry bed. The soil is somewhat sandy and acidic, lots of coffee grounds mixed in, and its topped with white pine chips and needles. What herbs would be happy here?

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2 Answers 2

UPDATE

@GardenerJ points out that the list below is far too liberal - blueberries like very acid soil (4.5-5.5), whereas the list includes plants that will tolerate, at best, a little below 7. Of course, what matters is how acid your soil is - not what blueberries like. A list of herb pH preferences can be found at the Gardener's Network - check your soil pH and match against. Rosemary seems like a good bet, and is mentioned elsewhere, but it may be difficult to balance water requirements - blueberries like more water than rosemary. Other possibilities are basil, sage, and thyme.

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According to Richters, a Canadian herb specialty catalog, the following should do well in acid soils:

Aconite, alfalfa, alkanet, annatto, angelica, avens, lemon balm, basils, bay laurel, sugar beet, belladonna, bilberry, bloodroot, boldo, borage, broom, burdock, butterfly bee, calendula, castor bean, celery, chicory, garlic chives, sweet cicely, citronella grass, clivers, red clover, codonopsis, black cohosh, coltsfoot, cumin, dandelion, elecampagne, purple foxglove, garlic, ginseng, guava, henbane, henna, hops, horehound, indigo, lambs quarters, lemon grass, luffa,common marjoram, apple mint, English mint, menthol mint, pineapple mint, spearmint,(most of the rest of the mints prefer it a bit less acid), white mustard, stinging nettle, Welsh onion, compact oregano, gold crisp and golden oregano, showy oregano, papaya, paprika, passion fruit, patchouli, Chili peppers(of the genus Capsicum annuum), pokeroot, Queen Annes lace, rauwolfia, rosemary, Chinese senna, sesame, shallots, stevia, strawberries, sunflower, tamarind, tea, all varieties of English and French thyme(Thymus vulgaris),wild thyme, toothache plant, tormentil, Bearberry(Uva ursi), vetiver, wintergreen, sweet woodruff.

That should be enough to get you started ;-)

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Awesome! That's a start, but do you know which of those do well with pine. Pine does more than just make the soil acidic ;). Whatever it does, the blueberries seem to love it, but I know a lot of things hate it. –  Daniel Bingham Jun 3 '12 at 19:14
    
I'm not sure what you're referring to. I can't find any reports of allelopathy from white pine. The only thing I can think of is the reduction in nitrogen due to uptake from decomposition. This happens with most mulches - not just pine. I wouldn't expect it to be a problem for most herbs, which are often very happy with relatively infertile conditions. Sorry I don't have hands-on experience to help with. FWIW, we've mulched our herb garden on occasion with pine bark mulch, with no ill effect. –  Ed Staub Jun 4 '12 at 21:20
    
I'm moderately suspicious of the accuracy of that list. Just going off a few plants I know the ph requirements of; alfalfa hates a ph anything less than 7 and red clover is only moderately better (suffers under 6.5). Neither is going to do well next to a blueberry whose target ph is around 5. –  GardenerJ 2 days ago

My blueberry bed (heavily mulched with white pine needles, acidified with sulfur and with a white pine growing towards one end of it) has a Hops bine (Since I am having to re-edit this, it's a Bine with a B, not a Vine with a V - the method it uses to climb things is different than that of vines) growing at the back of it, which seems delighted to be there - I throw strings over a pine branch to give it somewhere to grow, and have to nip off the ones that want to grow up the blueberry bushes. I have heather and lingonberry in there as well, alpine strawberries (they grow but may not be entirely happy based on fruit production levels) and fringed bleeding heart. Daffodils, small iris, and crocus all do well, but the crocus do get gobbled by chipmunks sometimes - the daffodils are as usual least bothered by anything so they become the dominant bulb.

A black raspberry is a weed there in my setup, but that's a space contention issue - they are encouraged elsewhere and do seem to enjoy the deep pine needle areas if they can get enough sun.

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