Growing Blueberries

Marion Karl, Interviewed by Mary Alexander, November 16, 2012
Location of Interview: Cornish Hill, Cooperstown, New York

marion-karlMarion Karl was born in 1928 in India where her parents were working as Baptist missionaries. She and her family returned to the United States from India just as World War II started. Mrs. Karl went to Keuka College and Syracuse University, where she studied to become a nurse. She moved to Cooperstown in 1961 with her husband and young children, and she has lived here ever since. Soon after her arrival, she purchased 100 acres of land on Cornish Hill, which she has kept in a natural state at the request of the previous owner. 
MK: I learned gardening when I first lived with my uncle and aunt in the Adirondacks, and I really enjoy gardening so when I had the space to do it myself, I did. And I decided to plant some blueberries. I have about 24 bushes. Some of them produce more than others. The biggest job is in the spring when I have to prune them, and I am pretty fastidious about the way I prune them. Sometimes it takes me at least an hour or more to do one bush. Twenty-four, that’s quite a lot of bushes, quite a lot of time I mean.
My biggest struggle now is to keep not the birds, but the squirrels out of it. I bought a big net, a new net, last year, pretty heavy, heavy duty net. It was hard to get it on, it was so heavy. And I thought, “I will be able to relax and we won’t have any birds and we will just pick berries.”
When I took that netting down there was at least two dozen holes in it that had been chewed by the squirrels, and they had popped themselves in and eaten a lot of the berries. So I have to figure out something else.
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