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Garden Updates 2014

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Garden Updates 2009

Garden Updates 2008

Garden Updates 2007

 

2010

1/3/10 - Winter Injury to Trees and Shrubs

1/8/10 - Seed Catalogs Are Arriving Daily

1/11/10 - Tomatoes - Determinate or Indeterminate

2/22/10 - Garden Seminar March 6, in La Pine

3/12/10 - Dormant Oil - Spring Application - Spider Mite Prevention

3/17/10 - Diseases on Aspen Trees

4/9/10 - Pansy Extravaganza

4/13/10 - Crops for the Garden are Here

4/16/10 - Aspen Catkins

4/17/10 - More NEW Products

4/28/10 - Vegetable Starts are READY

5/18/10 - Fertilizing Bulbs and Perennials

5/21/10 - What's Blooming?

6/17/10 - Leaf Cutter Bees

6/28/10 - RED - WHITE - BLUE SALE

7/12/10 - Perennial Sale

7/15/10 - Sizzlin' Hot Sale

7/16/10 - Peony Questions

7/25/10 - It is Time to Start Harvesting

8/16/10 - Black Currants - Hardy and Easy to Grow

9/7/10 - Fall Bulb Planting

9/23/10 - Pine Needle Drop - A Natural Occurance

10/9/10 - Autumn Crocus

12/3/10 - 'Tis the Season for Poinsettias

 

1/3/10 - Winter Injury to Trees and Shrubs

When spring arrives on the High Desert the days of minus 24 degree temperatures on December 8th and 9th will long be forgotten. But when late April and May rolls around you will see what those very cold temperatures did to your gardens.

When the temperatures get this low I notice damage on evergreen shrubs, rhododendrons and any newly planted species that had NOT been climatized to our area. A browning or scorched leaf tip on evergreen foliage in early spring is a form of winter injury. Browning usually occurs from the needle tips downward. Winter burn is usually attributed to loss of water through leaf transpiration. Winter sun and winds dry needles. Water in the stems and roots is frozen and unavailable to replenish loss. A rapid drop in temperature after a sunny day can also cause further injury to the plant..

Another form of winter damage is "Frost Cracks". Frost cracks, sometimes called freeze cracks, appear as shallow to deep longitudinal cracks in the trunk of trees. Frost cracks occur on the south or southwest side of trees, following a sudden exposure to direct sun. In winter, the temperatures on the sun-side of the trunk may exceed air temperatures by as much as 20 degrees F. This is thought to trigger de-acclimation of trunk tissue. The bark slowly darkens, turns reddish brown and becomes rough. After a time, the callus tissue eventually cracks and falls away. Sometimes only the outermost cambium layer is damaged and a sunken area appears on the trunk. Affected trees often have sparse foliage, stem dieback and stunted growth.

Root damage to perennials can cause spring plant kill. Root tissues do not acclimate to temperatures much below freezing and can be killed or severely injured by soil temperatures below 15 degrees F. This is especially true for shallow rooted plants. Fortunately, if you mulched as I have always recommended, your damage should be far less than those not mulched. Plants with frozen roots may wilt and decline after growth resumes in the spring.

Salts used for deicing sidewalks and driveways can cause damage to trees and shrubs. Symptoms of salt damage appear in spring and early summer and include browning of evergreens, leaf scorch, branch die back and dead areas in turf.

When spring arrives be on the look out for any of the above mentioned problems that low winter temperatures can cause.

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1/8/10 - Seed Catalogs Are Arriving Daily

It‚s that time of year again - seed catalogs arriving by the handful. If you ordered from one or even requested a catalog from one of them, then your name is on a list. So far I have received 26 brightly colored catalogs and it isn‚t even the middle of January. Most of them contain seeds and plants that will never grow in our area. Yes, I know, many varieties are claimed to grow at 20° below zero and then in the summer will give you an abundant food crop. I‚m sure that with this claim they have never gardened in South Deschutes County where summer day time highs can be 90º and night time lows can be 24º. Welcome to the real world of Cold Climate Gardening. When looking through the catalogs I recommend that you NOT try anything higher than a zone 3 zoning. Yes, I do grow some zone 4 plants that have done very well and have a couple of zone 5 plants, but this has taken years of experimenting with hundreds of plant varieties, so for you first time plant growers, stay with zone 3. When ordering from your catalogs remember to order the hardiest vegetable seeds with the shortest growing season. We don‚t have enough growing time for a long season crop. Beautiful vegetable gardens can be had when you work with a good fertile soil and cool season crops; a frost cover blanket really helps also for those summer nights that get below freezing. As for those fruit trees, do some research before you order. Most fruit trees are not grown on their own root, which means they have been grafted. You might be getting a tree with a hardy root, but what type of top has it been grafted to? The catalogs once again will tell you that they are very hardy. Do I recommend that you purchase fruit trees - no, not unless you have researched the hardiest varieties (look under fruit trees in my book Cold Climate Gardening) and go into the venture with the idea that one year you might get lucky and get apples. As for other plants, trees and shrubs, be very careful on your selections and shipping times. What might be spring in the zone charts of the company you order from, could mean a typical frozen February or March for us with no ground workable to plant your purchases.
Be sure to check out our blog.

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1/11/10 - Tomatoes - Determinate or Indeterminate

In all of those seed catalogs you are receiving you will find the tomato section. Tomatoes are not going to be grown on the High Desert of central Oregon unless you move them in and out every night or have a heated greenhouse. Our extreme weather fluctuations do not make for the ideal climate for avid tomato growers. But if you are determined to grow your own tomatoes please read about the difference in seed types.

Before ordering you need to know the difference between Determinate and Indeterminate tomato seed and make the choice for the type of plant you want.

Determinate tomatoes are varieties that grow to a fixed mature size and ripen all their fruit in a short period, usually about 2 weeks. Once this first flush of fruit has ripened, the plant will begin to diminish in vigor and will set little to no new fruit. These varieties are often referred to as "bush" tomatoes because they do not continue growing in size throughout the growing season.

Indeterminate tomatoes are actually vines that continue growing in length throughout the growing season. Also referred to as "vining" tomatoes, indeterminate tomato varieties will also continue to set and ripen fruit until killed off by frost. The majority of tomato varieties are indeterminate including most heirlooms and most cherry types. Some of my favorite indeterminate tomatoes include: Beefsteak, Big Boy and Brandywine. Early producing varieties like Celebrity and Early Girl are also indeterminate. However since they tend to mature earlier and die back before the end of the season, they are sometimes labeled semi-determinate.

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2/22/10 - Garden Seminar March 6, in La Pine

I will be conducting a Garden Seminar on Saturday, March 6 in La Pine from 1 - 4 at the La Pine Senior Activity Center next to Bi-Mart on Huntington Rd. Coffee, tea and home made cookies will be served. I will be discussing what, when and where to plant in our cold climate. This will be a good seminar to attend before you start planting. I will also go over building and using raised flower beds. I will be charging $5.00 per person for this seminar with the proceeds going to the NEW La Pine Sign. Bring all of your garden questions. I will have all of my books for sale at the seminar. If possible either call or e-mail me if you will be attending. Invite all your friends and neighbors.

The nice weather makes all of us gardeners want to go out and get busy in the garden. It is still too early to do much. I had 8 degrees this morning and there is a prediction of some snow flurries later this week.

I have been receiving calls about bulbs poking through the soil. Yep, they may think with this nice weather that spring is on the way. Do NOT add additional covering over the bulbs with compost or other material. This will create a hot house effect and promote more growth. We will just have to take our chances and hope that they don't also start putting on bud.

With the ground bare you can be raking up those needles from the lawn, sharpen your garden tools, change the oil in your mower and plan your garden.

We will be opening the nursery March 13, depending on weather conditions, I will keep you posted. It will still be too early to do any planting and we won't have much available to plant but since we are working in the nursery we will swing the gates open.
See you at the seminar !!

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3/12/10 - Dormant Oil - Spring Application - Spider Mite Prevention

During dreary winter days I envy a plant's ability to go dormant. I've considered putting a sign on my office door stating, "Dormant - do not disturb until spring". In March the plants may still be dormant, but you gardeners aren't.

This time of year we see the recommendation to spray dormant oil to control insects on everything from fruit trees to lilacs. But is it just any oil sprayed when the plants are dormant? Most commercial dormant oil sprays are refined from petroleum oil. A few are made from cottonseed oil. Unlike home remedies, commercial spray oils have an emulsifier added to allow the oil to mix with water. Many of the newer commercial oils are more highly refined than past dormant oil products. The new formulations are labeled to also be used, usually at a reduced rate, during the growing season. These are generally listed as horticultural, ultrafine or summer oils. Read and follow all label directions for proper timing and rates.

Oils kill exposed insects and mites by either suffocating them (covering up breathing tubes) or by directly penetrating the outside cuticle and destroying internal cells. Spraying trees with dormant oil after bud break and leaves have emerged will still control the pests, but it may kill the young leaves or cause leaf edges to turn black if the correct oil is not used at the proper rate.

Dr. Phil Nixon and Dr. Raymond Cloyd in the U of I Extension Home, Yard and Garden Pest Newsletter outlined the benefits of making an application of dormant oil. Advantages include: (1) a wide range of activity against most species of mites and scales, including some activity on eggs; (2) minimal likelihood of insects' or mites' developing resistance; (3) generally less harmful to beneficial insects and mites than other pesticides (4) relatively safe to birds, humans, and other mammals. Disadvantages of using dormant oil are (1) potential plant damage if incorrect oil is used or used at improper rate during the growing season and (2) minimal residual activity to kill new pest infestations.

Dormant oils are effective in controlling certain scales that over winter as nymphs or adults such as cottony maple, euonymus, lecanium, and obscure scale. However, dormant oils provide minimal control of oystershell and pine needle scale because both these scales over winter as eggs. In addition, eggs are generally stacked on top of each other, and the dormant oil may not contact the bottom layer. As a result, applications of summer oils after egg hatch are generally required. Accurate identification of the scale is important for proper control.

European red mite, and spruce spider mite are controlled with dormant oil sprays, because they over winter as exposed eggs on plants. Dormant oil sprays do not kill two-spotted spider mite, as they over winter on the ground in leaf debris.
Summer oils are best used to control slow soft bodied insects. They do little in controlling pests such as white grubs, cabbage worms and apple maggots.

Dormant oil applications must be made when temperatures stay above freezing for 24 hours. Be sure to follow all label directions because oil sprays may damage certain plants, including Amur maple, Japanese maple, redbud, and sugar maple. In addition, the foliage (needles) of Colorado blue spruce can be discolored (change from blue to green) by dormant oil applications.

 

3/17/10 - Diseases on Aspen Trees

Since aspen trees are a native to central Oregon, most of us have at least one in our landscape. Along with the beautiful white bark and the golden fall color, come several diseases that seem prone to affect the Aspen trees. Some of the disease problems are due to a lack of care by the homeowner. I preach over and over every fall to rake up those fallen leaves. If left on the ground you are more apt to develop Black Spot on your aspen trees.

Black Spot is a fungal disease that causes the Aspen leaf to turn black around the edges and lose leaf mid summer. It most likely will not kill the tree but can be very unsightly in the landscape. Now is a good time to treat your aspen trees, especially if you have had this fungal problem in past. You want to spray your trees with a fungicide just as the bud swells and repeat again as the leaf starts to emerge from the bud.

Another fungal disease is Septoria Leaf Spot. Symptoms are small brown or black mostly circular spots on the leaves. The treatment is the same as for black Spot.

Aspen Galls is another problem on the trees. Not a fungal disease but an insect. The tree will have lumps in the branches. This is caused by a tiny fly like insect that bores into the branch and lays it's eggs. The larvae feeds off of the branch, causing the gall. This gall won't usually kill the tree, but can cause problems, by weakening the branch. I suggest that you cut the gall off of the tree by cutting the branch just behind the gall.
Aspen trees are relatively short-lived, usually 20 to 40 years for individual trees. As they become older they will become more prone to problems such as sooty fungus and rust blight.

 

4/9/10 - Pansy Extravaganza

Our annual Pansy Extravaganza starts Monday, April 12 and runs through Sunday, April 25. For you people that have asked to be on my e-newsletter the sale will start tomorrow, April 10. Our pansies are so hardy that you do not have to worry about the cold weather or snow. I have had my window boxes planted for 2 weeks and my pansies look great.

Rhubarb Festival is June 5 and this year the central Oregon Dutch oven Society is teaming up with the garbage haulers throughout central Oregon in their Can Cancer fight. Proceeds from the cooking event will be donated to help fight cancer in our area.
I have had T-shirts printed with I Love Rhubarb. Purchase your T-shirt in the nursery prior to the festival, wear it at the festival and receive a FREE root beer float. I will donate $1.00 of each t-shirt purchase to the Can Cancer foundation, cost of shirts is $12.

My Rhubarb cook book is now available in Bend at Newport Avenue Market and Round Butte Seed. In Sisters and Redmond at Paulina Springs books and in La Pine at Books, Boxes and BS and of course here in the nursery. This book walks you through everything you ever wanted to know about Rhubarb, plus dozens of Rhubarb recipes. Remember - it is not just for pies, you will LOVE my Salsa recipe. Let your friends know about the festival, and if you know anyone that would like to be a vendor let them know about this coming event. You will see more information on this event soon.

Have you signed up for my seminar class on Hardy Perennials for Central Oregon, Saturday, April 24th at the Deschutes County Fair Grounds in Redmond? Check out my website under coming events to get all of the information. The Master Gardeners are offering numerous informative classes and it is sure to be a FUN day.

 

4/13/10 - Crops for the Garden are Here

Our seed potatoes have just arrived and we have a great selection.
Yukon Gold
Red Norland
Russet Burbank
New this year are the Fingerlings - limited supply.
Russian Banana
French Fingerling
Butterfinger
Red Thumb - this is a new and very hard to find variety.

Onion sets:
White
Yellow
Red

Rhubarb is ready to plant - we have plant divisions.
Crimson
Victoria

Asparagus roots are here.

Full line of seeds for your garden.

 

4/16/10 - Aspen Catkins

The aspen is found in most of the northern hemisphere. The aspen tree is what is known as dioecious, meaning each tree is either female or male.

In most trees, the male and female flowers bloom on the same tree. This is not the case for the aspen. Both male and female aspen trees bloom in March or April or when temperatures remain above 54ºF for a period of about six days.

Many people do not recognize the blooms because they are catkins, the same type of fuzzy blooms as one sees on pussy willows. You won’t usually see the catkins on young aspen trees. Aspen flowers grow in clusters. The male catkins produce pollen, the female catkins do not.

Once the pollen from the male aspen trees pollinate female catkins, they release tiny seeds that are blown away by the wind, carried by small tufts of hair.

 

4/17/10 - More NEW Products

You've seen it on TV and now you can purchase them at L & S Gardens, the Topsy Turvery Tomato Planter. With each Topsy Turvery receive a FREE tomato plant (while supplies last).

Lady Bugs have arrived ! Yes, the Ladies in Red are here. Each package contains approximately 1500 Lady Bugs. These little ladies are great for your greenhouses to help with aphid control.

Making your own Hanging Baskets. We have six packs of the trailing petunias and other annuals for all your planting needs. It is too early to set annuals in the outside gardens (except our hardy PANSIES), but if you have a greenhouse or protected area you can get a head start on the season by planting your containers now..
Don't forget that seed potatoes, onion sets, asparagus roots and rhubarb are all in stock.

FRESH EGGS directly from the farm. Nice brown eggs for $2.75 per dozen.

 

4/28/10 - Vegetable Starts are READY

Our vegetable starts are ready. We have for you:
Broccoli
Brussel Sprouts
Cauliflower
Green Cabbage
Red Cabbage
Lettuce - Buttercrunch
Lettuce - Red sails
Tomatoes - beefmaster, roma, sweet 100 and sun sugar
Peppers - Anaheim
Our strawberry plants are looking great - yum - yum !
We also have onion sets, red, white and yellow and seed potatoes, Red Norland, Russett, Yukon Gold and several varieties of Fingerlings.

We have some beautiful 6 packs of trailing petunias for your hanging baskets. Get them planted now to enjoy them on your patio this summer.

On another note: Lavender Cottage in La Pine - next to La Pine Feed and Pet Supply is hosting a Mother's Day Tea on Friday May 7 and Saturday May 8. For more information call Christina at 541-815-0258

 

5/18/10 - Fertilizing Bulbs and Perennials

Beautiful weather and plants are growing ! Now is the time to be feeding all of your bulbs and perennials.

Your bulbs will be bigger and better next year with a feeding of a granular fertilizer now. Use a fertilizer high in the second number. Such as a 10-20-20 or a 10-55-10. It is that second number that promotes blooms and root growth. The green part of the flowering tulips, daffodils, crocus, etc. takes up the fertilizer and then as the stalks start to die back all of those nutrients go into the bulb below the surface to be stored as next years starting food. No fertilizer makes for a smaller plant and less blooms next year.

Use the same fertilizer around all of your perennial flowers. It does NOT matter if the package says Rose food or Bulb food, it is the numbers that count. Feed all of your plants and you will be amazed at how beautiful they bloom. Feed your perennials again July.
Not sure what you need - come see me and I will help you.

Have you fertilized your lawn? I like to start my lawn out with a fertilizer high in the first number such as a 21-7-14. Now is the time with this bit of rain and sunshine we are getting.

We have a huge selection of garden vegetables, perennials and annuals.

Have you ever wondered why you do the what you do. Why do you love gardening? Maybe it is the genes. Take a look on my website in the section About Linda and you will see that although I do not have any college credentials in the field of gardening, planting is in the veins and I just can't help wanting to play in the dirt.

 

5/21/10 - What's Blooming?

Have you been out and about and noticed the many colors of plants that are blooming? I'm not talking about the daffodils and tulips, but the many early blooming perennials that are all around town. Now is the perfect time to be taking notes and planting some of these hardy early bloomers in your landscape now, so that you can enjoy their color next spring.

If you get a chance head out to the Costco area, where you will find a good assortment of color. The yellow bloomers are a perennial Alyssum called Gold Ball or you might find it by several other common names.

Over by the Shoe Inn I found some beautiful white blooming Iberis. This variety is called snowflake.

Have you been wondering what that low growing hot pink, lavender or white plant is? That is called Creeping Phlox. You can also find it in a pale pink and a candy stripe.
Pay attention to some of the shrubs that are putting on leaves. The Barberry called Rosy Glow has deep magenta leaves and keeps it's color all season.

Rock Daphne and Carol Mackie Daphne are both blooming right now. The Rock Daphne is a deep pink color and very fragrant. Carol Mackie Daphne has a variegated leaf and a pale pink flower, and is also very fragrant.

Add a few of the blooming hardy crabapple trees to the landscape and WOW! Some of the hardiest varieties of crabapple's are the white blooming Dolgo and the Royalty that has a deep pink bloom and a maroon leaf.

While you are out and about, keep your eyes open for a plant that will work in your landscape.

If you plan your garden right, you can have color from early spring to late fall.

Have you ever wondered why you do what you do? Such as a love of painting, gardening or music? Have you researched your past and found ancestors that shared your passion?
If you are interested in my history of gardening and why I love what I do, go to " About Linda".

Kathy DeBone at Little d Technology just finished this page for me. I get people in the nursery asking how I got started in the garden - now you will know 'why I do what I do".

 

6/17/10 - Leaf Cutter Bees

You will start seeing this circular cut out on many of your leaves in the coming weeks. It is the time of year when the Leaf Cutter Bees start making their nests. I personally admire the little bees in that they can make such a perfect cut in the leaf and are one of our best pollinator's.

Leaf Cutter Bees: Quick Facts...

Leaf cutter bees are native bees, important as pollinator's.
Leaf cutter bees are not aggressive and have a mild sting that is used only when they are handled.
Leaf cutter bees cut the leaves of plants. The cut leaf fragments are used to form nest cells.
Leaf cutter bees nest in soft, rotted wood or in the stems of large, pithy plants, such as roses.
Leaf cutter bees are important native insects of the western United States. They use cut leaf fragments to construct their nest cells. They often are essential pollinator's of wild plants. Some leaf cutter bees are even semi domesticated to help produce alfalfa seed. However, their habit of leaf cutting, as well as their nesting in soft wood or plant stems, often attracts attention and concern.

Life History and Habits

Most common leaf cutter bees (Megachile spp.) are approximately the size of the common honeybee, although they are somewhat darker with light bands on the abdomen. They also have different habits. Leaf cutter bees are not aggressive and sting only when handled. Their sting is very mild, much less painful than that of honeybees or yellow jacket wasps.

Leaf cutter bees are solitary bees, meaning that they don't produce colonies as do social insects (honeybees, yellow jackets, ants, etc.). Instead, individual female leaf cutter bees do all the work of rearing. This includes digging out nesting areas, creating nest cells and providing their young with food. Adult females may live up to two months and lay some 35 to 40 eggs during this time.

Leaf cutter bees nest in soft, rotted wood; thick-stemmed, pithy plants (e.g., rose); and in similar materials that the bees can easily cut through and excavate. Nest tunnels may extend several inches deep and coarse sawdust may be deposited at the entrance. This sometimes causes confusion with other wood nesting insects such as carpenter ants. However, leaf cutter bees restrict their tunneling to soft, rotted wood and do not cause damage to homes or other wooden structures.

There also are concerns about leaf cutter bee nesting in rose canes, excavating the pith of pruned canes. Leaf cutter bees sometimes nest in the largest diameter rose canes but cause little damage because they restrict tunneling to the pith and rarely girdle cambium. Furthermore, other insects, including various hunting wasps (Pemphredon species) and small carpenter bees more commonly tunnel and nest in rose canes.

After the nest is made, the bees collect fragments of leaves to construct individual nest cells. The bees cut leaves in a distinctive manner, making a smooth semicircular cut about 3/4 inch in diameter from the edge of leaves. Although they cut many types of leaves, leaf cutter bees prefer certain types, notably rose, green ash, lilac and Virginia creeper. This injury often is only a minor curiosity. However, where leaf cutter bees are abundant and concentrate on cultivated plantings, the removal of leaf tissues can be damaging. Serious damage most often occurs in isolated rural plantings.

Leaf cutter bees do not eat the cut pieces of leaves that they remove. Instead, they carry them back to the nest and use them to fashion nest cells within the previously constructed tunnels. Then they provision each leaf-lined cell with a mixture of nectar and pollen. The female lays an egg and seals the cell, producing a finished nest cell that somewhat resembles a cigar butt. A series of closely packed cells are produced in sequence. A finished nest tunnel may contain a dozen or more cells forming a tube 4 to 8 inches long. The young bees develop and remain within the cells, emerging the next season.

There are a great many parasites that act as important natural enemies of leaf cutter bees. As a result, leaf cutting activity may vary widely from year to year. Parasitic bees and wasps, velvet ants and certain blister beetles are among the most important enemies of leaf cutter bees and other solitary bees.

At least one species of leaf cutter bee is cultivated for agricultural use in Colorado. Megachile rotundata is used to pollinate alfalfa grown for seed, a function that it does far more efficiently than honeybees. These leaf cutter bees are provided with pre drilled "bee boards" that they use for nest construction. At the end of the season, the nest cells with developing bees are collected and carefully stored, to be released the subsequent season when alfalfa blooms.

Control

Insecticides are ineffective for preventing leaf cutting. The only known control of leaf injuries is to cover susceptible plants with cheesecloth or other loose netting during periods when leaf cutter bees are most active.

 

6/28/10 - RED - WHITE - BLUE SALE

Happy 4th of July ! The weather is beautiful and we are full of wonderful annuals, perennials, shrubs and trees to make your gardens POP with color.

To celebrate the 4th of July we are having a Red-White and Blue Sale. All of our RED currants, WHITE Snowberry and BLUEberries are all on sale at 20% off marked prices. These are all hardy varieties for our area.

We will be open Saturday from 9 to 2 and closed on Sunday the 4th.
I will be competing at the Frontier Days Dutch Oven competition on July 3rd along with many other contestants. Come on down to the Community Park complex and see what Prairie cooking in the black pots is all about. Judging starts at 2 pm and then the tasting begins.

 

7/12/10 - Perennial Sale

It's that time of year when we put all of our HARDY perennials on sale at 20% off marked prices. It is a beautiful time to start a perennial garden or to add to your existing garden.
Come in and we will help you pick the plants right for your garden. We have plants for both sun and shade.


Mark your calendar for our Western Days event Saturday, August 7th. We are adding a new twist to this event. Our Dutch oven cooks will be competing for prizes, but the twist is that they will not know what the meat or fruit will be until the cooks meeting that morning. This should be lots of fun. Food samples will be for sale starting with the main dish after the first judging at 2 pm. and then will be followed by the other foods as the foods come up to be judged. We will have hay rides at the Stage Depot using a 1953 John Deere tractor and Barge Wagon, western music throughout the day and our vendors will be selling everything from arts, crafts, antiques, seasonings and you will also find stuff for the hunters in the family. Root Beer Floats will be available to quench your thirst at the Red Gulch Saloon.

 

7/15/10 - Sizzlin' Hot Sale

Sure is warm out, but I'm not complaining after all of the cool weather we had. I think this Sizzlin Hot weather calls for a SALE ! So I said to myself "self, what should we put on sale'? "I'm thinking a tree sale would be just perfect", self said. So, all trees will go on sale at 25% off marked prices this Saturday and Sunday, July 17 and 18.

How are your tomato plants doing? Laura (the young lady that helps you in the nursery) decided to try her hand at seeding a new batch of Beef Steak tomatoes and WOW, we have tomato plants everywhere. These great looking plants are in 4 inch containers and we are selling them at $1.00 each. With this weather they should put on some really fast growth.

How is that lawn looking? If you haven't fertilized since spring then you should consider a summer application. With this heat you will want to fertilize early morning or late evening and then really hit it with WATER !

I want to take a minute and do a bit of bragging. My Peonies were just beautiful this year. My white one is still blooming and the pink and red are almost done.. I'm attaching a picture of each to show you what a bit of loving care can do in your garden. Just click on the attachment below.

Our Perennial Sale continues through July 25 and we have a fabulous selection.

 

7/16/10 - Peony Questions

WOW - lots of interest in peonies and I'm so glad you enjoyed the pictures. I don't usually send out pictures but I guess I should more often. Contrary to popular belief - you do NOT need ants on your peony plant to make them bloom ( that is an old myth). Ants are attracted to the sweet resin exuded on the flower buds, but it's a long-standing, popular, even benevolent myth that they "tickle the buds" or "lick the sugar" to help the buds open. They would open regardless of the ants' presence.

Newly planted peonies often have a single flower bud (or two or three) which sometimes fails to open because the stress of being divided for commercial production results in a rootstock much reduced from its natural state, with feeder roots and root tips far fewer (or non existent) than when the plant grew in the ground. Often, the natural ends of the roots are trimmed even further for commercial packing or potting if they haven't already been chopped off by the mechanical harvesters in the field. The plant is essentially in make vegetative growth now, make roots later mode, and is coasting on stored food, which often is not enough to push open a rudimentary flower bud. During that first season, along with the ability to make vegetative growth (though at first out of proportion to the root mass), comes the push to rebuild the plant’s root system - from the smallest root hair on up. As the root system builds, the plant is more able to take up moisture as well as macro and micro nutrients essential to flower-building. Each year's performance is dramatically better than the last, and herbaceous peonies are known to remain in the same position, undisturbed, for over a century.

It is important to note however, that established peonies can be heavy feeders.

When in the same garden position, undivided, for so long, stems become crowded and weak and buds can blast or fail to open once again due to the plants' depletion of nutrients from the surrounding soil. They are especially needy of potassium (K), which is essential for stem strength and disease resistance (Botrytis on the buds and Septoria on the stems and leaves can be devastating in an overgrown planting), and nitrogen (N), which enhances flower size and quality (phosphorous (P) contributes to flower bud initiation as well.

In fall, after cleaning the old stems, or likewise in very early spring, top-dress (important for the centers) and side-dress established clumps with a well-balanced slow-release plant food for best year-to-year performance, and scratch gently into the soil.

 

7/25/10 - It is Time to Start Harvesting

How are your Zucchini plants doing? O.K. so maybe you didn't plant any, but don't despair, you can purchase Zucchini from several sources including farmers markets, Costco and Cash & Carry. I bought mine at Cash and Carry for $15.80 a flat. I love Zucchini Bread and Butter Pickles. So easy to make and a bit different from using cucumbers. I'm attaching a picture of the Zucchini pickles that Laura and I did this past week (open attachment). Out of 1 flat of Zucchini we canned 37 pint jars.

Canning can be expensive living on this side of the mountains since we can't grow some of the produce ourselves without a greenhouse (weather conditions are our enemy), but this year I'm making all of my Christmas gifts and I want them to be special. So far I have done Mango and Lime Jam, Blackberry Jam, Pickled Beets (from Laura's garden), Rhubarb Strawberry Jam and two varieties of chutney.

I am looking for canning jars if any of you have some you want to give away. Anyone interested in learning how to make jam or to learn the basics of canning, e-mail me and I will put a class together.

Bread and Butter Zucchini Pickles

1/2 cup pickling salt
4 cups water
6 cups zucchini, sliced 1/4 inch thick
3 medium sized onions, sliced 1/4 inch thick
2 cups vinegar
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon mustard seed
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Dissolve the salt in 4 cups of water. Slice the zucchini and onions one-quarter inch thick/ Cover with the cold salt solution and chill for three hours (I put a tray of ice cubes into the water). pour vinegar and 1 cup water into a large stainless steel sauce pan. Add the sugar and spices. Bring to a boiling point and stir until the sugar dissolves.

Drain and rinse the zucchini and onion slices in cold water to remove the salt. Add zucchini to the vinegar solution and simmer for five minutes. Pack into hot pint jars, leaving a half inch space from the top of the jars. Adjust the lids and process in a water bath for ten minutes.

Let the jars rest for three weeks and ENJOY!

 

8/16/10 - Black Currants - Hardy and Easy to Grow

Looking for plants that produce berries that you can eat and enjoy in Jams and Jellies? One of the plants that is often overlooked in our Cold Climate Gardens is the Black Currant. The hardiest variety in this Ribes family is the Crandall Black Currant. Currants are very hardy and easy to grow. They aren't nearly as thirsty as blueberries, birds don't bother them and they do well in partial shade.

Black currants are a nutrient rich food and powerful medicine. They have at least three times as much vitamin C, potassium and magnesium as blueberries, four to six times as much calcium and much more zinc, iron, folic acid, vitamin A and flavenoids. Black currants have been shown to relieve vision problems and inflammation, stimulate the immune system and fight fungal and viral infections. Even black currant seeds can be valuable in the diet, because of their high levels of essential fatty acids, minerals, and fiber, they have been crushed and incorporated into packaged breakfast cereal.

In preserving, black currants can be used in the same way as red currants. I have found them to be especially good made into a syrup. If you are looking to start your own berry patch, start with the Crandall Black Currant. We have them in 3 gallon containers for $18.99 each. You will amend our native soil with a good garden compost, plant and enjoy !! Now is an excellent time to plant.

I will be offering a hands on gardening class "Preparing Your Gardens for Winter" on Saturday, September 18th from 1 to 3 p.m. Pre-registration is required at a cost of $10.00 per person.

 

9/7/10 - Fall Bulb Planting

It is that time of year when we start seeing Fall Bulbs showing up in the stores. Be aware that a Good Price is not always a Good Deal. You want to look for good firm bulbs, the bigger the better. You do not want the small bulbs or bulbs that feel soft. You will get a small flower from poor quality bulbs. Spend the money and get the best.

Some good choices for our cold climate are Daffodils, Tulips, Crocus, Lily of the Valley and Grape Hyacinths. When looking at the bulb package, look for bulbs that say late spring. If you haven't noticed many of the bulb packages will say spring, mid spring or late spring. Since our spring is usually cold, the later spring bulbs usually do better and will bloom
around mid May.

Wait until about the third week in October to plant. Be sure to add some good compost to the area you are going to plant. Work the compost into the soil. Rule of thumb for bulb planting is to plant the bulbs 3 times deep the size of the bulb. For instance if the bulb is one inch in diameter then you would plant the bulb three inches deep. Work some granular bone meal or bulb food in around bulbs as you plant. Don't line your bulbs up in rows like tin soldiers. Do some groupings to make a focal point, two bulbs in one hole, maybe three in another hole.

Remember that not all of the bulbs that are offered for sale at the stores will do well in our area.

 

9/23/10 - Pine Needle Drop - A Natural Occurance

Contrary to popular belief, evergreen foliage does not remain attached indefinitely. Older, inner needles discolor and dropoff after one to several years depending on the species involved.

Now that cooler weather has hit, we are seeing a lot of our pine trees with brown needles.

In late summer and throughout the fall, many homeowners observe a discoloration of the needles on their evergreens and fear that some insect or disease has affected the plants. Do not be alarmed; this is a natural condition.

Evergreen shrubs and trees remain green throughout the year because they do not lose all of their foliage at one time. Usually needle drop goes unnoticed because new needles conceal the old, inside needles and foliage that has turned yellow and brown. Sometimes the drop occurs slowly, but on other occasions, many needles discolor and drop simultaneously. Most evergreens drop their needles in the fall, but some evergreens shed their needles in the spring or early summer. Each species of evergreen is different. Evergreens that normally shed one-year needles are arborvitae and white pine.

White pines are the most dramatically affected. This species commonly bears three years' needles in the summer and two in the winter. In October or November of some years, this species may have only one year of needles still attached. Matured white pine needles turn yellow throughout the tree. The tree will appear unhealthy when the yellowed needles outnumber green ones of the current season.

Australian and Scotch pine usually retain their needles for three years. Spruce and fir trees retain their needles for several years. Needle drop may not be visible unless one looks for it on the inner branches. Few needles turn yellow and drop in late spring or early summer of their third year.

"Thanks so much for the information. I did not realize that the brown needles were due to needle drop but it makes sense. I was especially concerned last fall after our dry summer in western Washington. This year, we have had a wet summer and I was confused. Thanks for clearing this up for me. I enjoy reading your emails."

Sue McKay
Port Townsend, WA

 

10/9/10 - Autumn Crocus

If you don't have this crocus in your garden, then really think about planting some. The bulbs are hard to find and yes, they are expensive, but I think worth the expenditure. You may have to go on line and order.

Autumn Crocus - Colchicum Autumnale flowers in late September or early October. This crocus contains unstable alkaloid poisons. If enough flowers, seeds, corms or leaves are eaten, death may result. All animals are susceptible to colchicine, the primary toxins.
You will also find that Tulips and Daffodils can also cause problems if eaten.

The name "naked lady'"comes from the fact that the flowers emerge from the ground long after the leaves die back. In spring, a clump of broad, deer-proof leaves emerge, stay green for over a month and then die back.

I plant the bulbs in front of shrubs and among perennials. With proper fertilizing and well drained soil that doesn't dry out in the summer, these bulbs will multiply double by next season.

Crocus Sativus - Saffron Crocus is the source of saffron. The quintessential seasoning for paella and other dishes from the Mediterranean and Asia. Each flower produces three showy red stigmas, which have been used for flavoring and coloring food since Roman times.

I only have the Giant Colchicum in pink in my garden, but I have the lavender ones ordered and hopefully will add them to my flower beds in a week or so. The picture that I have attached is of bulbs that I planted three years ago.

 

 

 

 

12/3/10 - 'Tis the Season for Poinsettias

Poinsettias are now showing up in all of our favorite stores. What a variety of color figurations I'm seeing. These are not your usual red plants. Yes, the red ones are out there, but let's get adventurous and try some of the other offerings.

Contrary to popular belief, poinsettias are NOT poisonous. This is a myth that began many, many years ago and is still believed by many people to be true. As with any plant, if you eat enough of it it probably will make you sick, just because it is not poisonous does not mean you should eat it. The myth probably began because the poinsettia is a member of the genus Euphorbia, which does include a number of other toxic plants.

Poinsettias make the home festive and fun.

A word of caution: If the weather is below forty degrees when you purchase your plant do NOT take it out of the store without some protection. Have the store slip a paper bag over the plant. You may not think your plant has been damaged, but several days after you get it home you will notice the plants leaves curling and looking sad. These plants do NOT like the cold temperatures. Also, keep your plant away from a drafty window.

 

 

 

Garden Updates 2009

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Garden Updates 2007

 

 

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