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"Linda, you continue to amaze me and bless me with your very helpful and educational information you impart to your fellow gardeners. Thank you, thank you!"

--Judy Mackey, Sisters, Oregon




Click here to see the archives of gardening tips that dates back to 2007. See years of helpful gardening advice for our cold climate gardeners.


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Bend, Oregon


2014 Gardening Tips

3/2/14 - Prepare your Garden for Success

3/3/14 - Don't Rush the Season

3/9/14 - Do I See Green Grass?

3/10/14 - Tulips and Daffodils Popping Up

3/19/14 - Climatized Plants

3/20/14 - Organic Compost

3/27/14 - Don't be Fooled by Advertising Hype!

3/28/14 - Black Leaf Spot on Aspens

4/8/14 - Why Buy Seed Potatoes?

4/9/14 - Onions Require Lots of Nitrogen

4/26/14 - Hops are NOT Just for Beer

4/27/14 - Daffodils and Tulips - it Must be Spring

7/23/14 - Leaf Cutter Bees in the Garden

7/24/14 - Pine Rust Gall

7/25/14 - Time to Plant Perennials


Prepare your Garden for Success

Gardens Need a Foundation
When you build a house, you start with a good foundation. Same goes for gardening in central Oregon. We do not have the best soil, so we have to amend it (add to what we have). I recommend a GOOD garden compost. We carry garden compost in the bag or in bulk. I suggest you mix our native soil half and half with compost. This is your foundation for all plantings. When you get ready to plant "Let's Talk". Some plants like more of an acidic soil such as evergreens. This step is #1 to your Gardening Road to Success.


Don't Rush the Season

Buyer Beware
I was out and about this past week taking a look at what the box stores are offering in the garden sections. #1 it is too early to be planting. You have to remember that those flowering plants have been grown in a greenhouse and are not ready to be planted outside. Beware of the bare root roses that I see offered for sale. Many of them are showing leaves. You plant those outside and you are destined for failure. You want trees and shrubs that are dormant. Look around at your landscape, see any new growth? That is what you should be looking for if you are anxious to purchase. Yes, we all get anxious, but we don't want to throw away our hard earned money.


Do I See Green Grass?

I have had several calls about fertilizing lawns this time of year. Under our normal weather conditions we usually still have snow on the lawns. Not this year. As I was walking the gardens yesterday I spotted some green sprigs of grass emerging. Yep, time to feed those lawns. The first number on your fertilizer label promotes growth and greening. I recommend a 21-7-14 for established lawns. If your lawn was planted new last season then I recommend a 16-16-16. This will promote top growth, greening and promote more root base.


Tulips and Daffodils Popping Up

Time to Fertilize Bulbs
Your bulbs and perennials are starting to emerge from a very cold winter. Just like a bear coming out of hibernation, they need to be fed. You want to use a granular fertilizer, preferably one that has a high second number such as a 10-20-20. Never, ever put a granular fertilizer on top of your plant, this can kill the plant. Spread the fertilizer around the bulbs or perennials and then scratch it into the soil with a garden claw (or a big fork will work). You can also use Bone Meal and/or Bulb Food.


Climatized Plants

I was out and about this past week and noticed that the box stores are starting to fill up on plant material. A variety of bare root roses in bags caught my eye. The leaves had gotten bitten by the cold night temperatures and were looking pretty sad. You do NOT want to be buying shrubs and trees that are in leaf. Our trees in our yards don't have leaves yet so why would we want to purchase plants that have just been brought in from who knows where bearing leaves- "I know" you want instant gratification! You are tired of winter and want to see green leaves. Beware, the freeze is going to either kill that new plant or set it back several months. You only want to be purchasing shrubs and trees that are still dormant or showing a little bit of bud swelling. No leaves right now - look around, do you see leaves? Before you purchase, dig a test hole. Is the ground frozen?


Organic Compost

All Compost is NOT Created Equal
You have probably purchased compost in bags and/or in bulk, but do you really know what you are getting? You will pay more for Organic Certified compost. You want to grow healthy vegetables, fruits and plants, saving money on inferior soil amendments is not a wise decision. Some businesses offering compost is really not true compost at all. To be composted material the process is lengthy, internal soil temperature is monitored where weed seed is killed and composting materials are broken down. I have seen many gardeners buy truckloads of supposedly compost and all it is are manures ran through a shredding machine and native soil mixed in. Yes, it is less expensive but it is not really a composted product. I like to know what I'm planting in, don't you? We sell only Organic Certified compost.


Don't be Fooled by Advertising Hype!

Once again I was checking out what the stores had to offer this season - just because you see a product advertised on TV, does NOT make it the best product on the maket. Round-Up is being advertised heavily right now to kill weeds. Check the label, even their "new and improved" is only 18% glyphosate and the price is crazy. You can purchase a product called Eraser in a 1 quart concentrate that makes 21 gallons and contains 41% Glyphosate for $19.99. Compare this to Round-up in a 1 quart concentrate, 18%, makes same amount for $43.99 at a box store. I do carry Eraser.....
Learn to read your labels, it can save you lots of money!

Black Leaf Spot on Aspens

NOW is the Time to Treat this Problem
Quaking aspens, Populus tremuloides, are a widely used tree by many homeowners. Unfortunately, aspens are prone to disease problems of which it is important to recognize and be able to diagnose. One of the most common probles is referred to as "black leaf spot". The leaves of the aspen will have brown/blackish spots on them. They will first appear in the spring as small brown spots or flecks and will increase in size as the growing season progresses. Severe outbreaks can cause foliar browning in midsummer and nearly complete defoliation by early August.

The pathogen for this disease is a fungus, Marssonina brunnea, that overwinters in fallen aspen leaves. This fungus will infect a tree after leaves emerge in spring when wind and rain disperses the fungus.

To alleviate overwintering of the fungal spores, it is important to completely dispose of all leaves. They should not be composted, nor used in the landscape. What can you do if your aspen trees had "black leaf spot" this past spring and summer? At bud break (which is now), just as the leaves start to emerge, spray with a fungicide. Spray again after the leaves have fully emerged. I recommend a Liquid Systemic Fungicide in a ready to spray or if you have a sprayer you can use a concentrate.


Why Buy Seed Potatoes?

Selecting Seed Potatoes
The term "seed potato" can be a little misleading. Although potatoes do set seed, they do NOT grow true to seed. To get the variety of potato you want, you need to grow them vegetatively, meaning we re-plant a part of the actual potato. These pieces of potato are referred to as seed potatoes.
Because potatoes are propagated vegetatively, any diseases from the prior year will be carried over. That's why it is so important to use disease free seed potatoes and that means Cerified Seed Potatoes. Certified seed potatoes are certified by a state government authority to be disease free.
We carry ONLY certified seed potatoes. We have Yukon Gold, Red Norland, Cal. Whites and Russet Burbank.
Any potatoes that have soft spots, cracks or bruises or signs of rotting should be discarded. Start with the healthiet, strongest seed potatoes to avoid problems and guarantee a good harvest.
Come pick up our free POTATO Planting Guide.


Onions Require Lots of Nitrogen

Onion sets are here - Red,white and yellow.
We recommend using onion sets, which can be planted without worry of frost damage and have a higher success rate than direct seeding or transplants.
Select a sunny location, no shade from other plants.Your soil needs to be well-drained, loose and rich in nitrogen. Onions are heavy feeders and need constant nourishment to produce big bulbs. At planting time mix in some nitrogen fertilizer and then side dress every few weeks until the bulbing process begins. Cease fertilizing when the onions push the soil away and the bulbing process has started. Do not put the soil back around the onions; the bulb needs to emerge above the soil.
Generally, onions do not need consistant watering if mulch is used. About one inch of water per week is sufficient. If you want sweeter onions, water more.


Hops are NOT Just for Beer

Looking for a Hardy Vine?
We are fairly limited to the number of vines that will grow in our area. A hardy vine that is often ignored by gardeners is the Hop Vine.
Hops are grown from small root-like cuttings about a foot long called rhizomes.
Select an area with plenty of sunshine. Hops need at least 6-8 hours of sun a day, so the south facing side of your home or an exposed site is a good location. Hop vines (called bines) can grow to over 25 feet and weigh over 20 pounds, so you will need a trellis or a wire fence for support and an area for them to climb on.
Hops prefer well-aerated soil that is rich in nutrients and has good drainage. Hop roots will spread quickly and take over the garden unless you trim the roots each season.
Hops should be planted in the spring. Place your rhizomes about 4 inches deep, with the root side of the rhizome down. Cover with straw or light mulch to inhibit the weeds.
In dry climates or heat of summer, they may need to be watered daily. Once the hops begin to grow, select the best bines and wrap them around your trellis or wire fence to train them, eventually they will begin growing in a clockwise direction from east to west around your trellis.
If growing for beer, you will be ready to harvest the cones by mid summer. The harvest the first year may not be huge.
Remember - the roots of the hops are a perennial (come back each year. The bines are an annual and will die back. You can leave the dead woody bines and let next years growth climb up them or cut them back to the ground in the fall.
Our Hop rhizomes sell for $4.00 each. We carry two varieties, Cascade and Galena.


Daffodils and Tulips - it Must be Spring

Daffodils and tulips are just starting to bloom in our neck of the woods. These bulbs let us know that spring is on it's way. I plant more bulbs in my garden every year. The bright colors give me a message that summer is close behind. Once your bulbs are done blooming, resist the urge to cut back daffodil and tulip foliage until it turns yellow. This ripening process restores energy in the bulbs for next year's blooms.
Don't put tulips in the same vase with flowers from the narcissus family such as daffodils. Daffodils and other flowers in this family exude a substance that causes flowers to fade faster. Tulips work best in a vase by themselves.


Leaf Cutter Bees in the Garden

Essential Pollinators of Plants - Leaf cutter bees are native bees, important as pollinators. They are not usually aggressive but may have a mild sting when they are handled. The way these bees work is fascinating. They cut perfect circles and half circles out of leaves to form nest cells. You will find their nests in drain pipes, rotted wood or in the stems of large, pithy plants such as roses.


Pine Rust Gall

Pine rust gall is a disease that occurs on 2 and 3 needle pine trees. The disease is caused by a fungus. You will see it as a round orange knot on the tree. The branches die from the gall out. Being a spore fungus, when the gall splits it throws out the spores infecting other trees, which usually occurs in the spring. I suggest you cut the branch just behind the gall and destroy by burning.




Time to Plant Perennials

Now is an excellent time to take a walk around your garden. Look at it as a canvas. Do you need a bit more height in one area? Maybe a bit more vibrant color in another area. Don't like a particular plant where you currently have it planted?
We will be adding more hardy perennials to our inventory in the next week. Lots of colors and heights to choose from. Take a walk with me around my gardens to get some ideas.


Gardening Tips Archives:

Garden Updates 2014

Garden Updates 2013

Garden Updates 2012

Garden Updates 2011

Garden Updates 2010

Garden Updates 2009

Garden Updates 2008

Garden Updates 2007


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