Halloween is here… and the garden is starting to look scary! Plants are dying back and I’m starting to see the ‘bones’ of my garden, the bare stems and stalks. For some people this looks messy and unkempt. For others it takes on a beauty all its own. Either way I’m sure you can come up with some reason to wander out into the garden to see what is happening. Also, remember those plants that didn’t seem to do so well? Now is the time to move them to a new location in the garden and try to make them a little more comfortable for next year.
This week we featured...
E.Z. Orchards Harvest Fest
It’s the Great State of Corn Oregon at E.Z. Orchards (503-393-1506) and their annual Harvest Fest. But before John Zielinski gave us a tour of the farm and some of the events, he took William on a quick tour of some of the great squash and pumpkins they have available at the farm. Here is a list of the varieties we saw. After the squash we heard about all the great things that are happening at the farm including the Corn Maze (a map of Oregon) where you can visit some of the major cities of the state and learn some facts about them. There is a Native American tipi, slides, horse-drawn hayrides and even Mt Hood to climb. You are also able to pan for gold, hear live music and make a quick stop at the Cider Saloon. You may even want to try your hand at the pie eating contest! Of course you can also pick up a pumpkin for the porch and fresh veggies from the market. You can enjoy all the festivities through Halloween.
Grays Winter Interest Trees
For most of the season trees can blend into the background, but for some trees fall is the time to shine. We stopped by Gray’s Garden Center (541-345-1569) in Eugene to visit with Stuart who is the tree and shrub buyer to see what his favorites were for fall color trees. He picked out 4 of his favorites to show us. The first one was the Coral Bark Japanese Maple. This one has great fall color, but then it has the extra bonus of the deep red branches for great winter color. Next we saw Parrotia ‘Persian Ironwood’. This one has incredibly dark fall foliage. Finally we saw a couple of maples. The Pacific Sunset maple, ‘Warrenred’ and the Flame Maple. The Sunset maple turns multiple shades as it drops its leaves. And the Flame is as red as its name as it makes the transition to winter. As you can see there are lots of good fall color trees for any sized yard. Stop by your local garden center to see what they have for you.
This a great project for using the best of the fall season to create a display for the up-coming holidays. We stopped by Al’s Garden Center (503-981-1245) in Woodburn to see how Amy Bigej used local fresh pumpkins and some ornamental grasses to make some ‘pumpkin people’. She showed us ones that used fun perennial grasses like ‘Toffee Twist and Black Mondo Grass. Then we saw a smaller pumpkin that used a small pin-cushion plant. Amy had cut open the top of the pumpkins but didn’t clean them completely out. She also had a bag of potting soil. Finally, we saw a couple of pumpkins that were painted black. This may seem like it isn’t a good idea but when you look at them with the selected grasses, they were great! The best part is that you can take the grasses out when the holidays are over and plant them in your garden.
Chinese Edible Plants
We learned something new at the Portland Classical Chinese Garden (503-228-8131) on our last visit. These types of gardens were not only used as a place of respite, they were also used as gardens to grow edibles including berries and fruit trees. We visited with Glin to learn about some of the fruits of the garden and see some that they will be adding to the garden in the near future. Glin showed us some of the most interesting of the plants they have, including the dwarf pomegranate, Goumi berry, the ‘Buddha’s Hand’ dwarf citrus, the tea camellia and the Goji berry. We also saw some of the fragrant osmanthus varieties they have. If you would like to see these plants or maybe pick one up for your own garden you can go to the Portland Classical Chinese Garden on the weekend on Oct. 25-26 for their fall plant sale.
Grilled Stuffed Peppers
Grilling season is in full swing, really! We found a recipe that uses fresh fall green bell peppers from the garden. First we stopped by Bauman’s Farm and Garden (503-792-3524) to pick up the bell peppers. Brian filled us in on the differences between the different colors. One thing we found out is that the red bells tend to be a little sweeter than the other and that the more color in the pepper, the higher the anti-oxidants. With the holidays coming up you should check out the great selection of fresh fall fruits and vegetables at Bauman’s.
Next we took the peppers to Jerry from Gartner’s Meats (503-252-7801). He had a recipe for grilling peppers on his Traeger grill. He made an easy stuffed pepper recipe by using the ready-made Gartner’s meatloaf. This is already seasoned so he just stuffed the peppers and put them on for about an hour until they reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees. The other trick we learned was that he used a muffin tin to hold the peppers upright. The tin was also placed in a shallow metal pan with a little water in it. This kept the peppers nice and moist. They were delicious!! If you are really busy you can just buy the peppers already stuffed at Gartner’s.