Happy Father’s Day! The garden is looking pretty good. Old Dad has been putting in a lot of hard work this spring between the showers and it looks like that has paid off. Time to let him take a break!How about a dish of strawberries? There are strawberry celebrations all around the area including ones at Fir Point Farms, French Prairie Garden and Tsugawa Nursery. There is no reason not to enjoy the taste of fresh berries with all those festivals around. Remember strawberries are the taste of spring in the Northwest and we sure need to celebrate that!
This week we featured...
Tsugawa’s Strawberry Social
It is that time of year when the local strawberries are starting to show up in your local market. That means it is also time to visit Tsugawa’s Nursery (360-225-8750) for their annual Strawberry Social. Tsugawa’s has a farm that also grows strawberries and raspberries. Every year they celebrate the strawberry with this event and they also celebrate gardening with a full slate of educational seminars. If you are looking to learn more about Bonsai or Strawberries they have a class for you. And speaking of strawberries, you can stop by and enjoy strawberry shortcake. For $1.50 you can get a dish and help CASA at the same time. CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates; they represent children in the legal system so they have someone looking out for their interests. Tsugawa’s has always been a supporter of CASA and a portion of all proceeds from their sales this weekend will help the Clark and Cowlitz county programs. Stop by, take a class and have a dish of shortcake and help CASA and your garden at the same time!
Getting twisted in the garden doesn’t mean you are having a little risky business happening. We are talking about plants; specifically plants that are twisted in the appearance or texture. We found a bunch at Portland Nursery on Stark (503-231-5050). Sean had found plants of all different sizes to show us. First he had a contorted hazelnut to share with us. These have become very popular recently and there are a bunch of different varieties including ‘Harry Lauder’s Walking Stick’ and ‘Red Majestic’. Another tall twisted plant was the Twisty Baby Black Locust. This one gets taller than most of the other twisted plants we featured, but it would make a great structure plant in any garden. Some of the small plants we saw included the Juncus (also called Rush) ‘Unicorn’ which just looks like a bunch of green spikes and the Corokia Cotoneaster with its intricate lacework of tiny, twisted, branches. If you are looking to get twisted in the garden check out these and many other ‘twisted’ plants at your local garden center.
Jan’s June Tips
The weather is finally starting to warm up and that means our monthly trip to visit with retired OSU Extension Agent Jan McNeilan takes us to the vegetable garden! We have been waiting to talk about her tips for the veggie garden for months and we were not disappointed. Jan has most of her garden planted and she has had to replant a few things; a couple of things because of the cold, wet weather and a couple of things because of pests. The first pest was the slug. She had peas, lettuce and a few other plants that were being devoured by the little guys and once she baited with iron phosphate (safe for pets and kids) they were gone. The other pest was ‘beet leaf miner’ and to keep that out she used floating row cover. Floating row cover is like a light blanket that lets water and light through, but not the pest!
We then moved over and saw a cut branch from a vine maple which had been affected with verticillium wilt. It is a soil borne pathogen (a fungus) that affects some trees, shrubs and plants. There is no chemical treatment for the disease. You just have to plant resistant varieties and rotate crops to keep it at bay.
Finally, we talked about the upcoming OSU Master Gardener Mini-College taking place in Newport on July 13-16th. This is a great place to learn about plants, diseases, and gardening in general. They also have a full schedule of tours too. Give them a call at 541-574-6534 or check out the Master Gardener website at http://www.OregonMasterGardeners.org.
Outdoor Watering Tools
Even though the winter and spring have been wet, we still have to think about the coming summer months and keeping everything watered. No one wants to waste water and most garden centers have a bunch of watering tools to help you get the water to where the plant needs it. Our friends from Dramm sent us a bunch of their wonderful products to demonstrate. First of all, you need a good hose. A lot of the hoses you will find on the market are pretty flimsy. This is one place where you get what you pay for. A good hose will not kink or leak and it should last more than one year of normal wear and tear. Next a soaker hose is a good idea. This will get the water to the root zone of your favorite plants and since it slowly drips water you won’t lose much to evaporation. Next we looked at spray nozzles. The one from Dramm had different settings so you could adjust the flow to the type of watering you were doing; a light mist to a ‘jet’ stream, and all you do is twist the knob on the front. Timers are also a good idea; there are battery operated ones and some that work on a spring system. The spring type are good if you are going to be around the house and just want the water to run for a certain time. The battery ones can be set to turn your water on and off for weeks if you plan to be on vacation.
Finally we talked about tools for getting water to those hard to reach places. Dramm had a watering wand with a shutoff valve. This is great for hanging baskets! Remember that hanging baskets can dry out much faster than your other containers so keep an eye on them and when you water them, give them a good soaking! Check your local independent garden center for more tools and ideas. If you would like more tips for watering check with the Region Water Providers Consortium.
Kindergarden – Pizza Plants
This Kindergarden project is an easy one for you and your kids. Amy from Al’s Garden Center (503-981-1245) showed us how you can make a ‘pizza’ with some plants from the garden center. First she got a box from her local pizza parlor. Then she picked plants that are related to a pizza. Plants included basil, tomato, pepper, oregano and some onions. There was even a flower (to represent ‘flour’) included in the mix. Next the kids can cut out the holes for the plants and even decorate the box. Then you just place the plants in the holes and you are good to go. This is a great project for your kids and it makes a great gift for your friends, neighbors or that special person in their lives!
Father’s day is here and it is time to spoil dad. To get some tasty ideas we stopped by and visited with Jerry Yost from Gartner’s Meats (503-252-7801). Jerry pulled out a flat-iron griller. This is a great piece of meat. We heard how easy it is to grill. Jerry put it on the grill and turned it every 5-7 minutes. In 20 minutes it was done. What made this taste so good was the marinade. Gartner’s makes their own special sauce that just knocked our socks off. If you get a chance, stop by and see them at 7450 N.E. Killingsworth and make a huge impression on dad or at your next barbeque.