What a comfortable summer. I know that a lot of people (and plants) donít consider it summer unless we get some real heat of at least 90 degrees or above. We havenít reached those temperatures, but the summer is not over yet! I was watching the news the other day and they think this might be the first summer since the mid-50ís that we wonít reach 90 degrees. Still it has been very comfortable! At the start of this weekís show we featured the raised bed that we planted just a month ago. What a difference a raised bed makes with good soil and water for a successful vegetable harvestÖ You may want to consider a raised bed in your garden next year.
This week we featured...
Garden art is not all about bringing a hardscape element to the garden. For some art it can also add function to your landscape. We met with Lindsay Scott from Cowdawg Creations to look at her unique and functional art. If you have been to Gardenpalooza or any number of garden shows in the area you may have seen her copper art. The interesting thing about her art is that it can also function as a sprinkler, mister, bird feeder or rain chain. Lindsay took us into her shop to show us how she builds each piece. Thereís a lot of hands-on workmanship in each piece. From the different cutting tools to the bending of each piece of metal, they are definitely a work of art. These pieces are so unique that the Garden Time crew bought a couple for our yards! Check out some of her up-coming shows or drop her an e-mail if you have anymore questions.
Red Pig Spades
What is a shovel and what is a spade? For most gardeners these are interchangeable, but there are some specific differences. To learn what those differences are we traveled up to Red Pig Garden Tools (503-663-9404) in Boring to chat with Bob Denman. Bob has worked in the tool making industry for years and can make just about any type of tool you need. He is the expert in gardening tools. Here is what he told us. The spade is for breaking ground, a shovel is for moving material. The first shovel he showed us had a square look to it. That design was meant to scoop up material like soil so you can move it. The spades had a pointed blade that is meant to break ground or cut sod. Some of the older models of spades tend to look more like the shovels with less of a point to the blade. These tools were designed to work in the tight spaces and smaller gardens of England. We saw some different varieties of spades and shovels from other cultures like Irish, German and Holland and how they have been adapted to our gardens. Bob also talked about the length of the handle that each tool had. The length and angle of each handle is designed for a specific purpose and can make the job of digging easier if you know how to use them. If you are looking for the right spade or shovel for your gardening needs make sure you stop by Red Pig or give them a call.
Janís August Tips
This month we found Jan McNeilan in her garden, mowing. That doesnít seem like anything out of the ordinary, but this month she was mowing her strawberries! That is one of her tips for the month of August. Now that the strawberries are done producing fruit, it is a good time to cut back on the foliage and fertilize them. This will get them ready for next season and a great future harvest. While she was mowing we noticed that she didnít cut down the borage plants that have grown in her garden. Jan told us that these plants are great for drawing pollinators into the garden and help with vegetable and fruit production. She then showed us the damage caused by the Ďleaf minerí. This little animal digs under the surface of the leaves in your vegetable garden and sucks out all the soft tasty material between the leaf layers. There really is no treatment for this little pest other than picking off the infected leaves. We also talked about determinant and in-determinant tomatoes. The determinant tomato is one that will reach a certain height and stop growing; these are great for some gardens or patios. The larger, in-determinant varieties will continue to grow and try to set more fruit. Jan told us that now is a great time to prune back some of the growth of the larger plants and even cut off some of the blooms. This will focus the growth on the fruit that is on the plant and give you a bigger and better harvest. We also talked about the benefits of the raised garden. Janís eggplant and other vegetables really took off due to the better growing conditions that the raised bed gave them. For more gardening tips you can check out the OSU Extension website at http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening/.
Six Water Saving Tips
Even when we donít have a lot of summer heat you can still save a lot of water and money by following a few simple water saving tips. We met up with Amy from the Regional Water Providers Consortium to learn 6 simple tips for saving water. Tips #1, water the lawn and not the sidewalk. This is a common sense tip that we all seem to forget. By making sure that the water stays on your lawn or garden you can save up to 50% of your watering bill. Tip #2, donít water more than 1 inch per week. This will ensure that your grass grows deeper roots and make your lawn healthier in the long run. Tip #3, use a hose nozzle to control the flow of water. When you are out in the garden the hose nozzle will allow you to shut off the water when you are moving around the garden and then turn it on when you need it. If the hose is just left running while you walk around you are wasting between 5 to 7 gallons of water a minute. Tip #4, use a broom or blower to clean your sidewalks or drive. By not using water to clean, you can save lots of water and even get a little more exercise too! Tip #5, set your mower higher to prevent drying your lawn out. By keeping your lawn a tiny bit longer, it will help retain the moisture and make your lawn more lush and green. Tip #6, check your irrigation for leaks and cracks. William pointed out that in our homes we are quick to repair leaks to save money, but we donít do that in our yards. It is a good idea to check for leaks in the garden to make sure that we donít waste water and money. If you would like more water saving tips for your home or garden you can check the Regional Water Providers Consortium website at www.conserveh2o.org.
Grass Seed Plant
The Willamette Valley is one of the largest growers of grass seed in the world. Conditions here are very good for growing some really high quality seed. We took a trip down to Lebanon Oregon to the Pennington Seed processing and packaging plant to see how this high quality seed starts it journey to destinations around the country. Doug Miller gave us a first hand look at the process of packaging. This plant can handle about 100 million pounds of grass seed a year. It was great to watch them working on getting these different seed blends out to the consumer and knowing that it all started with Oregon farmers.
The wet spring has really created a great environment for one of worst summer pests, the mosquito! There are ways you can cut down on the number of mosquitoes in your backyard and garden areas. First you have to walk around your garden and look for standing water. Standing or stagnant water is a perfect breeding ground for mosquitoes. If you can dump out the water, that will go a long way to getting rid of the problem. It you have standing water in your bird baths, water feature or pond then you can add a mosquito dunk. These Ďdunksí contain Bt which is an organic compound that helps kill the mosquito larvae. We found these dunks when we were at the Waterlily Festival at Hughes Water Gardens (503-638-1709), but you can find them at all your local garden centers or nurseries.