The heat is on! This past week we really saw the temperature rise in a preview of summer. For some people this was the, not so subtle, start to the vegetable season. That means people are rushing to get their veggies in the garden, but not to worry. If you are lagging behind in your planting there is still time. In fact, you can probably still plant your vegetable garden into early June and still get a nice crop of fresh vegetables.
And speaking of fresh… this weekend is the 10th annual World Naked Gardening Day (warning, here is the website, and it may not be appropriate for every gardener, http://wngd.org). Though this might not be everyone’s cup of tea, it just shows the length that some people will go to when they want to enjoy their gardens. In my case, I’m still happy in my ripped Levi’s, a t-shirt and leather gloves.
We are also just 5 weeks away from our garden tour to Victoria, BC. We are looking forward to spending time with our gardening fans! If fact, we are also gearing up for our next tour in January. Stay tuned to the show or keep checking our Facebook page for more information!
This week we featured...
If you are looking for outstanding late summer color you can’t beat dahlias. Now is the time to plant dahlias to get that late summer ‘pop’ of color. We stopped by Swan Island Dahlias (800-410-6540) to get some planting tips for having a great crop of color later this summer! With his crew busy planting in the fields, Nick from Swan Island walked us through the planting process. First you want a good healthy tuber. Next you will want a well worked soil to plant them in. The loose soil will ensure that they don’t have to fight their way to the surface. You will want a well-drained area since they can rot if they are setting in water. To plant them, dig down about 6 inches and mix some bulb fertilizer into the soil at the bottom of the hole. Place the tuber in the bottom of the hole and loosely fill in the soil. In a couple of weeks you will start to see the new growth breaking through the top of the soil. Flowers will soon follow!
Portland Nursery Landscaping
If you are looking to re-landscape your yard or garden, it can be a bit intimidating! Last year we gave away a Black Gold garden makeover to Robert and Sheri. They chose Portland Nursery on Division (503-788-9000) to help them with the design. This gave us a perfect opportunity to ask some questions of Terrie and Sara at Portland Nursery about what people need to consider about landscape design. First of all people should not get nervous about asking questions. Terrie said that the first questions are easy to answer. Budget is on the front of everyone’s mind. Terrie told us that you can control the budget by talking to her and doing a lot of the work yourself. If you bring in your ideas and pictures of what you would like to see, either from magazines or from gardens you like, she can help steer you into the right plants and the easiest and cheapest solutions. Sara also talked about how coming to Portland Nursery is going to benefit you in your plant selection and planning. Portland Nursery professionals will help you pick the right plants for the right place and those plants are guaranteed. This is not like hiring someone with a magnetic sign on the side of their pickup! If you are looking for some help in taking those first steps in your garden re-design, stop by Portland Nursery on Division!
We love our native plants and when they have a history tied to their appearance it is even better. One of those plants is the native camas. It’s a plant that has been used by the native population since before the Lewis and Clark expedition. This spring blooming bulb is in full swing right now and can be found in marshy meadows around the area. We found a great field of them growing wild at Cammasia Natural Area in West Linn. Judy Bluehorse Skelton joined Judy at the Cammasia Area to tell her about the history of the plant. This plant was one of the major foods of the Native American people that lived in the Northwest. The bulb was harvested in the spring and provided a source of carbohydrates to the tribes. They have lots of protein sources and when spring came they were able to supplement their diets with this bulb. They harvested only the blue flowering camas, because the white flowering kind could make you sick. They were so happy with the return of the camas that it is one of the celebrated foods of the ‘first foods’ ceremony that occurs in the spring.
This plant is also one that looks as good as it tastes. Local gardeners will find it easy to grow. It doesn’t mind the moist soils of the spring, but prefers the drier soils of the summer. You can find it at a lot of the local garden centers, but we found a large selection at Bosky Dell Natives (503-638-5945). You can buy a plant and then get directions on finding this special little meadow of camas and imagine what it must have looked like a hundred years ago in the valley.
Parr Cinderblock Garden Bench
There is nothing like sitting in the garden during the summer and enjoying all the plants and wildlife around you. The problem is finding a nice and inexpensive bench to sit on when you are out in the garden. Have you ever consider building your own? Amber at Parr Lumber (866-214-7277) had a great idea that she decided to share with us. This one was pretty easy to build and it was cheap too! All you need are some cinder blocks, some 4x4’s, a little paint, some adhesive and some cushions. First Amber bought 12 cinder blocks and painted them a nice warm color with exterior paint. Even the paint was inexpensive since she bought it at the local rebuilding center. Then she stacked the blocks about 6 feet apart and secured them with adhesive (liquid nails worked well) so they wouldn’t fall over, and ran the 4x4’s between the bricks. She then placed the cushions on the boards and she was done! It was quick and easy and with the colorful cushions and warm paint it looked very cute! For all the materials you need, stop by your local Parr Lumber.
Garden of Gentle Breeze
It isn’t very often that we can introduce you to a new garden that is open to the public. This week we are delighted to do that. We found a new garden just north of Corvallis called the Garden of Gentle Breeze (541-745-7315). This is a brand new garden that has been built by Jay Gray part as a labor of love, and part as a way to remember his times in Japan while he was studying at the university. Jay took his love of Japanese style gardens and built one for himself, but friends kept bugging him to share it with others and so now he has opened it up to the public. He started with his underused driveway and using the 4 elements that should be included in any Japanese garden (earth, wind, fire and water) he built a wonderful formal tea garden. This just led him to building a strolling garden across the driveway. He has also built a Caretakers cottage in the strolling garden which is authentic to around 1900. This is just another jewel in a beautiful garden. Plans for the future include a large hall for classes, entertaining and rentals. If you would like to stop by this garden it is open daily from 11am to 6pm and the cost to visit is $5 for adults. If you are looking for something to do with your mom for Mother’s Day you can stop by and enjoy the Mother’s Day special where mothers are free and everyone else is $3.
Mother’s Day Flowers
Have you thought about what you are going to get your mom for Mother’s Day next week? We are going to help you out! We stopped by Geranium Lake Flowers (503-228-1920) and talked to Kim about making a quick and easy bouquet. Kim is an expert in floral design and she is more than happy to share her tips with others. She ended up coaching William this time on building 2 different, yet equally beautiful bouquets. The first one was made with 6 different sets of flowers including lily of the valley, peonies, roses, lambs ear and lilacs. You will also notice that all of these flowers have a great fragrance! Kim had William rubber band clumps of the same type of flowers together and trim the stem to 1 foot long and then placed them in a metal container. She also recommended that you remove all the excess leaves from the stems so they would not rot in the water and create a smell. Once these were all placed in the vase, it was spectacular.
Next she pulled out some colorful stems of blooms including gerbera daisies, roses, and tulips. These were tied together in a similar fashion and placed in a glass container. But to hide the stems she placed a large leaf in the water. It also looked great! If you are looking for ideas on arranging flowers from your garden, or need a few extra flowers to make your arrangement, stop by and talk to Kim and her staff, and really make something special for mom!
Ants are the #1 pest problem in the US. There are lots of products that can get rid of them and it can be confusing if you want to stop them before they invade your home, yard or garden. William and Judy shared a bunch of the different products that are available to the homeowner. Judy started with the chemical bait and contact sprays. These contain ingredients that can kill on contact and even though they are effective, you may miss the queen and a large part of the colony. These work best if you can see the whole hive and can hit them all at once. It is very important that you follow the application instructions on these products. Remember the label is the law! Follow it!
William then talked about baits. There is one big difference with most of these baits…ants treat them as a food. The other products only take care of the ants that touch the product. The baits are taken back to the nest and once it is taken to the queen, she is gone and most of the time so is your problem. We have featured Amdro in the past because it works so well. Some of the most effective of the baits are ones that include borax. If you have found a ‘home remedy’ on the internet, it most likely contains borax. The Terro product is one that most people are aware of. The liquid application is great because you can see the ants on the first day all huddled around drinking up the sugar/borax solution and then the next day they are gone. There are even all organic solutions that you can use that use all natural oils and essences. If you have an ant problem, stop by your local independent garden center and see which products might work the best for you.
4 Simple Trellises
If you are looking to add height to your garden you can buy something, or you can build a simple trellis yourself! William and Judy walked us through the steps of building a couple of different ones. The first one was easy. William used a tomato cage to help his climbing peas. Judy then showed us the second trellis, which was a simple teepee of bamboo sticks. She tied them at the top and they made a quick and simple structure. The third structure was a folding trellis made from PVC pipe. We cut the pipe into various lengths to fit our garden size. This one had 3, ¾ inch pipes that were 3 feet long. These are for the two base pieces and the top. Then we cut 4 longer pieces (6 foot) these are for the sides. 6 elbows create the square and then we also had 2 tees. The top of the tee was a bigger size than the rest of the pipe. This will allow the folding of the trellis when the season is done. The finishing touch was the string. Last year we used a hemp string for the plants to climb on. This quickly broke down and that meant it didn’t work as well as we had hoped. This year we are using a cotton fiber string, which will give our trellis the strength to give our beans and other climbing plants a good strong base to grow on. The final one was a simple set-up of eyehooks that were screwed into the post on an arbor that we built a couple of weeks ago. Then we ran fishing wire through the hooks to make a structure for the plants to climb on. The fishing wire was invisible to the naked eye and if you are looking for more support you could use a wire, or if you wanted something more ‘earth-friendly’ a hemp string would be good. Give one (or all of them) a try and see if you can get your gardening ‘off the ground’.
If you are trying to have a more healthy diet you can’t go wrong with brassicas. Brassicas are the dense vegetables including broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and kale. Recently a local author and friend, Laura B. Russell wrote a great book called ‘Brassicas’. In this book she shared some of the great recipes that she has found for these under used yet extremely healthy vegetables. Today she shared a simple kale recipe with William. First she cut out the tough center stem of a kale leaf by folding it over and simply slicing off the center stem. This is known as a ‘V’ cut because the leaf looks like a V when you are finished. From here she sometimes cuts the leaf into large pieces to make kale chips, which we have made before on the show, but today she ended up cutting them into a chiffonade, which is a technique that makes long thin strips. These were tossed with a light dressing, chopped eggs and toasted almonds. It was fantastic! If you would like to buy this book and start eating healthier, you can find it at your local bookstore or Amazon.com.
Granite vs. Quartz
Who doesn’t like the look of a granite countertop, but who isn’t afraid of the expense of installing one? We stopped by Cascade Flooring America (800-942-0376) to talk to Sunny about granite and what we can do about the price. He said the hot trend is to use quartz. Where granite and marble are naturally occurring materials and can vary in look and quality, quartz is a man-made material and can be more durable and stain resistant. It has also dropped in price and with manufacturing improvements now has a more natural ‘look’ to it. If you have questions about marble, granite and quartz, this weekend is your chance to have those questions answered and also save some money. This weekend is the big sale weekend. Stop by and talk to the experts and see what they can do for you.