Well, the day has come. It is our last show for the 9th season. We have had a blast this past season on the show and we are looking forward to a new season in March of 2015. It will be our 10th season and it promises to be a great one! We also had a few changes this past year. The biggest one was the time change that we had in September when CBS told KOIN that they had to move our show. We are grateful that KOIN wanted us to stay on the air. They gave us a couple of spots to air the show and so people could watch the show twice on channel 6 every Saturday.
With the end of our season some people will be upset that they won’t have a garden show to watch for the next 3 months, but there are lots of ways for you to stay in touch with us during the hiatus. One way to keep up to speed with us is on the www.GardenTime.tv website. We will continue updating the page with gardening information and we will try to do it weekly. We also have the Garden Time magazine which is loaded with great gardening information. This magazine is free and sent to your e-mail every month.
As always, we wrap up our season with Jerry and Deb Yost from Gartner’s Meats (503-252-7801). As we enjoyed the wonderful dinner of smoked turkey and game hens we realized that most of our viewers and advertisers have become like family to us. And for this we wanted to say thank you for all your support this past year, and the support of our wonderful advertisers, and we wish you and your family the best of holiday seasons!
This week we featured...
Thanksgiving has past and now it is time to start thinking about Christmas and Christmas trees. We stopped by Lee Farms (503-638-1869) in Tualatin to visit with Craig Lee about the most popular types of cut Christmas trees this season. The varieties that Oregonians are buying include Douglas fir, Grand fir, Nobel fir and the Frasier fir. The most popular tree is the Noble fir, but the Frasier fir is gaining ground, because it is very fragrant. The newest variety of tree that is also gaining in popularity is the Nordmann fir. Lee’s also carries the wonderful Davis Tree Stand. Pick one up and you will never need another stand again!
Now that you have your tree and your new stand, how can you make sure that it will last through the season and stay fresh? You could get a flocked tree. The flocking on a tree helps to seal in the moisture and that means little or no water is needed. If you have a green tree there are a few rules you need to follow before you decorate to make sure it lasts through the season and into the New Year. Craig told us to always make a fresh cut on any tree you purchase from a tree lot. If you cut your own tree make sure you get it into some water as quickly as possible. Some other tips; use luke warm water the first time you water your tree, and add an aspirin and a couple drops of bleach to the water. Don’t use any soda in your water. Some people think the sugar in the soda will help the tree last longer, but it really just promotes the growth of bacteria and that is not good for your tree. Remember, if it runs out of water once, it will seal up and then it doesn’t matter how much water you add, so make sure you have a large reservoir of water under your tree. Don’t let the tree run out of water and you will have a longer lasting green tree for your holidays.
Oregon Garden – Christmas in the Garden
One of the newest events in our area for the holidays, and one of the most fun in the Christmas in the Garden at the Oregon Garden (1-877-674-2733). This is an outdoor event that is patterned after an traditional German Christmas Market. The Discovery Forest at the garden is decorated with over 300,000 lights. There are lots of things to do with the family when you get there. There is a kids area that offers different activities every weekend including Christmas crafts, letters to Santa and story time. And on the 12-14 of December you can even see live reindeer! For the adults there are 18 different vendors offering holiday gifts and crafts. Adults can also enjoy gluhwein, a mulled wine and other adult beverages while listening to live music and carolers. While you are enjoying the scene you can sit by one of the many fire pits and enjoy the warmth. It promises to be one of the best holiday events in the state. Plus, the Oregon Garden Resort is offering a special package where you can stay at the resort and enjoy the event as well. Packages start at $99. For more information you can call the Oregon Garden or check out their website.
Portland Nursery – Gift for the Gardener
A lot of people are out battling the masses for a few great shopping deals at some stores, but you can find great ideas for the gardener at all of your local independent garden centers, without all the crowds. We found one of the best places to shop at Portland Nursery. Both stores, Stark (503-231-5050) and Division (503-788-9000), have tons of great gifts and plants for the gardener. This weekend both stores will be celebrating their holiday open house on Saturday from 9 to 6. Stop by and check out some great gifts. For the kids there are tools made for smaller hands. There are also finger puppets, musical instruments, and special ornaments. For the gardener they have some very unique gifts including some ‘Lego’ type of building blocks that you can use to build your own raised garden bed. These blocks are made locally out of recycled plastic. They also have a huge selection of indoor plants and everything you need to build a cool terrarium. And if you don’t have time they have terrariums already built. A couple of different ideas include gift cards; now that is not a new idea, but you can buy one and donate it to an organization that promotes gardening in the metro area. Portland Nursery staff can help you out with that. Also, they have a great program for after the holidays. You can bring in your poinsettia, dead or alive, and you will receive a $5 credit to use at their annual indoor plant sale in January. Finally, they have some great classes you can sign up for. Plus if you get a group of friends together you can have a class all to yourselves! Just contact either store for details. The gardener doesn’t have to be left out in the cold this holiday season. Stop by Portland Nursery and let them help you get just the right gift for everyone on your list.
If you have ever had an expensive dinner at the restaurant you know that anything that contains ‘truffles’ is going to have two things. It will have a very unique taste and it will be very expensive. Now I’m not talking about the chocolate truffles, I’m talking about the aromatic fungus that is infused or shaved onto culinary dishes. Did you know that Oregon has truffles that grow natively here? To find some of these culinary beauties, we met up with Kelly from Umami Truffle Dogs (541-632-4105) and her ace truffle finder, Goose, to see how they find the truffles. Kelly told us that the best time to go truffle hunting is in the winter months with February being the peak season. In Oregon you can find 3 main varieties of truffle including 2 types of white truffle and a black truffle. Goose has been specially trained to follow the scent of the truffle and when he find a place he will start to dig. Then we take over and work the truffle out of the ground. Goose gets a reward of his favorite ball, but we got to keep the truffle! Umami uses trained dogs to find truffles because they cause the least amount of damage to the forest and can be more focused on the task of finding truffles. Umami recommends that you don’t ‘rake’ for truffles since that destroys the forest and make the practice of harvest truffles ‘unsustainable’. Since it was early in the season the truffles were small, still the scent of the them was divine when you held them up for a sniff! You can find truffles in Oregon in a lot of places. Groves of fir trees with very little understory (just ferns mainly) are the best places to look. Of course you will want to get permission for foraging from the land owner, and if you have a grove of fir trees Umami Truffle Dogs will come to your place and help survey your property to see if you have any truffles. We found 3 white truffles in the short time we were looking but since it was early in the season, they were small, about the size of a thumb nail. Still, we had a BLAST and would recommend foraging with Umami even if you don’t like truffles.
If you would like to go foraging for truffles, purchase truffles, or to learn more about Umami Truffle Dogs, give them a call or contact them through their website.
The winter is upon us and it is time to bring in your plants from the outdoors. The problem with having plants indoors is that we sometimes kill them with kindness. The number one problem with indoor plants is that they tend to be overwatered. To help avoid that problem, along with under-watering, we found some self-watering containers that we thought we would share with you. Judy shared a couple of the simplest planters that you can use. The first one was from a company called Ella. This one had a small reservoir at the bottom of the container which held excess water so the roots are not sitting in water. It also had a plug at the bottom so you could use it as a regular planter outside during the summer. Next we saw some watering stakes from Plant Nanny. These were porous terra cotta stakes. You simply fill up an old wine bottle with water and then place the stake on top and flip it over and place it in your container. If you don’t like the wine bottle sticking out of your planter Plant Nanny also has a more decorative version with a glass ball that you can buy. Now, if your budget is tight, or you just can’t see purchasing a product, we have a Do-it-yourself method as well. Simply take a plastic drinking bottle and drill a tiny hole in the top of the lid. Use a very small drill bit and only drill one hole or the water will leak out too quickly. Place this upside down in your planter. With all these different methods you can tell when the plant needs water when you see the bottle become empty.
We finally moved on to the self-watering container which seemed to work well and looks the best. This container was from Lechuza. This system is set up with a water reservoir in the bottom of a sleek and stylish planter. Like the Ella, it also had a drain plug in the bottom of the container so you could transition it outdoors in the summer. What was interesting about the Lechuza was that it had an insert for the plant and a gravel medium containing pumice, zeolites, lava, and a fertilize that you placed in the base to help with drainage and nutrient distribution. Over the top of this we placed our plants, in this case we used some beautiful poinsettias from Al’s Garden Center, and filled in around them with Black Gold All Purpose potting mix. One of the best parts of the Lechuza system was the little water meter on the side of the container. This little gage shows you when you need to water the plant since it has a needle that raises and lowers to show you when your plant is thirsty. We planted the poinsettias about a month ago when we shot this story and we have noticed that our poinsettias are thriving! We have never had the best of luck with our poinsettias so we can tell you that the Lechuza works great.
If you are looking for ways of keeping your plants well watered over these winter months, check out the products above, or stop by your local independent garden center for help and advice.