Another weekend and possibly another record! The heat has been showing up a lot this spring and this weekend is no different. We are predicted to reach 80 again by Sunday. It is great for those who were tired of the cold and wet of winter, but the plants are blooming at a fever pitch. The irises and peonies are blooming, the tulips are toast and lilacs are fading fast. For the gardener that means you should get out and enjoy these sights quickly. It also means that the weeds are returning. It is just one of the thing we are tackling in this week’s show.
The fast moving spring means that Mother’s Day is coming up too. We previewed one event at Garden Gallery Iron Works but there is so much more happening. Be sure to check out the Garden Time events page on our website for a list of other events happening in our area. One event to mark your calendar for is the Subaru Garden Dayz event happening on the 21st of May! You can find all the details here, http://www.gardentime.tv/gardendayz.htm.
This week we featured...
Removing Lawn Weeds
The return of the spring warmth also means the return of the dreaded lawn weeds. Broadleaf weeds and weedy grasses can easily take over your turf grass and take your yard from a thing of beauty to a weedy mess in no time! To get some help we stopped and talked to Tom Combs from Bonide. Bonide makes a lot of the garden products that you have come to trust in your yard. Today Tom brought out the product ‘Weed Beater Plus’ and then showed us how to use it. The 2 different bottles we saw were a RTU (Ready to Use) which you could use if you had a small patch of a few weeds and the other product which was a hose end sprayer. Hose end means that you attach it to the end of your hose and then just turn on the water. This bottle delivers the spray in a pre-measured amount over a large area very quickly. Tom told us that you have to follow a few rules when you spray. First of all this product needs warmth to work. Average temperatures need to be above 65 for the product to work the best and be careful not to apply it when the temperature get above 80. Try to spray on a day when there is no wind and be sure to not let it drift into your flower beds since it will damage your ornamental plants if you hit them. One more tip, walk backwards. By going to the farthest area first and walking backwards you are sure to not walk through the product and then transfer it to your flower beds if you walk through them. For more information on the complete line of Bonide products be sure to check out their website and while you are there you can download their Problem Solver’ app for your iPhone or Droid.
Building a Raised Bed
Gardening in small spaces has grown quite a bit in the past couple of years. Because of that people are looking for ways to garden efficiently in those spaces. One way of doing that is with a raised bed. A friend of the show, Alan, recently built a new raised bed and he let us record the steps so you can see how easy it can be! When picking out a spot for a bed you will want to look for an area that gets 6-8 hours of sun a day. You will want to get it level so look for level ground or be prepared to do a little digging. Lay out the area that you want to build the bed and measure to make sure everything will fit. Try to keep your bed no wider than 4 feet in its widest part. This will help you in weeding and harvesting. Start with at least a 2x6 or a 2x8 for the sides, which will give you the depth you need for all the new soil and plants. ‘Measure twice and cut once’ is an old adage for builders and it is a good reminder for you when you get started. Remove all the soil and sod in the area of your new bed and work the old soil with a tiller or shovel. Once your boards are cut you can lay them out and make sure they are all square and level. If everything fits you can start assembling the frame. Use brass screw so they are resistant to rust and corrosion. Screw the frame together on the outside corners and then reinforce the corners with inside brackets as well. Back fill around the edges of the frame to create added stability. Once the frame is in place you will want to fill it with clean soil. If you add old top soil you will just be bringing the old problem into the bed including diseases and pests. We filled the bed with Black Gold Natural and Organic soil, but if you have a large bed you can get a bulk delivery of Garden Mulch from Grimm’s Fuel (503-636-3623). Once it is filled with soil you can plant your veggie garden. Make sure that you water everything in once you plant it since the soil may be a little too dry for planting.
If this all seems like it is too much to tackle, you can find a bunch of different ‘raised bed’ kits at your local independent garden centers. Enjoy the summer and your great harvest from this new bed and next year try adding one more for even more veggies!
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!
Grilling Bamboo Shoots
Edibles in the garden are the talk of the garden industry right now. People are always looking for new fruits, vegetables and herbs to plant, but we found someone who is making culinary use out of a very common garden plant, bamboo. We met in the backyard of Saysana Jeung to check out his bamboo stand. He has numerous varieties of bamboo and he told us he harvests all of them for grilling in the spring! Spring is the perfect time of year for grilling bamboo. Says told William how he looks for shoots that are 3-6 inches long and just twists them off to harvest them. He will even harvest some of the longer shoots but he always just takes the most tender part of the shoot in the 3-6 inches near the end.
He then takes these raw shoots and peals away the outer rough layer to expose the more tender shoots inside. These are then mixed with olive oil, salt, pepper and sesame oil and placed on a grill at medium heat for about 3-4 minutes until they are brown on one side. They are flipped and the other side is done for the same amount of time. Says serves his grilled bamboo as a substitute for asparagus. He learned about using bamboo from his family while growing up. His family now owns the Lily Market (503-255-0448) on NE Halsey in Portland. They are a Thai market and deli that specializes in ethnic foods and supplies focusing on Asian cuisine. They will have everything you need if you want to tackle grilling bamboo at home. You won’t be disappointed if you try!
Timber Press Spring Books
Spring is not only the time for gardeners to get out and get busy, it is also the time for a fresh batch of garden books from our friends at Timber Press. We met with Tom Fischer at the Timber Press office in downtown Portland to see a few of the new titles. We started with ‘Garden Revolution’. This book by Larry Weaner and Thomas Christopher is about ecological garden design. It helps the home gardener harness the natural forces of the environment to create a more natural and sustainable garden. It is like a ‘cultivated’ naturescape and shows you how to build one. The next book was The Aromatherapy Garden by Kathi Keville. This book tells you how to grow all those fragrant plants that can help your health and wellbeing. This doesn’t just cover the ‘sweet’ smelling plants in the garden, but also the pungent smelling plants that can also have therapeutic uses too. It also covers how to use these plants and prepare them for uses in teas and potpourri. The third book was The Culinary Herbal by Susan Belsinger and Arthur Tucker. This is a great how-to book on growing and preserving 97 herbs. If you are a cook or foodie, then this is a garden book for you. It compares and groups herbs into an organized structure. It will even tell you what type of herb you should plant depending on how you want them. It also has a chapter on preserving the herbs at their peak flavor for later use. Our fourth book was one for the handyman or lady in your family. ‘Hand-Built Outdoor Furniture’ by Katie Jackson has 20 different projects for outdoor chairs, trellises and other useful items for your garden. This book breaks down those projects into step-by-step details that point the way to a successful finish for nearly anyone. It covers everything from how to use tools, to complete lists of materials and other helpful tips for anyone from beginner to expert. Our final book was one of Tom’s favorites, The Presidents Gardens. This book by Marta McDowell covers the complete history of the White House gardens from their very beginning, even before the building was finished, to almost the present day. The White House gardens changed with the times and trends of each age, and also with each occupant and their families. It is written with an informative, non-partisan, approach. You see pictures and drawing from its very beginning and some of the historic events that have happened in the garden. After looking through it we can see how it would be hard to put down.
If you are interested in these books or any of their other current titles, you can check out the Timber Press website. There they can point you to a local bookseller or you can order one directly from Timber Press!
Risley Landing Gardens
One of the most historical, and little known, gardens in the state in right in the metro area in Oak Grove. We heard about the Risley Landing Gardens and had to stop by for a visit. This garden is owned and maintained by the Oak Grove Garden Club and a few of their members stopped by to walk us through it. We met with Nancy and Lonnie to get a little history lesson about the Risley’s and the landing. The Risley family operated a landing where local goods and produce could cross the Willamette River at its deepest spot. The landing was part of a mile-long piece of property owned by Jacob and Orville Risley. If you wanted to get your stuff from Oregon City to Portland, you probably used this landing. However, once the rail line went in the traffic on the river dropped and eventually the landing fell into disrepair and was covered with brush and wild berries. Over a hundred years later the land was donated to the Oak Grove Garden Club by Hugh Starkweather in memory of his mom and sisters. They have maintained and improved it ever since. The garden is now open for visitors and events, but since there is no full-time staff you have to call for an appointment. It has become a popular place for weddings and other gatherings with its affordable rental rates. The money raised helps with the maintenance of the garden and also helps fund scholarships to the Horticulture program at Clackamas Community College.
Another way the club raises money is through their annual plant sale. They have many of the plants that you can see in the garden for sale at this event. This year it will be held on Saturday, May 7th from 9 until 3 at 16196 River Forest Place, Oak Grove, OR 97267. This is a great time to stop and see the garden and help a great group and cause, at the same time.
Cloverdale Dirt Babies
Kids love getting dirty and they love to learn. We were able to help achieve both goals this past week at Cloverdale Elementary in Turner Oregon. We were invited into Mrs. Brandt’s kindergarten class to help them make some dirt babies. Dirt Babies are a great project that you can do with your kids or grandkids. Donna Wright from Black Gold helped facilitate the whole project. For dirt babies all you need is a knee high stocking, some grass seed, a couple cups of Black Gold Potting Soil and some decorations for the face. The kids really loved working around the room in different ‘stations’ to get their babies made. Start by opening the stocking and pouring a little grass seed in the toe of the stocking. Next pour in the soil and pat it down into a round shape. Tie off the end and leave the long ‘tail’ of the stocking on the end. Then use some glue and decorate or put a face on your baby. Place the tail in a glass full of water and rest the baby on top of the glass so the baby’s head is just touching the water. Don’t let it become totally submerged. In a week or so you will start to see the grass sprout and the ‘hair’ will start to grow. Keep it watered and your baby should keep growing hair for quite some time. For a full list of instructions and a ‘birth certificate’ you can click here. Black Gold has also provided us with an activity sheet full of puzzles and games, check it out here. We loved hanging out with the kids and they even sang us a few songs, even one about worms, perfect for gardeners!
Tsugawa Garden Vines
As summer approaches a lot of people are out in their gardens looking for ways to make their gardens look more dynamic. One way to do that is to add structure to your garden; taking your garden up and away from the ground. One way to do that is with vines. One of the best places for vines is Tsugawa Nursery (360-225-8750) in Woodland Washington. We met with Brian Tsugawa to discuss just a few of the options available for the home gardener. The first one that we looked at was the Mandarin Honeysuckle. This has a bright orange colored tubular bloom which really attracts the hummingbirds. There are lots on new colors out there besides the old whites and off-whites. The next plant was the evergreen clematis. This one is different than the regular clematis because it keeps its leaves all year long and it blooms really early in the season. The most popular varieties of the evergreen clematis are white or soft pink, and give you a nice fragrant bloom early in the season. If you match these early bloomers with the deciduous (late blooming) varieties you can end up with waves of color lasting for months. The next one was one that is not a very popular vine, Akebia. This vine is an aggressive grower, but it can easily be maintained with good pruning. With all this growth you are rewarded with tons of tiny purple flowers. The foliage is also really great, with a tiny cluster of 5 leaves on each branch. We then moved to one of the most popular vines on the market, the wisteria. Wisteria are known for being very aggressive in the garden and one of the common complaints is that they are not prolific bloomers for some gardeners. The key to getting them to bloom is a hard pruning in the late winter (around February). If you cut them back really far they will still give you lots of growth and lots of blooms. If you don’t cut them back you will need a fairly strong support system set up. They not only get aggressive, they can be heavy and can collapse a trellis or arbor in a season or two. We saw what can happen if you keep one pruned back. Brian’s mom had a wisteria in a container and they have pruned it hard each year and it is still in a container nearly 25 years later and still blooming. The final plant that we talked about was the Jasmine. The jasmine is probably the most fragrant of all the vines. It is a member of the olive family, but there are lots of varieties that are hardy for our area. We looked at the ‘White Star’ jasmine. It will do well if you give it good drainage and a little protection in the winter. It is well worth the effort of protecting it, because of the great fragrance!
If you do have a vine you will want to probably get some sort of structure for it to grow on. Trellises and arbors are great but remember that you will want to get one that fits the growing habit of the plant you chose. Don’t get a short 3 foot obelisk if your plant is going to grow 10-12 feet a year. Make your choice based on the plant you chose and how much you plan on pruning it every year. If you have any questions about vines and structures that they can grow on, stop by Tsugawa Nursery in Woodland. It is just a short drive that you won’t regret!
The latest trend in ‘adult’ beverages is cider. Most cider makers buy their fruit and other ingredients from various farmers and sometimes they have no idea where the raw materials come from. We found a place where they know EXACTLY where their fruit comes from, Bauman’s Farm and Garden. We stopped by the farm and saw the newest addition, Bauman’s Century Farm Cider. Judy met with Christine, one of the Bauman cousins, who had heard old family tales of Grampa making hard cider for friends and family many years ago. Now, we all know that Bauman’s makes a great fresh cider that we all enjoy in the fall during their harvest festival. Christine was wondering why they didn’t try to make a hard cider as well. Well, we can tell you, it has been a success! They have recently set up a cider bar in the store and now you can enjoy some of the freshest cider anywhere. They use the apples and berries that they grow right there on the farm to make some pretty wonderful cider. They even use the honey from the farm in their ciders. Right now they have 4 different ciders on tap, but more are on the way. You can always check their website for an updated list of ciders on tap and where you can purchase them. Of course, you will always find them at the store at Bauman’s Farm and Garden (503-792-3524)!