Happy 4th of July. This is one of those wonderful extended weekends, so we hope you have a good one.
We are just coming back off an extended weekend. We are just back from Ireland and our garden tour there. It is always fun to get to see different places with a group of friends. We will be having stories in the coming weeks including our tour of the Guinness Brewery. Be looking for those and then go check out the Garden Time Tours page and get some of the first details for the new tour coming up in February of 2017 to Hawaii. It should be a blast.
Another change for this week. You may have noticed that we are back to a half-hour show. We have wrapped up the 13 weeks of hour-long shows that we have done the previous three or four springs, and now we return to the half hour program for the rest of the season. We do this every year, but it is still hard for us to do. We shorten the show for two reasons. One, we lose a lot of our advertisers during the summer and fall, so we can’t afford to buy the extra half hour for the longer show, and two, we lose some of our viewers during summer months so we have fewer people tuning in.
We hope you all understand and remember, if you want more gardening information you can always subscribe to the FREE monthly Garden Time magazine which gets sent to your e-mail every month.
This week we featured...
Squirrels can be cute little garden goof-offs or they can be the pest that are destroying your birdfeeders and creating a mess. Either way you can find ways to take care of them at Backyard Bird Shop (503-620-7454). We stopped by to talk with Angie and see what they had. We started with things for the squirrel lover. Angie showed us one of the many feeders that they have for squirrels. Some of the feeders actually make them figure out how to get their treats. They have to learn how to work doors and lids to get their food. There were some great designs and, of course they had a wide selection of food too.
But what if you don’t like these guys and they are stripping your bird feeders dry? This is where we started to see some interesting ideas for keeping them out of the bird seed. First we talked about baffles. These are physical barriers that you can use on your posts or shepherds hooks to prevent them from climbing up the post to the food. But what if they are jumping over from the trees and roof of your home. Well they have guards called top baffles that you can place over the top of the feeder too! Angie also told us that you should position your feeder at least 16 inches away from a wall, roof or tree. This also makes it harder for them to get to the bird food. We then looked at feeders. The best one that she recommended was the Squirrel Buster. This one had a weight triggered shut off. The birds are light so they can just perch and eat, but when a squirrel comes along his weight will cause the feeder to close and he gets nothing. There were a couple styles of this feeder available. Another feeder used a cage design. This feeder has a large cage around the feeder and so the birds can fly through the cage to eat. The squirrels can’t reach the food! The final feeder was more of an entertainment center. The Yankee Flipper from Droll Yankees has a battery operated spinner. The birds can land on the perch to eat but once the squirrel tries to grab it to eat it is flung off by the rapidly spinning perch. People love watching this. Pretty soon the squirrel stops coming back. In fact, some people let the battery die and when the squirrels start coming back they will put in a recharged battery and let the show begin again!
Finally we talked about bird feeds. You can treat your bird food with Cole’s ‘Flaming Squirrel’ hot sauce. You use a few drops of this to treat your food with habanero pepper sauce. This will burn their little mouths and then they stop eating at your feeders. This doesn’t affect your birds since they don’t have taste buds, but any mammal will sure be surprised when they feed. Cole’s also makes ‘Hot Meats’ which is shelled sunflower seeds that have already been treated. If you are looking for more information you can stop by any Backyard Bird Shop and pick up an informational flyer or check out their website.
Smith Berry Festival
It is time for the 14th Annual Berry Festival at Smith Berry Barn (503-628-2172) on Scholls Ferry Road. On the 4th of July from 11am to 4pm, you can stop by and enjoy fresh berry desserts, wine tasting, hot off the grill sausages and hot dogs, and live music. This is a family friendly event with face painting and balloons. You can also stop by the gift shop to pick up some gourmet products and sample a fresh berry milkshake. Plus there will be a ‘Berried’ Treasure Hunt for the kids. You can also go out and do a little u-picking of your favorite berries.
Joelle also talked about how to pick berries. Everyone has picked strawberries, but not too many people know when raspberries and blackberries are ripe. When you are picking raspberries you shouldn’t have to pull too hard to get them off the plant. Ripe raspberries will leave the center plug on the plant when you pull them. Blackberries should come off easily too, but they will keep the center core with the berries when you pick it. You can taste one to make sure it is ripe and then look for similar berries in color and shape. Don’t forget to look under the branches. Sometimes the biggest berries are hiding under the branches!
Joelle talked about how well the berries are this year and they taste great! They have lots of new varieties that are ripe for the picking every day and you can check their website for a daily update on what is ripe in the field. Take some home to remember your day in the country!
TOW – Raking Needles
The summer means bare feet in the grass, unless you have fir trees in your backyard! Our tip this week will help make your lawn more bare-foot friendly! After you mow your lawn, simply give your lawn a quick rake and then mow again. The quick raking will draw some of those pesky needles to the surface and they will be picked up by the second pass with a mower. Once we get into the middle of summer you will not have to do it quite as often, since the trees will drop fewer needles then.
Landscape Watering Tools – RWPC
When the heat is on, so are the sprinklers in your yard. This could cause some pain to your wallet when you get those water bills. We went to an expert to see if there were some easy and inexpensive ways to save water, and money! Kevin McCabe is the Water Conservation Coordinator at City of Lake Oswego and part of the team at the Regional Water Providers Consortium. He knows water! We met behind a house where he was checking out a programming device for a sprinkler system. This device helps you control when your system goes on and shuts off. The problem is when people set it for the hottest time of the year in the middle of summer and then don’t turn it back when it cools off. That means you may be throwing more water on your lawn than you need to for part of the time. We then walked over to a tiny little device that was setting out in the open and wired to the programmer. This was a moisture detector. This registers when it rains and then shuts your system off so you don’t waste water when it starts to sprinkle. Once it dries out your system goes back to normal. But these 2 tips were only the start.
We moved to the front of the house to see where the sprinklers were in the lawn. Kevin had some tools with him that would be a great help to the home gardener. The first was a water timer. This is a simple valve that you attach to your hose bib and then you can just turn the timer to the number of minutes you want for your plants. It will shut off when the time is up. No more forgetting when you turned on the sprinkler. The other tool he had was a moisture detector. This is a tool that you just put in the ground or in a pot and it will tell you when your plants are dry. The final tool was Kevin’s ‘lawn cocktail cup’. They were actually watering gauge cups. You place these in your lawn when you are watering to see how much water you are putting down on your grass. This will help you get to the one inch of water per week goal we are all aiming for.
Finally we talked about replacing your sprinkler heads. The sprinkler industry developed uniform standards a few years ago and now you can replace your old sprinklers with new, water efficient, sprinkler heads. It was as simple as pulling the sprinkler up, unscrewing the old nozzle and screwing on the new one. If you would like to get more tips for saving water and money, both indoors and out, check out the Regional Water Providers Consortium. We also have this wonderful handout that you can download now.
Gartner’s 4th Short Ribs
The 4th of July is one of the biggest grilling days of the year. Everyone is itching to get outside and start enjoying the summer after the cold winter. People also don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking! So if you are looking to save time, enjoy your company and get everything in one place, we have your answer, Gartner’s Meats (503-252-7801)! Jerry Yost invited us back again to his grill to show us how easy the holiday can be! He brought out the #1 best seller they have, the marinated short ribs. These are so easy you won’t even work up a sweat cooking them. Just a couple minutes on each side and they are done! You can also fill up your holiday table with cole slaw, macaroni salad, pasta salad, baked beans, rice, twice baked potatoes, garlic bread and even a dessert. Gartner’s makes it easy. After over 50 years in the Portland area they have grilling down to an art!