Brrr… the rain and breezy winds are turning our fall to winter pretty fast! Maybe it’s just me. I really enjoy the late season heat of our typical Northwest falls. Then I heard a local forecaster say that we might have a ‘snow event’ or two in the coming months. Woohoo! Now I’m looking forward to winter! Still, there are things to do in the garden yet. We just called 811 to have some utility lines located before we moved a large lilac. Good thing! There is a gas line right under the bush, we will be very careful in moving it! Always remember to call before you dig!
Other things to do in the garden during the fall include digging, dividing and planting. We have a few stories in this week’s show dealing with that. Enjoy!
This week we featured...
Fall is the time for planting. It is also the time to dig and divide your favorite perennials. This week William visited the experts at Adelman Peony Gardens (503-393-6185) to learn how to dig and divide peonies. Carol Adelman showed us how easy it is to do. She even told us that you don’t need to divide your plants as you would with other perennials. These plants don’t get overgrown or choke themselves if they get too large. Still you can use this technique to get extra plants for your friends and neighbors. The keys to success are to make sure you dig a large root, make sure your divisions include an ‘eye’ and to build a good planting area for your new root with a quality bulb fertilizer and a little lime. Carol even showed us how the rules remain the same for different styles of peonies. If you have questions about peonies or you are interested in purchasing one, you can contact them at the gardens.
A few minutes now will lead to a flavorful future. Garlic is one of the most flavorful of plants and one that is very popular with gardeners and chefs alike. To learn more about planting garlic we visited with Gordon at Three D Ranch near Gales Creek. Planting now will allow the garlic bulbs to create the roots that will make for a bountiful harvest next summer. First you want to prepare the soil. Gordon starts the process in mid-summer with a cover crop and horse manure. That is roto-tilled into the soil in late summer. Rows are made and the cloves are pushed in about 4 inches apart (it can vary depending on the type of garlic planted). The soil is mounded over the cloves and then Gordon covers everything with leaves and garden mulch to protect it over the winter. You then harvest the large bulbs in the mid to late summer.
We then moved to a table that showcased the wide variety of garlic viable to the home gardener. There are lots of different styles and flavors. Each one is suitable to different uses and recipes. Garlic is one of the easiest bulbs to grow, so this could be the start of a successful garden for next year. If you don’t want to tackle growing your own, or you want to try a variety of different styles, you can find Three D Ranch garlic at the Beaverton Farmers Market or a bunch of other farmers markets. Check their website for the location nearest you!
Portland Nursery Apple Tasting
Be prepared for a celebration!!! A is for apple and you will find a ton of apples (and pears) at Portland Nursery’s (503-231-5050) 29th Annual Apple tasting at the Stark Street location. This landmark celebration features over 50 different varieties of apples and pears available to taste. This is an event for the whole family. There is a kid’s area with face painting, a scavenger hunt and pumpkin painting. There are demonstrations, fresh baked apple strudel and live music are also on the list of activities. Another reason for stopping by is to get a chance to vote for the best scarecrow. Fellow shoppers have entered their best scarecrows for the chance to win prizes. You can also shop from a variety of local vendors that will be offering local honey, mustard, jams and a whole lot more. Special events include a special ‘Elder Day’ on the 12th from 1-3pm with discounts for seniors, and everyday discounts on apple prices. You can also help out your community too. While the event is free, you can bring a non-perishable food item for the Oregon Food Bank! And don’t forget the fresh pressed cider! Speaking of cider, you can sample hard ciders and attend a cider making workshop! Now is the time to also take advantage of all the wonderful fall perennials available at both locations of Portland Nursery. Come see these and a bunch more at the tasting!
Cranberry Harvest and Festival
Did you know that we can grow cranberries in the Northwest? In fact, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia are major growers of this native American plant. The harvest season for this great little berry starts in mid-September and runs until the middle of November. To learn more about the cranberry and how it is harvested we drove up to Long Beach and Ilwaco in Washington State. Our first stop was the Washington State University Research and Extension unit, and the Cranberry Museum in Long Beach. The Research unit has over 10 acres of research plots and production fields where they test new varieties of berries and, during the fall, demonstrate harvesting for visitors. We met with WSU Extension Agent, Kim Patton, to learn about the cranberry plants they grow there. He told us that the cranberry is a low growing vine and they are looking for better yield, higher fruit quality, disease resistance and pest management. They are long lived and look the same whether they are 3 years old or 100 years old. The cranberry is considered a ‘super fruit’ by most nutritionists because of their high content of proanthocyanidins, an antioxidant which helps overall cell health. They grow in their beds during the growing season and are pollinated by bees. When they are mature the growing beds can be flooded for harvesting, and that is where we went next.
Our second stop was at the CranMac Farm where they had flooded the bog and had a crew pulling floating booms gathering all the cranberries. Ardell McPhail joined Judy to explain the process. First they flood the bog for 2 days to get the water level up and over the top of the plants. Then they take a mechanized beater into the bog and it beats the plant until the berries rise to the surface. Then they are corralled by the crew with floating booms to one area of the bog. Then a conveyor is set up and it scoops the berries up and out of the bog and into bins located on a truck. These are taken to the Ocean Spray processing plant. This process is called wet harvesting. Almost all of the berries processed this way will be turned into juices and sauces. The whole berries that you buy in store are usually ‘dry harvested’, which is more labor intensive and gentler on the fruit.
All this work will be celebrated this weekend as the Long Beach peninsula hosts the Cranberrian Fair on October 8th and 9th from 10am to 4pm. Betsy Millard from the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum told Judy how the Cranberrian Fair is celebrated in 2 different locations. In Ilwaco at the CPHM they will have a lot of vendors and activities featuring local artisans and demonstrations. People can see pottery, jewelry, paintings, homemade pies and even a blacksmith. They will even have the Nahcotta train car open for tours. This only happens twice a year! There is a $5 fee to get into the CPHM, but the other museum open this weekend is free.
Judy then talked to Melinda Crowley from the Cranberry Museum in Long Beach. This museum is back at the WSU Research Station where we started the day. It has some great displays of the history of cranberries on the Washington coast. You can see some of the machinery that they used and learn about the differences between dry and wet harvesting. That is also the location of the bogs where they will be demonstrating a wet harvest. The museum also has a great gift shop. It is loaded with everything cranberry. You can find clothing, cards and lots of tasty cranberry flavored treats (try the ice cream!)
There is a trolley that will shuttle people between both locations so you can enjoy both museums for a fun and educational time.