Harvest festivals are in full swing! This weekend marks the midway point for the fall festivals. There are so many great ones out there and we’ve showcased a few already on the show. The fall festivals also mark the wrap up to our summer gardening. We are getting into planting new plants for next year and putting stuff away for the colder weather to come. Make sure you pay attention to the forecasts and be aware of the freezing temps yet to come.
This week we featured...
Bringing Indoor Plants Back Inside
A lot of people take their indoor plants outside during the summer months. It is good to get them some sun and fresh air, but now is the time to bring them indoors for the coming winter. We have some tips that will help keep them healthy and happy. First, start adjusting them for the reduced light and watering they may encounter indoors. Next, prune off the old, dead or diseased leaves and limbs. Finally, get those bugs! Hit your plants with a stream of water from the hose. This will clean them up and get rid of most of your bad bugs that are on the plant. Next you will want to spray your plant with an insecticide or you can add a granular systemic product that will work for 6 months or more. You can use one of the commercially available products out there. If you are concerned about chemicals or you have a citrus (or other edible plant) you can choose an insecticidal soap or Neem Oil product. The insecticides will kill the sucking insects, the natural products smother them. Once you bring your plants in you will want to protect the floor around them. Use a drip tray or saucer under your plants to catch the water. Also, you want to place your larger plants on a plant caddie so you can roll them around easily. Check with your local independent garden centers for more tips.
Fall and Winter Interest Plants
There are lots of plants that will keep your garden interesting during the cold and rainy winter months ahead. Carol Westergreen of Out in the Garden Nursery (503-829-4141) in Molalla met with us to share some of her favorites. We started with Sarcococca which is also known as Sweet Box. This plant is sweet! It has an incredible sweet fragrance during the winter months that will knock your socks off. It is a low grower and is not much to look at, but the smell is heavenly. The next plant was the Leucothoe ‘Zegreb’. This one is known for the great dark foliage that shows up in the cold. The leaves are a normal green for much of the year, but during the winter they get a wonderful burgundy. Plant number three was the Viburnum ‘Spirit’. This is a sun lover and was developed for the ‘cut flower’ industry because it grows upright and has long lasting beautiful flower buds. A nice bright display for your garden. The next plant was a structure plant. It was an Ilex (holly) called ‘Sky Pencil’. This one is a tall and narrow one that grows slowly, to about an 8 foot height. The next plant looked like a holly but is really an Osmanthus called ‘Goshiki’. It is a slow growing plant that likes sun or shade and it has an incredible variegated foliage that brightens up the garden. It can even have a fragrance when it blooms in the fall. If you are looking for something small, the dwarf pieris ‘Little Heath’ is the one for you. This one stays small and is great for containers. It has a cream colored edge to the foliage that will get pink or a light burgundy color in the winter. The tallest plant in her mix was next. This was an Edgeworthia, also known as Chinese Paper Bush, because the Chinese used it to make paper. This is not an evergreen plant, losing its leaves around November, but it produces a bright yellow bloom in late January that is very fragrant! Another interesting part of this plant is the bark which looks cool and the fact that it almost always branches in sets of three. A very low ground cover plant is the Cyclamen. These come in a bunch of different varieties that bloom at different times. One variety blooms first in fall, with tiny flower stalks that get a couple inches tall, then they grow their foliage. Another variety sends up their foliage now and then they bloom in January. Unlike the ‘florist cyclamen’ that you get as a holiday gift, these varieties are very hardy for our area. Speaking of hardy, the final group of plants were ferns. Carol had a wonderful selection of ferns including some shorter varieties. The first was a Maidenhair Fern which stays small and evergreen, and doesn’t look like a fern at all. Then there are the Hearts Tongues Ferns. These look like little broad swords coming out of the ground. They actually change as they grow, so they look like one plant when little and then like something else when they get larger. Then we finished with a variety of shield ferns, all of them different and great for the winter garden! If you are looking to add some winter interest to your garden stop by and see Carol. Hurry, she’ll be closing the nursery for the winter in just a week!
A few years ago we heard of a product that was supposed to replace the wheelbarrow in our garden. We recently saw the Leafhopper being used by our friends at Heirloom Roses by their staff in the garden and we were impressed. We finally had a chance to try it out and meet the inventor and we can say, this is a great tool for any garden. The Leafhopper was invented by Mari Rittenour. Mari had some health issues a few years ago and needed something other than a wheelbarrow to move material around her garden. She came up with the Leafhopper and it has taken off! The Leafhopper is great for weeding… you simply throw all your yard debris and clippings on the Leafhopper and then, when it is full, you use the Velcro to secure it and then pick it up with the shoulder straps and carry it to your compost bin or pile. The shoulder straps allow you to continue to use both hands and is easier on your back. If you are moving mulch to your garden you can use it for that as well. Place your mulch on the Leafhopper and, when full, carry it to the garden bed and then use it to precisely place it around your garden. Quick and easy. If you would like to try this great product you can find it at independent garden centers (like Al’s Garden Center or Portland Nursery), or check out the retail locator on Mari’s website.
Jan's October Tips
This month Jan is like everyone else we know, she is wrapping up her gardening. We met her in her backyard with loppers in her hand. She was cutting the extremely tall roses down to about 3-4 feet high. These super tall canes catch the wind and whip back and forth, causing possible damage to your plants. She was saving the blooms off the end of these canes to take inside before the frost gets them. Right now they are still beautiful, but after the frost they will turn to mush. We then started talking about fruit flies. You will notice them in your kitchen this time of year. Blame it on the fresh fruits and vegetables on your kitchen counter. A couple of tips to control them. Clean up all your fruit. Place it in a sealed bag or store it in the fridge. Then clean off all your counter spaces. Finally, set up a trap for these tiny pests. Jan used a blackberry cider, but you can also use beer yeast or apple cider vinegar. Pour a little in a bowl and then add a couple drops of liquid dish soap to the mix. The cider will attract the bugs and the soap breaks the surface tension of the liquid. Once they land they sink to the bottom of the dish.
You can also clean up your veggies now. Cut the nearly ripe tomatoes and peppers and take them inside where they can finish ripening, then cut the plants down and compost them before they get all mushy and diseased. You can leave the roots in the soil to break down and leave nutrients for next year’s crop! For more gardening tips you can check out the OSU Extension website, http://extension.oregonstate.edu/gardening.
Smith Baked Apples
This is the season of the apple. There are lots of apple type festivals happening in the next few weeks, but what can you do with all these apples? To get a couple of ideas for baked apples we stopped by Smith Berry Barn (503-628-2172) and met Joelle in the kitchen. Smith Berry Barn sells a ton of different apples that they grow on the property and Joelle has become an expert on how to prepare them. Today she was showing us two different recipes that you could use. The first one was a baked apple standing on end. This one was pretty easy. First you core your apple and stand it on its end with the cored hole on top in a baking dish. Then you mix a traditional ‘apple crisp’ topping together in a bowl. This combines butter, flour, brown sugar, oatmeal, chopped hazelnuts, ground cinnamon, salt and some freshly grated nutmeg together in a bowl. Once mixed you simply fill the center core with this mixture until it overflows. Then add some of the apple cider to the bottom of the dish, until it covers the bottom with a ¼ to ½ inch of cider. Then bake for 35-45 minutes until the apple can be pierced with a fork.
The other recipe was even easier. This one starts with a cored apple sliced in half. Lay them in your baking dish with the cored side up. Place a teaspoon of fruit jam in the center of the apple, we used Smith Berry Barn’s own raspberry jam. Then sprinkle the crisp topping on top of that, add the apple cider as before, and bake. Serve both with a nice helping of vanilla ice cream!
These are just a couple of the recipes that you will find on the Smith Barry Barn website. Also on the website you will find a daily update on what they have fresh at the farm, so you will know what is ripe before you head out the door! Check them out this Sunday for their 23rd annual Heirloom Apple Festival on October 16th from noon to 4pm. There are lots of activities including live music, hot food off the grill and tons of family activities, oh, and don’t forget the apples!