The heat goes on... We were all complaining a few months ago and now I just wish for a few more clouds and a light shower or two. The best thing about this heat is that your vegetable garden should be loving it! Heat means a good harvest for most of your garden vegetables. Just remember the water! Speaking of water… Remember to do your watering early in the day so that the water has a chance to dry off your leaves and not create mildew problems on your plants.
Also, a reminder for our viewers in the Eugene area. Check out some of the events surrounding the anniversary of the filming of Animal House. Especially if you are in the Cottage Grove area!
This week we featured...
Tsugawa Summer Flowers
The summer heat can really beat up some plants in the garden. To find a few plants that love the summer heat we stopped by Tsugawa Nursery (360-225-8750) in Woodland. Brian brought out a few plants that offer textures, colors, foliage or flowers that can help you beat the heat. We started with a dwarf butterfly bush. This one was called ‘Purple Haze’. The older varieties are not allowed to be sold in our area because their seed spread too easily so they became invasive. These newer varieties are sterile and have no seeds. They are also prolific bloomers and are loved by bees, hummingbirds and butterflies. The next plant was a variegated Rose of Sharon (part of the hibiscus family)called ‘Summer Ruffle’. Not only are the blooms of this one numerous, but the foliage color really makes this plant stand out. The next two plants were both Summersweet. These plants are known for their spikes of tiny flowers that bees love. Both ‘Ruby Spice’ and ‘Crystalina’ have the waxy type leaves that help them stay healthy when the weather is dry. The next plant was an old favorite in the garden, a viburnum. This one was a variety with lots of colorful berries, which the birds love, named ‘Cranberrybush Compactum’. The dark foliage of the next plant really set this one apart from the others on the cart. The dark foliage of the Crepe Myrtle ‘Sunset Magic’ is complimented by some deep red flowers in mid to late summer. Crepe myrtles are becoming very popular and this one is a must have for the summer garden. The next plant is a relative of the onion family. Agapanthus, or Lily of the Nile, are striking plants when they are blooming. This variety, ‘Blue Leap’, had a huge bloom on top of a long stalk. Very striking in the garden! The next plant was a very aggressive bloomer! Heleniums with their prolific ‘daisy like’ flower keep blooming all summer long!!! This one named ‘Chelsey’ was a wonderful orange/yellow/red combination in the bloom which is attractive to bees and humans alike! If you are looking for a plant that is pretty and attractive to the wildlife, the ‘Crazy Blue’ Russian Sage is the one for you. This one with the tall whispy flower stalks is very attractive in the perennial garden. They move with every breeze that blows through your beds. The final plant was another favorite for humans and beneficial insects. The Aster ‘Prince Calico’ will reward the human eye with great color blooms and reward the insect with lots of pollen and nectar!
If you are looking for some great late summer plants, check out Tsugawa’s, or your local independent garden center!
Tomato and Garlic Fest
Nothing beats the great flavors of summer and two of the most popular flavors are tomatoes and garlic, and coming next weekend you can get plenty of both at the Heirloom Tomato and Garlic Festival at Northwest Organic Farms in Ridgefield, Washington. To learn more about this wonderful little festival, we stopped by the farm to talk to Joyce, one of the owners. She gave William a quick history about the farm and how they started growing organic vegetables. This love of natural and organic vegetables has helped create the festival they celebrate now. The festival is happening on the 18th of August at the farm from 10am to 6pm. You can stop by and enjoy tomato tasting by the Washington State Master Gardeners and a group of other vendors as well. Don’t forget to pick up your share of tomatoes and garlic, and enjoy the tastes of summer.
Jan’s August Tips
This month Judy was sneaking some triple crown blackberries out of Jan’s McNeilan’s garden and caught Jan doing a little clean-up work. Jan was thinning out some of the runners in her grape patch. These late season vines do nothing for production and actually shade the grapes which slows their ripening a little. By cutting out the excess vines, and not the grapes, she is going to help ripen those grapes and even prevent some mildew issues later this season. This is also the time when she cuts back the old raspberry canes that have already produced in her garden. Some of these are already turning brown and can be cut back to the ground. The newer greener canes can be left since they will continue to produce berries well into fall. Other berries need your attention too. June-bearing strawberries can be cut back to the crown and fertilized. This will get them ready for a good fruiting year next spring. Jan also told us that you should be deep watering your plants right now. Deep soaking your trees and shrubs will ensure that they stay happy and healthy through this long hot summer. Jan also mentioned that yellowjacket wasps are pretty aggressive during these shortening days of summer. She recommends that you use pheromone traps around your outdoor entertaining areas and even Bounce dryer sheets to throw off their chemical receptors so they can’t smell your great summer grilling. Finally, she had an update on the Meyer’s Lemon. Lot of new growth and no blooms yet. We’ll check in next month to see what the tree is up to!
The berries are ripe for the picking and it is time to whip up some mid-summer treats! To see how the experts use their berries we stopped by Smith Berry Barn (503-628-2172) and popped in the kitchen with Joelle. Joelle was using both fresh blueberries and frozen blackberries for this one-pan skillet cobbler. She poured about 5 cups of blackberries and 2 cups of blueberries in a large bow and she had William start by mixing about one cup of sugar with a little cornstarch and about a tablespoon of cinnamon together. Then he poured this into a bowl and they used it to coat the berries. Joelle also used the zest of one lemon and the juice from half that same lemon on the fruit mixture as well. While this mixture was going together Joelle had her skillet preheating in the oven with about 2 tablespoons of butter. This berry mixture goes into the skillet and into the oven at 350.
While the oven was cooking the berries it was time to mix up the biscuits. These will go on top of the berries to create the ‘cobbler’. Flour, Sugar, baking powder and salt were combined in a bowl. Then 4 tablespoons of butter that was cubed was added to the flour mixture. This was mixed together until it was a cottage cheese consistency. A half cup of heavy cream was then added and the mixture was hand tossed and formed into 7 biscuit shapes. These biscuits went on top of the berries in the skillet and were brushed with a little heavy cream and a light dusting of sugar. they were cooked at 400 for another 25 to 30 minutes, until the biscuits were a golden brown. This recipe is just one of many that you can get from the Smith Berry Barn website. Stop by the store and they will have all the ingredients for your favorite summer dishes!
TOW – Pool Plants
The heat makes us all thirsty! Our garden tip of the week helps quench the thirst of your hanging baskets and small container gardens. We found a small ‘kiddie’ pool, filled it ½ full of water and set our driest plants in the water. During those days that have excessive heat, the plants really like the extra water and we don’t have to worry about constant watering. There are a couple of precautions you have to follow. Don’t leave them in there for more than a day or two; they can get too much of a good thing and that may create mold, fungus or disease problems. And don’t over fill the pool. Allowing the plant to take what it needs from the pool is good, drowning it is not!