Welcome to our first hour long show of 2019. Every year we expand the show an extra 30 minutes to an hour for 13 weeks in the spring. There is so much to do and see in the garden, and around our area, that we have to go a little longer. Enjoy the expanded show!
We are also a week away from the GardenPalooza event at Fir Point Farms. Get ready for some gardening fun with over 40 garden vendors. Lots to see and do, and it’s all free! More info can be found at www.GardenPalooza.com.
This week we featured...
Do you have an urban jungle in your home, or do you want one. If you do, houseplants are your answer. Houseplants have always been popular, but even more so in the past few years. To learn about the basics of house plants we stopped by the Portland Nursery (503-788-9000) on Division to talk to Sean about their care and feeding. Sean started by talk about the most important things people should consider when buying a plant, light and water. Just like in your garden, putting the right plant in the right place is extremely important. We started with light conditions. No plant can grow in total darkness, but there are some that tolerate low levels of light without too many problems.
For bright light plants, those that like bright windows and not direct sunlight, you can pick up a Ficus or a Ti Plant. These are great go to plants for near larger windows. For areas a little further away from the windows you can go with Dracaenas, dragon tree, or corn plant. These plants will survive in the medium light conditions, but actually prefer a little brighter light too. For those low light areas you can use plants that are more tolerant like the Parlor Palm, some ferns and Snake plant.
Next we talked about watering. People tend to kill their plants with kindness. We love them to death by giving them too much water. You can actually let your plants dry out a little between watering. Stick your finger in the soil and if the first inch or so is a little dry, that might not be a bad thing. When they are dry, water them until the water leaks out of the bottom and let them drain in the sink. You should never let your plant sit in a saucer full of water. As Sean said, the saucer is for the health of your table not the health of your plant. Your watering will be by ‘feel’ after you get used to your plants. They may to be watered more in the heat of summer than in the cold of winter. This is where your ‘finger test’ will serve you well.
If your plant is dropping leaves or wilting regularly, you may need to repot it into a bigger container. Pick a container that is only a size or two bigger. Don’t go with a huge pot.
If you would like to learn more about houseplants, you can stop by either location of Portland Nursery, but the Division street store is huge and is like walking into a tropical forest!
Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest
We visited the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm for the Annual Wooden Shoe Tulip Fest (1-800-711-2006). This event showcases the fields full of beautiful tulip blooms. This year the cold weather has the fields slowing down with their blooms, but don’t worry there are lots of blooms to see! Barb met Judy in the gift shop and wine tasting area to show us that there is so much more than just the fields. She told us that even with the cold temperatures the fields are doing great. The wet conditions are another matter. For the home gardener you might see a mold or spotting on your leaves, this is a botrytis (a mold) and you should pick those stems out and throw them away! Still, the festival is always changing and this year is no different. They have recently added their CBD store to the wine tasting room. There is another way where you can come early or stay late in the fields and that is with a season pass. This pass is good for the whole season and you can use it as many times as you like . Plus you will be able to get into the fields an hour before sunrise and stay an hour after sunset.
Still, this is a festival about the blooms! One area that we found interesting was the small display areas out in the fields. These areas featured all of the bulbs that they have planted in the field. You can take a look at these bulbs and compare them side by side. Once you figure out what you want, you can order them for next year. Also, if you are confused about which ones to get, you can order special prepackaged mixes of bulbs. This guarantees that you will have a nice combination of bulbs that will continue blooming for months. The flower fields are soon to be hitting their peak and the farm is full of events and it is still a must see for anyone, even non-flower lovers. Every weekend they are packed with different activities including a wooden shoe carver, pony rides, arts and crafts, and other entertainment for a small fee. Even when the weather is a little damp, the fields never disappoint. You can even check out their ‘field report’ link on their webpage for the most up-to-date bloom report. Bring a camera; this is a scene you have to capture on film!
Blooming Advantage Production
When you buy plants at your local garden center, have you ever wondered where they come from? We are blessed in the Pacific Northwest with a large number of quality growers. One of the best of the bunch is Blooming Advantage in Cornelius near Hillsboro. Grace joined William in one of the greenhouses to tell him how they get their plants from seeds and cutting to the larger plants you buy at your nursery. It starts with plant selection. Finding a quality plant or seed that people love and will do well in our area and climate. Once that plant is selected, the seed or cutting is lovingly planted and pampered with good water, fertilizer and heat. After it is established, they are potted into larger containers and eventually the environment gets a little tougher!
These plants are then moved outside so they can get used to our growing conditions. This exposure to colder conditions changes the plant at a cellular level. It gets to be a tougher plant! They also work to make the soil work better with this tougher plant. They use compost tea and mycorrhizae to make a better soil for the plant. Blooming Advantage does this for between 2,000 and 3,000 different varieties of plants that they grow. So if you are looking for a plant that is happy and will do well in your garden, check out the Blooming Advantage line of plants in the burgundy containers.
Bauman Open House
Spring has finally arrived and Bauman’s Farm and Garden is ready to celebrate. We met with Brian to see how they are marking the beginning of the season. Brian was in one of the greenhouses pulling out plants for GardenPalooza, but these are also around his nursery too. The first plant he showed us was a Pillar Geranium. These are geraniums that can grow into towers that are 6 feet or taller. Of course they are on the tender side, but if you bring them in during the winter, a start of 6 inches will become a plant of 6 feet in a few years. Another great plant, on a smaller scale was a primrose called ‘Blue Zebra’. This one had white blooms with bluish/purple veins. The 3rd plant was a foliage plant with soft fuzzy leaves called Angel Wings. The final plant that he is bringing to GardenPalooza is a Senetti called ‘Ruby’ with deep red flowers that were just starting to bloom!
If you can’t wait for GardenPalooza, you can stop by Bauman’s this weekend for their final day of their Spring Open House. The nursery is filled with classes and sales to help you get everything ready for the warmer weather. Classes include presentations by Bailey Nursery, Espoma, and Hines Growers. There are also coupons for big discounts and specials on a lots of plants and products.
In addition, the store is full of other great indoor plants and home décor items for spring. You can also enjoy fresh vegetables, baked goods and even some of their delicious cider. Check out their website and then head over to Bauman’s and get your spring off to a great start.
We have all heard about different phases and cycles of the moon, like ‘blue moon’, ‘harvest moon’ and others, but did you know that the moon has also determined planting harvest times for millennia. Lunar Gardening or Moon Gardening refers to planting and harvesting by the cycles of the moon. You can see what the moon does if you go to the beach. The pull of the moon creates the waves and tides that we see. Some people believe this holds true for the moisture in the ground too. For example, the new moon is supposed to draw water to the surface and that makes it a good time to plant seeds since the water is near the top of the soil. A full moon is good for plants with established roots or root crops. There are also nuances to gardening and other phases of the moon as well. To learn more, check out the April 2019 edition of Garden Time magazine where William gives us a little more information. (that issue will be out in the next few days). Go here to sign up for a free subscription, it will be sent to your email.
Fred Meyer Fuchsia Day
Fuchsias are one of the most beautiful plants in the summer garden and they are easy to get started in a planter or hanging basket. To show you how easy they are to plant, we visited with Patty from Fred Meyer to pot up a quick hanging basket. We started with a layer of Black Gold All Purpose. We used the Black Gold product because it has Multicoat fertilizer so we don’t have to worry about fertilizing for a while. Then we placed a large Helichrysum ‘Silver Threads’ in the center for immediate color and texture, and then squeezed in 7 more fuchsia starts around the edges. When you are planting new plants remember to break up the roots a little bit to stimulate new growth. This planter will give us waves of color through the summer. Fuchsias are also one of the easiest to winter over on your deck or patio. You don’t have to just use fuchsias, there are lots of plants that were looking great in the Fred Meyer nursery that would work well in a basket or container. If you are scared about planting new plants you can stop by any Fred Meyer store on Saturday April 6th from 7am-4pm to have them plant up your plants for you. Just buy the plants and the pot at Freddy’s and they will plant it with free Black Gold for you.
Terra Casa Fountains
There is nothing like the sound of water in the garden and one of the best ways to bring the sound to your backyard is with a fountain from Terra Casa (503-577-8242). We took a walk with Diana to see some of the different styles that they have at the store. At Terra Casa they say that they can make a fountain out of any container at their store and now we believe them. Diana told us how you can build a fountain above ground or even make a small feature that can be buried in your backyard. They will even come out and dig the hole for you and install it. The coolest feature that we saw was how they designed their water features so you can adjust the amount of splash you get. The valve is just right below the surface of the water, so all you have to do is reach in and turn the valve! In the outside display area they had fountains made from clay, stone and ceramic. Plus they have one of the largest displays of pottery in the Metro area, so you can find something that will work in your garden. But what if you have a small deck or patio? Diana took us over to another area near the store where we saw smaller, self-contained fountains. These little fountains would work in any size area and help bring that soothing water sound closer to you. They even have fountains for indoors too!
If you love décor whether indoors or out, stop by Terra Casa. They are just 10 minutes east of Clackamas Town Center in Damascus.
Bartlett Backyard Wildlife
We all want wildlife in our backyards and gardens, and to attract them and make them welcome we sometimes need to look at the environment that we are providing for them. To learn a few tricks on what we can do to create that we talked to Ryan Gilpin from Bartlett Tree Experts (503-722-7267). Ryan is an expert on tree preservation and how wildlife interacts with trees.
A good example of how we can work on preserving wildlife is during our spring pruning. Spring is also nesting time for birds and they are trapped in one location for raising their young. We need to be attentive to their needs right now and avoid destroying habitat and creating a disturbance.
Another example of helping our birds is in dealing with dead branches and rotting trees. These types of trees can be a home or source of food for many birds and animals. Knowing that you can balance a need for safety for people and preserving habitat is very important. Getting a qualified arborist is key to keeping that balance.
Two things that Ryan recommended for homeowners are, number one, to observe. Get out in your garden and see how nature is using your garden and landscape. Then, number two, work at creating a welcoming habitat for them including leaving dead trees when possible or at least dead branches and debris on the ground for ground dwelling series. For more information on trees and wildlife, check with Bartlett Tree Experts or the website, Tree Care for Birds (https://treecareforbirds.com).
Mole Cinch Trap
One of the most common pests in the NW garden is the mole. They can really tear up your flower bed and lawn. There are lots of products out there to deter them. Don Sprague of Don Sprague Sales (1-800-423-0158) has found that most of them don’t work too well. The products that don’t seem to work include the vibrators, the home remedies, and the gases and bombs. And with some of these products you may be doing more harm to your garden than the moles. The problem with getting rid of moles, if you don’t remove them, they will just leave and will return later. The best way of getting rid of moles is to trap them. Don showed us how to use the Cinch Trap. The Cinch Trap is VERY effective. This product will trap them and remove them forever. It is a permanent solution to your mole problems.
Coastal Urban Chickens
One of the hottest trends in gardening is the idea of growing your own food. For some that means a vegetable garden. For others, they want to go a little further and bring poultry to their gardens. The benefits of chickens are many. They can help control insects and pests by eating them. They can help with fertilizing by just doing their ‘business’ as they walk around your garden. They can also bring you fresh eggs. Plus there is the added benefit of just looking cool! To learn more about chickens we stopped by Coastal Farm & Ranch in Albany and talked to Forrest. If you have decided to have chickens in your garden you will want to get a few items to help them thrive. First of all you will need to get at least 3-4 baby chicks to start. In Portland the law says you can have 3 hens in your backyard. Remember to check with your town or county to see what the regulations are for your area. In some towns they don’t allow backyard poultry at all! Sometimes one of the chicks turns out to be a rooster and then you will have to get rid of it. Chickens are also social creatures and they are happier if they have company in the garden. As far as supplies you will need equipment for feeding and watering them. Smaller chicks will also need a heat lamp to grow. Then you will also need shelter for them. Even when they grow larger, chickens are not self-sufficient. You will need to feed them and make sure they have all that they need to thrive. Also, people move them around the garden from time to time to give them a fresh place to scratch and peck.
Some people have asked us about the type of chicken (layer or broiler) and whether certain chickens are better layers than others. Forrest told us that there are so many breeds available that you really have a wide choice of options! The best thing you can do is talk to one of the experts at Coastal! They can help you get your chicks off to a great start and then they are there to help you as the chickens grow up!
If you are interested in raising chickens stop by your local Coastal store and get all your questions answered. They can help you be successful as a urban chicken rancher!
Tip of the Week – Spring Wasp Prevention
It may seem weird that we are putting out traps for wasps and yellow jackets in the spring, but next to the late summer this is the best time to use them. Our friends at Rescue (they make those cool yellow Wasp, Hornet, and Yellow Jacket traps) told us why it is a good time to put them out now. In the early spring the queens emerge from their winter hibernation and look for places to make their nests for the new season. If you get them now they won’t be around to create a nest of nasty pests to ruin your summer fun. Take down your old traps, clean and refresh them with the pheromone attractant packets available at most of your local garden centers. To make your hunting more effective, place a couple of traps around the perimeter of your yard and garden.
Kindergarten – Seed Bombs
With spring finally here you might be thinking about planting your flower seeds outside. This week we have a great project that you can do with your kids that will get them interested in gardening while planting some great wildflower seeds. We are talking about ‘seed bombs’. They are called Seed Bombs because they leave a burst of color wherever you throw them, and they’re easy to make! You start by tearing up paper into tiny pieces. Try to not use glossy papers or newsprint (the ink will stain your hands). Once you have your paper ripped up you put it in a bowl of water and let the paper break down and get mushy. This could take anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour. Once the paper is mushy you put it in a food processor and puree it. You pour this mixture into a strainer and get out as much water as you can from the mixture. Then you take a muffin tin or a cookie mold and press the moist paper mixture into the tin. Make sure that you only fill them up to a half inch in the bottom of the holes. Press a cloth on the mixture to draw out excess water and them leave them set over night (or longer) until they are dry. Once dry, sprinkle a pinch of wildflower seeds in each cup. Make sure you are using wildflower seeds that are made for your area. Some mixes of seed are meant for different parts of the country and may contain plants that are not suited for our area. Your local garden center should be able to help you pick a good blend. We found ours at Silver Falls Seed Company (503-874-8221). Once you have the seeds in the cups then you make another batch of the paper mixture. You place another layer in each container, once again keeping it around a half inch thick. Press the extra water out again and then let it dry for a couple for days. What you end up with are little discs of paper with the seeds in the middle. Now just wander around your garden and toss them around. You will end up with splashes of color when the seeds germinate and a group of kids who are now excited to be in the garden!