Gardening is cool, and the way the weather has been the last week or so, it is more about the weather temperature and not about being part of the ‘in’ crowd. These cooler days are perfect for the gardener who is trying to get some work done. It looks like this is what we have to look forward to for the extended period too. Some forecasts don’t have us back into the 90’s until August. Enjoy it while you can!
We would also like to wish everyone a safe and happy 4th of July. If you are looking for something to do, check out the Smith Berry Barn Berry Festival on the 4th. We tell you more about it in this week’s show.
As most of you may have noticed, we are back to our half hour program. We always have 13 weeks of hour long programs in the spring, but then have to cut back to our normal half hour program due to a drop in advertisers. We still think we have a great show, even if it is shorter.
This week we featured...
Table Top Gardens
You don’t need a container to build a small garden to enjoy, you just need a flat surface. These magical little gardens are called Table Top Gardens. To learn what they are and how they are made we traveled to Scappoose and visited Anna Kullgren at Joy Creek Nursery (503-543-7474). Anna is the designer and force behind Optic Verve. She loves coming to Joy Creek to build her projects due to the great plant material they have there. Table Top Gardens are something that she learned from Richie Steffen from the Elisabeth Miller Botanical Garden. He has taken an idea from George Schenk and help spread the news about these small but wonderful gardens. These gardens are built on a single slab of rock or concrete. You start with your focal point and centerpiece. Then you start adding plant material and other design pieces all the way out to the edge. Joy Creek is a retail and a mail-order nursery that has a wide selection of smaller plants. These are perfect for building a small scale garden. Once you have your garden built you can maintain it by replacing plants as they grow, or just cutting them back or dividing them. While you wait for the plants to root out, you can hold them in place with some ‘almost’ invisible fishing line. Once the plants are established and the roots are holding everything in place, you can cut the line off!
To learn more about these unique planters you can stop by Joy Creek Nursery or contact Anna through her website.
Garden Skin Protection
The summer season for gardening is here and that means more time in the sun and exposure to the elements. We decided to share some tips with you from the American Academy of Dermatology to help your skin survive the summer ahead. The first tip is to wear protective clothing and protect your skin. Use a sunscreen with a high SPF number for your skin and reapply if you are outside for a long time or are sweating a lot. The clothing, like the shirts and hats we found at Al’s Garden and Home, have a high UPF number (think SPF for clothing) and will help you with UV protection. Next be aware of the plant material you are working with. Poison Oak and Sumac are naturally dangerous plants for most people, but also be aware of plants with sap, like euphorbias, which can also cause skin irritation. Natural pests can also be a problem. Look out for bees, wasps and biting insects. If you can avoid them, great, but also know how to trap or repel them.
If you are applying sprays or other garden products, read the labels and wear the appropriate gear. Organic or synthetic, you could have a reaction and knowing what you are applying and how to treat it will be a big help. If you get a cut or abrasion, clean it thoroughly and bandage it well. We are usually working in soil or compost and getting that wound clean will help it heal faster and cause less problems in the long run.
Finally, once you are finished in the garden for the day, wash those clothes and take a shower. This will help you get rid of the sap, pollens and other garden debris that can cause a reaction with your skin. Use these few tips and your skin will thank you and you’ll have more fun in your garden.
Smith Berry Fest 2019
It is time for the 16th 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 Alpacas, farm animals and a ‘berried treasure’ hunt. You can also stop by the gift shop to pick up some gourmet products and sample a fresh berry milkshake. You can also go out and do a little u-picking of your favorite berries. With all the spring heat, the strawberries are gone, but there are tons of berries ripening every day! You can pick various varieties of blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and loganberries.
We met with Joelle to learn about how the crops ripen. Did you know that berries ripen in waves? The first picking of a crop can be a quick flush of berries on the end of the fruiting stem. After a few days the second picking may be ready. This is usually the biggest crop for picking. These will appear in clusters about halfway down the stem. Once this flush of berries is done and given a little more ripening time, you will get the third picking. These will tend to be smaller berries and can be found further down the stem and even under branches and leaves, but a lot of people will tell you that these late season berries are the most flavorful (though we think each crop is delicious!) Because of this varied ripening schedule Rich, Joelle and their crew have planted different varieties with different ripening times. In fact they have planted a bunch of newer varieties over the past few years that will ensure a longer and heavier crop for a lot of berries they grow.
When can you come out to pick these tasty berries? That is where the Smith Berry Barn website comes in! You can check out the ‘What’s Ripe’ link to know what is ready in the fields for that day. Joelle also recommended that you call right before you leave the house to make sure they still are picking. If there is a rush of people or the day gets too hot, they may have to close a certain field for picking for that day. That ensures that you get the best berries when you come out! So check out their website and come out, either for the festival on the 4th, or another time and take home home delicious berries to remember your day in the country!
Dividing and Planting Daylilies
This early summer time is the time for daylilies! These are great bloomers for the early summer and, with some varieties, even longer. To learn more about these wonderful and versatile plants we stopped at Schreiner’s Iris Gardens (503-393-3232) to talk with Ben. Now you may think that Schreiner’s only grow iris, but you would be wrong. They grow hundreds of varieties of daylilies from famous hybridizer, Bill Maryott. The colors are fabulous and the plants are incredibly durable!
How do you plant them, divide them and care for them, those were the questions we had for Ben! Daylilies can be divided and planted anytime between April and September. To divide them you find the fans. These are groupings of leaves that appear separate on the plant. Grab two different fans and pull them apart, now you have two plants! It is that simple! You can even divide them when they are blooming! Before you plant them you need to do a little trimming. Ben used a shovel and cut off the flowering stems and leaves and even trimmed the roots a little bit. He had prepared a hole with some good soil and compost and planted the new plant up to the base of the fan. He told us that watering a new plant is very important. Make sure they stay in moist soil, but not drowning in water, and you should be good. If you are looking to give your plants a little boost once they are established, he recommended a good balanced fertilizer like a 10-10-10.
If you are looking to add some great summer color to your garden, look for daylilies and check out the selection at Schreiner’s!
When we start talking about dahlias, it’s usually when we reach August when they start to bloom! A lot of dahlia varieties start to hit full bloom in the middle of the summer heat, but there is one exception, the micro dahlias! We stopped by to talk with Larry Smith from the Portland Dahlia Society in his garden. He told us that there are a lot of these newer, smaller varieties that are hitting the market every year and he had quite a few in his garden. These are great for smaller gardens or containers because they stay short, with heights maxing out at a few feet and with blooms of 50mm or less. Speaking of blooms, these are just starting to bloom right now and will continue to bloom until frost. The plants are covered in flowers and the pollinators love it! There were a few styles and varieties in Larry’s garden and more were just days away from blooming.
If you are interested in learning more about these tiny wonders, or dahlias in general, you can contact the Portland Dahlia Society. They also have a great show that happens at the end of August at Oaks Park. You don’t want to miss it.
TOW – Pinching Basil
For our tip of the week we had a simple one for you. This one is all about extending your harvest of your basil well into the season. If your basil is starting to get a flower stem you need to pinch it off. This will promote new leaf growth which is what you use for your pestos and salads. It will also give you a stronger and healthier plant and extend your harvest season.