The cooler temps have arrived. It seems like the cooler fall weather has moved back into our area, with temps back in the 70s and a few sprinkles and showers making their way into the garden, we can all start thinking about the change of seasons. It seems like a welcome relief for some and an early finish to summer for others. For the garden, it is a nice break. During these cooler days you can start to see your garden bounce back from the heat. Your tomatoes and flowers might start producing more which is great for any gardener. Now is the time to start thinking about doing some planting again. A newly planted lawn or perennial going into the garden will love the warm days without the threat of extreme heat. So think about adding a new plant to your garden at this time.
Mainly, think about spending a few more nights in your garden or on your deck, while the weather is still splendid!
This week we featured...
Rose City Pepperheads
Do you like it hot!?! If you do, you are probably a fan of peppers. We were able to catch up with a lady who is considered by many to be the expert in our area when it comes to these hot little fruits! Susan McCormick is the person behind Rose City Pepperheads (503-443-3873). This company not only grows and sells peppers, they also make a line of jellies that will knock your socks off! We met them at their growing operation in Portland and saw the wonderful healthy plants on their farm. Who would have thought that these pretty plants would create such ‘heat’ in the market! Susan grows about 15 varieties and they cover the whole range of heat and flavors. The heat is measured in Scoville Heat Units or SHU. The first pepper she talked about was the red jalapeno or Red Fresnos, which are famous for being used in sriracha hot sauce. These are in the 5,000 SHU. The next pepper was a Scotch Bonnet with 80,000 SHU. A big difference in heat, but according to Susan very fruity in their taste. Green jalapenos were next at around 8,000 SHU. The next pepper was a Shishito, or a Japanese Frying pepper. These are popular because they are very flavorful and not hot at all with a ‘0’ SHU. You fry these in a pan with a little salt and they are very good. Poblano peppers were the next pile we looked at. People who are familiar with Chili Rellenos, know this pepper. There were some small red peppers next to the poblanos, and these were the famous Ghost Pepper. This used to be ‘the’ go-to pepper for heat at nearly 1 million SHU. Another famous pepper is the Anaheim. These are pretty mild and are used in a lot of recipes. Habaneros are another versatile pepper and Rose City Pepperheads use this one in a lot of their jellies. The ones we saw were still green but will eventually turn orange and have around 500,000 SHU. The last pepper we saw was the Carolina Reaper. This pepper is currently the hottest pepper you can get at over 1.5 million Scoville Heat Units.
Susan also talked about how to grow a great pepper. We found out that, the hotter the summer, the hotter the pepper. She also recommended that you don’t over water them. They love the heat and full sun, but we tend to give them too much water. Only water them when they start dropping a little. Also, did you know that the ‘heat’ or SHU will drop if you water them right before you pick them?
If you would like to find Susan and her peppers and jellies, you can check out the Beaverton Farmers Market and a few other markets in our area. You can also find just the jellies at boutiques and on her on-line store. Check out the Rose City Pepperheads website for all the details.
Fall Roses – Fall Rose Show
Fall is a time when we start to think that we have to get our roses ready for the winter. This means a lot of us will be cutting back our roses once the first freeze comes along. The thought is that the plants need a little help when they go dormant, but we found out that we don’t need to do a lot of work at all. To learn what we have to do we talked with Rich Baer of the Portland Rose Society. He told us that roses don’t really go dormant over the winter. They can keep growing if the weather cooperates. He recommends leaving them alone and enjoying the blooms for as long as you can. That was just one of the things we found out. Another was that roses don’t need a lot of fertilizer. If you have a good soil in your garden, the roses will pull all the nutrients they need out of the existing ground. What will kick start a rose is the weather and general environment in which it is planted. The fertilizer can give them a little extra push, but you really don’t need to fertilize them.
This is just a couple of the facts about growing roses you can learn from the Portland Rose Society. They are the experts in everything dealing with roses. You can talk to the experts next weekend, the 14th and 15th, at their annual Fall Rose Show at the Lloyd Center in downtown Portland. At the show you can see over 1,000 vases of roses on display. You can even bring your own roses to be judged. You don’t even have to know their names! The great volunteers at the show will find that out for you. If you want to enter your roses, just bring them down to the second floor of the Lloyd Center between 6:30 and 9:30am on Saturday. Even if you don’t enter a rose, stop by next weekend and just enjoy all the late summer color!
Little Prince Pest Management
How does Little Prince of Oregon grow such wonderful, clean and pest free plants? To find out we stopped by their growing operation and talked with head grower Mike Hicks. We met him in one of their huge greenhouses that was full of their plants to talk about IPM, or Integrated Pest Management. He talked about how IPM all starts with cleanliness. The staff strives to keep the greenhouses as clean and that creates an environment that is not good for bugs and diseases to thrive. They also have sticky little yellow indicator cards that will let them know if they start to have a problem with bugs. The staff is always on the lookout for pests and diseases. Once something is spotted they will remove the plant if it is a small problem, or use organic treatments if it is a big problem. For pests, that organic treatment could include the use of beneficial pests that could be predators of the bad bugs they find. Some of these beneficial insects could stay on the plant and eventually make all the way to your garden! The last resort could be a selective spraying of the plants to get rid of those bad bugs, but that is a last resort!
All of this is to ensure that you are getting the best plants for your home or garden. So next time you go to your local garden center look for the little frog wearing the crown! You can also find their plants on-line at https://littleprinceplants.com.
Providence Garden of Giving
We love vegetable gardens! At Garden Time we try to help educate people about the benefits of growing and eating fresh vegetables, but we are not the only ones who try to spread the ‘good news’ of healthy eating. A few years ago we found out that the employees at Providence Milwaukie Hospital, led by our friend Beth Radford Watts, decided to use an empty lot at the hospital to grow and donate vegetables to the community. In 2012, the Providence Employee Garden of Giving started with just a few raised beds and a lot of hard work. We returned to see that the garden has grown to include nearly 50 raised vegetable beds, berry bushes, fruit trees bearing more than one ton of fresh food annually to local community partners. The garden is maintained by hospital employees and community members, who volunteer their time to plant, harvest and tend the garden year-round.
Beth also talked about the teaching component of the garden too. If you are having a hard time with your health or are short of money for buying healthy vegetables, a health care professional or doctor at Providence can write you a prescription that will get you into a class that will help you learn to grow and prepare healthy meals. You can even get fresh vegetables from their pantry at the hospital. It is a great program that goes beyond just growing vegetables for the community!