Harvest season has arrived. This weekend the harvest festivals are kicking off around our area. Woodburn has the big Bauman’s event and further north we have a Blooming Junction hoedown! This time of year everything is being brought in from the fields and that means the bounty is there for us to enjoy. These festivals celebrate that bounty. This week on the show we preview the big fall harvest event at Blooming Junction.
The change of seasons also means it is time to start prepping the garden for the winter ahead. That means cover crops and harvesting garlic. Which we cover as well this week!
So celebrate the season and go out to one of these great fall festivals!
This week we featured...
Botanical Eco-Dye Fabrics
If you are looking for a way to capture the beauty of nature and wear it proudly in a garment, we found someone to help. We met with Anna Zell, a fabric artist, at Leach Botanical Garden (503-823-9503). She is going to be teaching a class in ‘Botanical Printing’ in a week, on the 29th of September, starting at 9am, and you can learn her processes and take home a garment of your own.
This dyeing process is really very simple. It uses cloth that is soaked in an iron solution and then is wrapped with leaves in a tight roll. The roll is then steamed to activate the chemical reaction. The iron works with the tannins in the leaves to create detailed patterns that are outstanding, and because it uses new leaves each time, there is never a repeated pattern. Each one is unique.
Fall is a great time to harvest and enjoy the great flavors of garlic. Some people have problems growing this delicious root crop, so we stopped by Blooming Junction and talked with Justin, the farm manager, to get some growing tips. The end of September is when he starts planting his crop for next year. He breaks apart the large bulb into individual cloves and plants them, nose up and rough root point down, about an inch and a half down and six inches apart. Then you leave it over the winter to establish. At the beginning of March you want to give it a little nitrogen with a good fertilizer. This will jump start the foliar growth. This leaf growth will help feed the bulb and produce a big crop. You can start to harvest in the summer when about 6-7 outer leaves start to die back, usually the 2nd week of July. You can cut watering around the end of June to push more energy to the bulb. Once it is harvested you can hang it in a cool dry area with good airflow. This curing of the bulbs will keep them from developing any diseases and extend the shelf life of your bulbs/cloves.
It’s also time for a harvest hoedown, and we’re lucky to have a great one to attend. Blooming Junction (503-681-4646) hosts the ‘Harvest the-good-life Hoedown’ happening this weekend. Justin told us that this family friendly event is packed full of fun! Enjoy live entertainment from Pick and a Bow and Half Grass’d, food from Ochoas, and drinks from various wine, beer, and cider vendors! Don’t forget the great Blooming Advantage plants that you can take home. Plants will be 20% off during the event. You can also pick up some wonderful, fresh produce that they grow right on the farm! Bring the family and enjoy a day in the country!
Portland Nursery Cover Crop
Cover crops are seeds and plants that help your soil ‘rest’ over the winter. They also help replace the nutrients in your soil by returning nitrogen to the earth as ‘green compost’. To see some of the different types of cover crops we stopped by Portland Nursery on Stark (503-231-5050) and talked to Sara. They carry numerous types of cover crops and even have various ‘blends’ that you can use. You just sprinkle the seed mixture over the soil and work it into the garden, and let it go. It will grow over the winter and come spring time you just rototill it back into the soil to add the nutrients back to the earth. If your garden has been kind of weak the last few years it may need the refreshing boost of a cover crop. Over time the soil can lose a lot of the nutrients and that means smaller plants and less yield from your best vegetables and flowers. Cover crops also help prevent soil compaction caused by the rough winter weather. Planting a cover crop now will help your garden be healthier this coming season! To see the different types of cover crops you can check out this handout at Portland Nursery or stop by and ask one of the helpful employees.
Soles 4 Souls Update
Last year we met up with Rachel Bigej from Al’s Garden and Home (503-726-1162). She was involved with a wonderful organization called Soles4Souls. This group takes donated shoes and distributes them to communities in need around the world. Last year she collected 1,500 pairs of shoes and she delivered them to the Dominican Republic last spring. It was a great success and families in the DR benefited from our generosity. Rachel let us know that Sole4Souls now has a collection warehouse locally in Wilsonville. For the next month you can stop by any Al’s Garden and Home location and drop off new shoes for this great organization. These shoes will not just benefit people around the world. A lot of them will be distributed in our area as well. Get your feet moving and stop by your local Al’s and make a difference.
Leach Garden Progress
Leach Botanical Garden (503-823-9503) is a great resource for our metro area. The amount of educational events, plus the overall beauty of the garden makes it a highlight of any garden tour. Recently they have been raising funds and drawing up plans for a major improvement project. We recently stopped by the garden and talked to David Porter, the Executive Director, to get an update. We arrived to the sound of chainsaws in the trees. David told us that they had recently did a ground breaking at Leach and the work had started. The workers were getting the trees ready for the Aerial Tree Walk. This work is part of the master plan phase 1. This work in the upper garden includes the Arial Tree Walk, a fireplace, arbor and terrace, a pollinator garden, a gathering green and a brand new entrance pavilion. This work was made possible by a plethora of groups and donors and by the efforts of Portland City commissioners Nick Fish and Amanda Fritz. Portland Parks and Rec has also been pushing for this project for years! The project should be finished in about a year.
Parts of the garden are closed, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy this treasure. Programs and classes are still taking place and there is even an education project happening on the six acres at the rear of the garden. Students are cleaning and restoring a riparian area there. If you would like to learn more about the project or about some of the great programs happening at Leach, you can always check out their website!