Welcome to our late summer! The sun has returned and even though the temperatures are not as warm as we would like, there seems to be a return to dry and warmish weather for the foreseeable future. That means a few days of getting outside and getting our gardens ready for the winter. Yesterday, producer Therese was outside cutting and pruning back some plants, and removing others in anticipation of the upcoming cold and making room for some new plants in the garden. These fall days also allow us some time to get out and enjoy some of the best fall color we’ve had in years. The sun is making the colors even more vibrant! Enjoy this wonderful annual show this season.
This weekend also marks the end of the Harvest Festival season. All of those great festivals, full of pumpkins, hay mazes and cornstalks, are wrapping up by Halloween Day. It is a great time to get in some exercise and enjoy these last days of sunshine with the family!
This week we featured...
Camas Ivy Pull
For some, the beauty of ivy is a must in the garden, but for others it has become a big problem. We met with Cassi Marshall, a Camas Parks Commissioner and a member of the Camas Ivy League, at a park just outside of Camas, to talk about how this little plant has become such a huge problem in the Northwest. English ivy (Hedera helix) is an aggressive, invasive, introduced species. Native to Europe it was introduced to the Northwest where no natural controls exist. The temperate climate creates an atmosphere where it can grow and thrive. Once it escapes into our forests and natural areas it quickly takes over. Once it gets a foothold it will smother the ground wiping out native plants and animal habitats. In the mature form it will start to climb the trees where it can fruit and spread by seed. It will get big enough to either smother the tree or create so much weight that it can topple a tree. Many ‘No Ivy League’s’ were created years ago to help try and remove this plant, and other invasive species from our urban forests, like this park in Camas and Forest Park in Portland. Removal is a many stage process. The plant has to be removed from the trees and also from the ground so it doesn’t take over again and again. This means that these groups can use your help every year. You can be part of the removal process and help restore the native habitat during many of the removal work parties that happen monthly around our area. There is a No Ivy Day happening today, October 26th. Check the ‘No Ivy League’ website for complete details on how to get involved.
Here are some other place you can check for Ivy Removal groups in your area.
We love Garden Gallery Iron Works (503-981-0297) for all the great gift ideas and metal gardening structures that they have. We also love the way that they support the local community, including local artists. Your chance to meet one of those great local artists is today during their Dean Crouser signing event at the store. Dean is an accomplished artist (and local athlete) and he will be signing his works and visiting with customers between 11am and 2pm. During that time you can enjoy 20 % off all his products, and the first 50 people will get a free Dean Crouser magnet. It’s a great way to get started on your Holiday shopping.
Another way to get a jump on your Christmas list is at the Garden Gallery Christmas Open House on the 16th of November. The store will open early on that day at 9am. You can enjoy a day filled with fun, munchies, a holiday cocktail and 25% off your entire purchase!
There are always great local events happening at the store and you can always find out more at their website!
Late Season Sprinkler Maintenance
The arrival of fall means that our days of watering our outdoor plants and gardens are coming to a close. We met with Kevin from Lake Oswego and the Regional Water Providers Consortium to talk about how to put your sprinklers to bed for the season and other watering tips. We met with him down by the street near a covered backflow device. This device protects against the community water being tainted by water flowing backward from your home system. Some homeowners use fertilizers and other products in their home systems and this helps to keep all our water clean. Kevin showed us how to turn off the valve and insulate the backflow device to prevent frost damage. He also recommended that you turn off your system control panel for the season at this time as well.
We then moved up to the house and talked about hoses. You can now give your plants, protected under the eaves of your house, one last drink from the hose. Then unscrew the hose and drain it! Coil it up and put it away. This will help your hose last longer and it will also drain all the water from your hose bib (the faucet on your house) to prevent damage to that valve as well. While you are outside make sure that your downspouts and storm drains are free and clear of leaves and debris. Any buildup of water here can damage your home and siding.
Finally, if you think you might have a leak between your water meter and your home, there is an easy way to check that. Simply find your water meter and take a look at the gauge. Then shut off all the water in your home. Go out after an hour or two and see if the meter needle has moved. If it has, you might have a leak and you should contact a professional. For more great water saving tips for inside and outside your home, check out the Regional Water Providers Consortium at https://www.regionalh2o.org.
Wild Mushroom Hunt
Make some room for the shroom! In the Northwest, with all this moisture, we are the home of mushrooms. One group that has embraced that love of mushrooms is the Oregon Mycological Society. We were led on a mushroom and fungus hunt with Leah from the OMS. A lot of people are afraid of mushrooms. They think that all of the mushrooms in the wild are poisonous, but that isn’t true. There are lots of tasty varieties out there to try. The key is identification. The day that we joined about 20 hunters, they were collecting everything and after everyone came back to the cars, there was an education session. Leah told everyone there about the good, the bad and the ugly, and a very small percentage were not edible. It is amazing what you can find in the forest!
Your chance to learn more about mushrooms is tomorrow Sunday, the 27th at the World Forestry Center in Miller Hall from noon to 5pm. There will be speakers, cooking demos, vendors and the largest display of mushrooms from around the region! If you are a mushroom lover, this is the show to see!
Picking a Ripe Squash
The number one question that Bauman Farms receives this time of year is ‘How can I tell when my squash is ripe?’ Brian Bauman from Bauman Farms (503-792-3524) joined us to share the answer for our ‘tip of the week’. There are 2 things you should look for if you are wondering if your squash is ripe. First, look to see if the foliage is dying back. If the foliage is brown and crispy, then check the spot where the squash is in contact with the ground. The spot should not be white. If it has changed color to a cream or orange color then it is ready to harvest. We also checked out some of the huge variety of different gourds and picked out the best ones for eating including the delicata, acorn, butternut and the sweetmeat squash, which is also the best for making a pumpkin pie. If you would like to try something different on your dinner table, try squash. They are delicious. The staff at Bauman’s will be more than happy to help you pick a good one to try. While you are there, be sure to check out the last weekend of the Bauman’s Fall Harvest Festival. There are tons of fun activities for the whole family.