Greetings everyone and Happy Spring. A lot of people are very worried because of the Covid-19 outbreak and are finding it hard to think of this time of year as being a ‘happy’ one. Still, it is a time to be optimistic. Look at your garden. Things are growing and blooming, birds are singing a happy tune and why shouldn’t they? We all know that, taking the right precautions and working together, soon we will be back to a normal routine.
Gardening is a great activity for everyone while you are stuck at home, and a great place to get started is at your local garden center. Due to concerns about customers and employees a few garden centers are closing or limiting their hours, so be sure to check with your favorite garden center by phone or website to make sure they are still open. You can even find companies that will deliver plants right to your door. Check with your local garden center to see if they do as well.
In this week’s show we talk about a couple events and garden centers that have closed, postponed, or modified events because of what is happening. It is disappointing, but remember that the safety of employees and customers is very important to those of us in the gardening industry. Be sure to check with your local garden center to get the latest news.
This week we featured...
Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival Update
Usually at this time of year we are making our way out to the tulip fields at Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (1-800-711-2006) for the start of their annual festival. Ryan met with Barb Iverson near the fields to talk about the changes that have been brought about because of the Covid-19 virus. As of this week the festival has been canceled. All those wonderful vendors and activities are now canceled. It is hard news to swallow since this event marked the beginning of spring for many people. This is devastating for the Iverson Family and they want people to know that a lot of thought went into the decision. For their safety, people will not be allowed in to the fields. Still there are things that you can come out and do. At their gift shop you can pick up potted blooming tulips and even cut flowers. You will also be able to buy their great CBD products from their Red Barn Hemp booth, plus you can pick up a bottle of Wooden Shoe Vineyards wine in the tasting room, even though there is no tastings happening at this time.
There is one way that you can get your tulip fix while the fields are closed. Check out their Facebook, Instagram and website for pictures from the fields. Every day they will be posting new photos for you to enjoy. We will also keep you updated on our Garden Time Facebook page.
Jan’s March Tips
Ryan finally gets a chance to do the tips of the month with Jan! Jan has been a friend of the Seely family for years, in fact she remembers when Ryan was born! Now Ryan gets to come back to the neighborhood for some useful tips for our viewers.
This month Jan started by talking about soil temperatures. You can try to plant outside, but it has to be a cool season crop like broccoli, kale and root crops. It is too cold for the warmer season crops. Soil temps outside have to be around 50 degrees (soil temps not air temps) before plants can get growing outside. As Jan mentioned kale as one of the plants that you can grow outside in those cooler temperatures, she had one in her greenhouse to show us. This is one from her garden that was still growing but she removed to make room for a new crop, and like a lot of winter vegetables it actually got sweeter with the colder weather. Then we moved to a very dead blueberry bush. This one was planted and the roots were not spread out in the fresh soil when it was planted and now those roots are curled around the base of the bush. This compromised the plant and it died. Remember when planting new shrubs to prepare the hole well and spread roots so it can grow outward and the plant will thrive. We then moved to the famous Meyer Lemon tree. This is the tree that was given a ‘do or die’ choice in the garden last year. Now it is back on the right track and has lemons! Once it survived the winter, Jan left it out and it got scale, a small sap sucking insect, and after treatment it is on the way to another productive season!
Finally we talked about seed starting, which you can do for indoor veggies and outdoors for the hardier varieties. Plus we also saw a violet with a large, curled, fleshy leaf in the middle of a bunch of regular flat, thin leaves. The curling is caused by a mite. The plant senses the mite and curls the leaf around it over time. Not to worry, the plant grows out of it if left outside.
It is finally spring and that means that it is time for Ladies Only Night at French Prairie Gardens (503-633-8445) near St. Paul. During a recent visit Katie met with Ryan to let us know that because of the large crowd size that they get, they will have to postpone their event for this year. That is bad news for those who wanted to attend, but it can be good news for everyone! As a thank you for being so understanding, they are offering 20% off your purchase, in-store and on-line, and all you have to do is mention Garden Time or enter it as a promo code. They still have all the great spring plants that you enjoy in your garden, plus the freshest produce, baked goods and even fresh meat. You can order online or by phone and then just stop by to pick it up. They’ll even bring it to your car.
If you are looking for some landscaping help, they can even help you with that. Take a few pictures of your garden, send them to Katie at the store and she will call you and help you build a dream garden that you can enjoy all summer and fall!
If you have little ones that are off from school and need an area to burn of a little energy, bring them to the farm and have them visit the animals and run around the back fields. While they are doing that you can have a nice cold beer or cider. Stop by or give them a call for more information.
Plant Pick – Manzanita
For our plant pick we found ourselves at Little Prince of Oregon and meeting with Joan in one of their greenhouses. She was there surrounded by Manzanitas. These may all be manzanitas, but they all didn’t look the same! What makes these manzanitas special is that they were all part of a plant trial at the OSU North Willamette Research and Extension Center near the Little Prince growing facility. They grew a huge amount of different varieties at the center and these were the ones that survived the best without any help. After the study was done, cuttings of the plants were made and they were planted and propagated. These different varieties run the gamut from ground cover types to ones that can get nearly 10 feet tall and are very disease resistant. There is one for every zone too, from zone 2 to zone 10. These all can be used in areas that require drought tolerant plants, like parking strips and xeriscapes, where they do well once they are established. Plus you can’t beat the unique barks and blooms!
If you would like to see these manzanitas, you can check your local garden center and look for the Little Prince frog, or you can check out their website, and order some on-line to be delivered to your door!
TOW – Two Season Seeds
Our tip this week will help you with a full belly later this summer. We talked about 2-season seeds. We visited a local garden center and picked up some early germinating varieties of vegetable seeds and bought 2 packs of each. These seeds will grow faster and mature earlier in the season. Then once they are done you can plant them again to enjoy a second harvest of your favorite vegetables this late summer and fall.
Early Spring Veggies – Blooming CSA
With the warmer spring weather we may be itching to get out and plant our vegetable gardens, but hold on, it may be too early for some of your favorites yet. You may not be able to plant your tomatoes and basil outside yet, but you can enjoy vegetables if you aim for cole crops instead. We stopped by Blooming Junction (503-681-4646) to talk with Justin, the farm manager, about what you can and can’t do now. First we started by talking about cole crops. A lot of people call them ‘COLD’ crops, but cole refers to plants in the Brassica family including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbages, kales and Brussel Sprouts. These can be planted in the ground now because they can handle the colder soils and outdoor temperatures. Other plants that can go out right now are onion starts, leeks and garlic. Seed crops that can go in the ground right now include carrots, radishes, turnips and beets. Peas can also be planted right now as well.
Most of your other crops like tomatoes, basils and cucumbers will have to wait until the soil temps get a little warmer. Use a soil thermometer and wait for an average temperature of 45 degrees to get some of your other crops in the ground. The ground temperature is only part of the equation for veggie success. For the colder night time air temperatures you may want to cover your plants with a floating row cover or frost cloth. This will protect them from the cold temperatures and maintain the warmth that they need to get a good start.
Justin also talked about the importance of baiting for slugs. He uses a product called Sluggo which is safe for pets and children, though he did caution that you need to always follow the directions for use. Failure to use a slug product could mean losing your entire crop overnight and having to start all over again. If you do need to start again, Blooming also sells the plant starts for all your favorite vegetables.
If you are not a big vegetable gardener and still want fresh produce, you can stop by the farm store at Blooming Junction. They grow a lot of what they sell so you are going to get the freshest produce around. One way to ensure that you get all the veggies that you need is to sign up for the CSA program. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. If you sign up you will get lots of fresh produce, once a week, for 20 weeks starting in the early summer.
For more information on the CSA program, some fresh vegetables, or even a beautiful plant or two, you can stop by Blooming Junction in Cornelius.