COVID-19 AWARENESS: Please note that we are taking all necessary precautions to keep our on-air personalities, interviewees and crew safe during this challenging time. However, we do run repeat stories and segments that were shot earlier this year, before social distancing practices were recommended by health officials. If you see our hosts standing close to someone, please be assured that the segment was shot before March of 2020. We thank you for your concern and your interest in Garden Time.
This is a sad week for a lot of people around the Pacific Northwest. The fires in our area have put a fiery and smoky cap on this crazy year (I should be careful, it’s not over yet). If there is one bright spot it’s this… This is the time when people realize how close we all really are. The Garden Time crew hopes that you are all safe and we ask you a favor. Pick some flowers from your garden, or a few veggies, and take them to someone you know. Some people are stressed about the current conditions in our state, and they are visibly upset. Some are stressed and may not show it. Be there for friends, family and neighbors.
We should all grow and cultivate a crop that fills our souls and the souls of those around us. A crop of love and caring.
This week we featured...
Art in the Garden #2
Every year we look forward to an event at the Oregon Garden (503-874-8100) in Silverton that brings two of our passions together, beautiful plants and great garden art. Art in the Garden, sponsored by Capitol Subaru, takes over part of the garden and showcases some great local artists. Earlier this summer we visited with a couple of the featured artists, and this week we talked to a couple of others. Ryan started the story with a visit with Lauren Wingert from Sneak Peek Glass at her display called Glass in Bloom. The name of the display is perfect since there are plenty of glass blooms on stakes ready for your garden. She also does pyramids, orbs, hearts and suncatchers too. She loves to do outdoor pieces that people can enjoy most of the year and then, if they want, they can bring those same pieces indoors to enjoy as well.
Then we moved over to Judy, where she was talking to Lorraine Garcy. Lorraine does copper pieces and her area was named Copper Field of Flowers. The flowers were various shapes and sizes of copper blooms. Some were still a bright coppery color and others had been prematurely aged by Lorraine. She also explained how she works the pieces of copper to make sure that her art lasts and is always one of a kind. We were really in love with her nautilus and sea stars. They were really cool!
This year, once again, the ‘Art in the Garden’ event runs through the end of September. Art in the Garden features dozens of stunning art installations in the Garden featuring pieces from 6 artists. All pieces are available for sale and some of these great pieces are made from wood, glass and metal, but all would look great in the garden. The Art in the Garden event is included in your normal admission and all you have to do is ask for a map when you come to the garden.
A quick heads-up. Due to the current fire and smoke situation this weekend (Sept. 12-13), be sure to check the Oregon Garden website to see if they are open and if there are other requirements for visiting.
Drying Cherry Tomatoes
When your cherry tomatoes start to produce, it can be overwhelming! What can you do with them quickly so you can enjoy those wonderful flavors later this winter? Try dehydrating them! The Garden Time crew has been saving their cherry tomatoes like this for the past few years. When you pick your tomatoes wash them in a bowl and get rid of those that are rotten or showing signs of mold. Then take a cookie sheet and line it with parchment paper. Cut your cherry tomatoes in half and place them on the cookie sheet with the cut side up. Some people will add salt or olive oil to the tomatoes at this point. But we like to leave them plain so they don’t have anything added to them when we use them later. Place the cookie sheet in the oven at 170 degrees for 10-12 hours. If you have a convection oven you can cut the time down to about 6-8 hours, but you will have to keep an eye on the tomatoes. Every 2-4 hours you should rotate the cookie sheets if you have more than one in the oven. When the time is up pull the cookie sheets out of the oven and check the tomatoes. They should be mostly dry and flexible. A little moisture won’t hurt. After the sheets cool, place them in the freezer for a couple hours. This will make sure that they stay individually frozen and easier to use at a later date. Put them in a freezer bag and place them back in the freezer. You can use them for the next 6 to 8 month with no problem. They are good in soups, salads and even sauces like a dried tomato tapenade.
If you are an Oregonian, you’ve probably heard of the annual Mount Angel Oktoberfest. This event is known and loved by thousands as it attracts people from all over the Northwest to put on their lederhosen and dirndls and kick up their heels to great oompah music, while enjoying great brews and delicious food! Due to the Covid crisis things are a little different this year.
We met up with Bill and Monica from the Oktoberfest to find out about the changes this year. Bill met with Ryan to talk about the history of the festival and why it has such a lasting impact on the community. Bill told us that this would have been the 55th annual event and they could have just shut everything down due to the corona virus crisis, but they decided to take a different approach. The festival usually hosts about 50 non-profit booths in and around Mount Angel. These groups use the funds that they earn during the 4 day festival, about $700,000 among them, to continue to do good works in the community the rest of the year. The Oktoberfest itself has donated over $3.5 million from the festival itself to groups over the years. Not bad for an all-volunteer group of community members.
Then we met with Monica who told us how things have changed for this year. The Festhalle where people would usually be drinking wonderful beers, is now going to be a distribution center for a ‘take home’ festival! She told us how people can go to their website to order all the items necessary for a fun time in your own living room. All you need to do is go to the Store link on their page and click on the ‘Packages and Specials’ page. There you will find ways to purchase beer, wine, sausages and all the fixins’ for your party. But don’t forget about the music! If you click on the Entertainment button, you can purchase a link to an evening of music. That link will allow you to log in on Saturday, September the 19th for some great music! Other links of the page will let you purchase souvenirs and even donate to some of the other non-profits from the festival.
So even though you can’t show off your dance moves to the latest polka music in the beer hall, you can still support this great event and have a great time as well. Check out their website for even more details.
Since we shot this story we have received news that the Mount Angel Oktoberfest is moving dates for 2020. The fest will remain virtual, but the Oktoberfest Zuhaus edition has moved to October 3. This is due to the recent fires in the area around Mount Angel. Due to the wild fires causing destruction of homes, evacuations of thousands, and smoke tainted air; it was decided Thursday, Sept 10 that the Oktoberfest will move the pick up dates for items to October 1, 2, 3, and the livestream to October 3rd.
If you have seen big green spots in your lawn it means you have a pet (or a frequent visitor). These green circles are from your pet’s urine and it is caused by the salts that occur in the urine. You may also notice that there is a dead spot in the center of the green; this is the grass dying from too much salt. You are seeing it more now because of the summer stress that the grass is under from all the heat and the lack of water. To get rid of the spots you have to flush them with water as soon as the animal is done. This will dilute the salts and reduce the problem areas. You can also train your dog to use a specific area of the lawn or set up a dog run to limit their movement. If you can’t flush the area, try to keep your lawn in good shape, that will minimize the stress and help the spots blend in. Some people recommend that you add tomato juice to your dog’s food to help neutralize the salts in the urine, but we would recommend that you check with your vet before you add anything to your pet’s food.
Picking Ripe Vegetables
There are a lot of new gardeners growing their own produce this year. For many of those they only have experience with ripe vegetables at their local grocery store where someone else has picked out the ripe and ready vegetables for shoppers. If you are growing your own, how do you know when your vegetables in your garden are ready to pick? To learn the answer to that question we stopped by Blooming Junction (503-681-4646) and talked to Justin the manager of their farm to fill us in. Justin and his crew are responsible for picking the wide assortment of fresh vegetables that they offer in their store and he had some great tips!
He started with his 4 tips for picking the best from your garden…
1. Keep track of your fruit and vegetable plantings. If you know what you planted you can look up on the internet (if you lost the seed packet) and figure out its days to harvest. Knowing when it is supposed to get close to harvest will help you focus in on that fruit or vegetable.
2. Check your vegetables daily. When you think you are close to harvest, checking daily will help you make sure that you don’t miss the peak of maturity. Some vegetables ripen so fast that if you miss a day they might get tough and seedy when you do harvest them.
3. Pick small and often. Smaller vegetables can sometimes be better tasting and less fibrous. Also, when you pick your vegetables it encourages the plant to produce more fruit!
4. Have realistic expectations. Your fruits and vegetables may not look like the perfect produce you find in the stores, but it can be just as delicious. You may find little bumps and bruises and some of your produce may be a little smaller than you expect. Relax and just enjoy the taste of your homegrown bounty!
Next we looked at some of the individual produce he had in the store. He mentioned that broccoli may have a small head, the key is to pick it when the top of the head is tightly packed. Don’t wait too long or the flowers will open up. Beans grow really fast so pick them when they are filled out but not bulging with seeds. They should also snap crisply when they are ready. Onions and garlic are similar when they are approaching ripeness. The green tops should have halfway to 2/3’s died down before you harvest. Radishes should be harvested when they are about the size of a golf ball and beets can be dug when they are about baseball sized or a little smaller. Corn is always a tough one since they have a husk covering them. Look for the silks at the top to be brown, but not crispy. You can also feel the corn to see if it is full to the top of the ear. If you can open the husks up, check the kernels to see if they are full and moist. This should have a milky water if you pierce the kernels with your fingernail.
We then moved to melons. Musk melons should slip right off the vine. You shouldn’t have to tug on them. Cantaloupes should also have a little brown tendril at the top of the melon before you harvest. They should also have a little color change in the outside skin, from a dark green to more of a yellow color. Watermelons are a little tricky too. The spot where they are setting on the ground will be white as they are growing. When that starts to change color to yellow it is getting close to harvest. The watermelon will also lose its shiny skin and will get a dull color to it. Then you can pick and enjoy!
If you don’t have a big garden or you are craving more produce than you garden can grow, Blooming Junction also has a late season CSA program. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture program, where they do the growing for you. Each week a CSA member can pick up a box of produce from the farm. It will contain a wide assortment of what is ripe and ready from their farm. You can also pick up some great produce and other groceries from their on-site store. They also have wonderful Blooming Advantage plants too!! Hopefully these tips will help you get the best produce from your own garden this year.
We’ve all seen them. Sometimes on plant tags, or on the table signage in your local nursery; ‘good to Zone 7’, or something similar. This refers to a ‘Zone’ hardiness designation that was developed many years ago by the USDA. The ‘zones’ were a way that gardeners could find out how low a temperature a plant could survive and thrive in. That is the simplest explanation, a zone refers to a range of temperatures where a plant will survive. Each zone represents a 10 degree range. The lower the zone, the colder the temperature range. For example, parts of Alaska are a zone 2 that means a temperature range of -40 to -50 degrees. A plant needs to be pretty hardy to survive those temps. Whereas, San Diego could be a zone 10, with a range of 30-40 degrees. If it gets below 30 degrees, a zone 10 plant may not survive. Talk about your tropical plants! That doesn’t mean that a Zone 2 plant will survive in a Zone 10.
In the Willamette Valley we are in the Zone 7 (zero – 10 degrees) or Zone 8 (10-20 degrees) range. Eastern Oregon would be closer to a Zone 6 (-10 – zero). When you are buying a plant, a zone can help you make the right decision on choosing a plant that will survive for you and in your garden. Pick the wrong zone and you may be throwing your plant money away. To find out your zone, you can go to the USDA website. Then you can make an informed choice when you go plant buying!
Watching Garden Time
We have a large, loyal following of viewers that say that they learn a lot each week, but we still get questions about stories… ‘where were you filming?’, ‘how can I learn more about those plants?’ and many more. Sometimes the answer to those questions are right in front of you. Every story that we do starts with an ‘identifier’, we share who we are talking to, with their name across the bottom of the screen, and a location graphic, listed in the top left hand corner of the screen. If you watch the story a lot of the plant names will appear on the screen. If we are moving quickly through a story, we may not always get to the names on the screen. If you are interested in the featured plants, or want more information about the story, you can always wait until the end of the story. In the last part of every story we have a website and/or phone number on the screen for the guest we are interviewing. A quick call to them will help you get even more information.
Of course, if you don’t want to sit in front of the TV with a pen and paper writing all this information down, you can always go to the Garden Time website. There you can find even more information. Simply click on the ‘This Week’ link where you can re-watch the whole show, find links to the featured nurseries and even watch the individual stories again. Looking for an older episode? Go to our Archive link and type in the topic. Watching Garden Time is great, and you can find a lot of information on the screen, but there is even more information at our website.