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 last 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.
Happy Spring! We have officially turned the page on the season and this week we had some great spring-like weather. It just makes us more excited for the coming weeks and months, and you can tell that spring is here as the event calendar is filling up with all the normal gardening events.
When you hear about African violets you might think about the tender and temperamental little flowers that your grandma had. That’s not the case anymore. We stopped by the home of Kristie Moore of Violet Source, a local grower and member of the Portland African Violet Association to talk about these cool plants. She started with one plant many years ago and quickly fell in love with them. Even though there are 1,000’s of varieties out there, she has over 200 in her house. There are tons of different sizes, leaf and bloom colors to choose from. Kristie loves the semi-miniatures which stay small and she can have more of them on display in her home, but she also had a new ‘micro-mini’ from her friend Wes Carter that was just tiny! We heard that they really thrive if you take care of water and light issues. The easiest way to kill an African violet is to overwater them. Kristie uses a wicking system where strings in the bottom of her pots draw water up and to the plant when it needs a drink. Kristie also talked about overhead watering. People have been told that overhead watering is bad. She told us that is because of the temperature of the water. Keep the water at room temperature and it won’t leave spots on your leaves. She also controls the temperature by having them in an area that doesn’t experience the extremes of hot and cold. Good indirect lighting also helps. African violets like consistency!
If you would like to find out more about African Violets and how to grow them, or even to pick up a few for your home, you can see people from the Portland African Violet Association today, Saturday the 26th, at the Portland Nursery on Division Street. Between 10am and 3pm you can see a lot of these cool plants and even a few rare ones that you can’t find anywhere else.
Wilco Backyard Chickens
One of the hottest trends in gardening is the idea of growing your own food. For some that means a vegetable garden. For others, they want to go a little further and bring poultry to their gardens. The benefits of chickens are many. They can help control insects and pests by eating them. They can help with fertilizing by just doing their ‘business’ as they walk around your garden. They can also bring you fresh eggs. Plus there is the added benefit of just looking cool! To learn more about chickens we stopped by the Wilco Store in Lake Oswego and talked to Marla. If you have decided to have chickens in your garden you will want to get a few items to help them thrive. First of all you will need to get at least 3-4 baby chicks to start. In Portland the law says you can have 3 hens in your backyard. Remember to check with your town or county to see what the regulations are for your area. In some towns they don’t allow backyard poultry at all! Sometimes one of the chicks turns out to be a rooster and then you will have to get rid of it. Chickens are also social creatures and they are happier if they have company in the garden. As far as supplies you will need equipment for feeding and watering them. Smaller chicks will also need a heat lamp to grow. Then you will also need shelter for them. Even when they grow larger, chickens are not self-sufficient. You will need to feed them and make sure they have all that they need to thrive. Also, people move them around the garden from time to time to give them a fresh place to scratch and peck.
Some people have asked us about the type of chicken (layer or broiler) and whether certain chickens are better layers than others. Marla told us that there are so many breeds available that you really have a wide choice of options! The best thing you can do is talk to one of the experts at Wilco! They can help you get your chicks off to a great start and then they are there to help you as the chickens grow up!
If you are interested in raising chickens stop by your local Wilco store, or better yet, check them out online, and get all your questions answered. If you would like to purchase they can help you make the decision without even going to the store. Then you can drive by for a ‘hands free’ pickup. They can help you be successful as an urban chicken rancher!
TOW – 2 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.
Blooming Junction New Gardeners
In the last couple of years there have seen a lot of new gardeners. The pandemic drew people out into their gardens either to grow food or to create beautiful areas for relaxation, or both! However a lot of new gardeners still have a hard time figuring out where to begin in planting or planning their new gardens. To get some tips we stopped by Blooming Junction and talked with Ron. He has a few questions that he asks a lot of these newer gardeners to help point them in the right direction.
One of the first questions is ‘what are you looking to create?’ What are your needs? Are you looking to create a more welcoming front yard? Then look for plants that will look good all year long. No one wants a bunch of bare sticks in the middle of winter. Look to mix and match plants that will look good even in the dead of winter. Is the backyard your focus? Is it for kids, pets or a solo sanctuary? Pick plants that help achieve that goal. Durable and safe plants for those kids and pets. Think about that sanctuary, what are the things that would work for your relaxation and comfort. Maybe a water feature/fountain.
Second, how much time do you want to spend gardening? Look for low maintenance plants realizing that there is no such thing a ‘zero’ maintenance planted landscape. Roses may look great but they do need pruning, watering and care. If you don’t want to get dirty every weekend, check out other options with garden center staff.
Third, is there another purpose for your garden? Are you looking to increase pollinators, grow cut flowers to bring inside, increase your fresh vegetables? Figuring out what you want to grow will help you determine your plants. How much sunshine does your garden get? Some plants can only handle shade, or morning sun. Others love full sun and no protection. Determine the purpose, then more on to plant selection.
Fourth, what is the access to water? You don’t want to plant a pond/bog plant in a dry part of the garden and not provide water. If you can’t reach an area with a hose or sprinkler, think about drought tolerant plants like sedums or ceanothus.
Finally, think about your favorite color or fragrance. What Ron means is to pick plants and features that you would enjoy. Why plant something that doesn’t fit your style if you want to enjoy it. Using your favorite colors in your garden will ensure that you will enjoy the garden every time you step outside.
Remember that your garden is a growing and living thing. You change over time and so does your garden. As things age, feel free to make changes. If you do want to replace plants, or start with a fresh palate, stop by Blooming Junction or your local independent garden center for great garden help.
Garden Like a Girl Gloves
A few years ago we heard about a new company in the Portland area and we introduced them to you, 'Garden Like a Girl' gloves. Garden Like a Girl was started by Tom and Mary Garlock. Mary is a gardener and always found that her garden gloves just were not cutting it! They would wear-out quickly, let dirt in and could get sopping wet if working around water. She also found out that the materials in the most popular gloves on the market contained known carcinogens. Both Tom and Mary are cancer survivors and so they decided they had to find a better glove, that is when they started to design their own. Tom had a background in making and marketing sports gloves so he knew how to start the design process.
When we did our first story with them, they were in the middle of wear-testing their designs and fund raising for further development. Now we are so happy to announce that they are in full production and have their gloves available for sale in selected garden centers and on their website. As with any new successful product, the key is in the details! They spent the last few years working on a glove that is truly 'Ruggedly Feminine'. They have finger tips reinforced with KEVLAR so your nails won't poke through them. The palms are padded so your hands are protected from those sharp and pointy plants. There is a breathable panel on the back so your hands don't get so sweaty when wearing them, and there is an adjustable wristband so they stay on, nice and tight. They are designed to fit well!
They also carry a nice group of other garden clothing that is made from combinations of recycled plastic bottles, upcycled cotton and organic cotton. You can find v-neck, short sleeved and long sleeved shirts. They also have hoodies, pullovers and even masks to keep you safe. Their newest color of hoodie is a light green one that has proven to be very popular.
These shirts not only feel good, they do good too. A percentage of profits from the sale of shirts and gloves goes to cancer research. Check out their website and then pick up a pair for the garden.