TIPS OF THE WEEK - 2009

RIPE KIWI
November 21, 2009

Our tip this week deals with kiwi and how to find out if it is ripe. For gardeners in the Northwest it isn’t a long enough season for the Fuzzy Kiwi to ripen on the vine most of the time. We asked Brian Bauman at Bauman’s Farm and Garden (503-792-3524) to give us some tips for ripening a kiwi from the garden. Brian recommends that you pick the fruit at the end of October or early November and then let it sit in a refrigerator for a couple of days and then put it in a paper bag with an apple for a couple of days. After that is will get slightly soft to the touch and that means it is ready! If you ever have any questions about fresh fruit or produce you can give the experts at Bauman’s Farm and Garden a call.
 

LEAF MULCH
November 7, 2009

Tired of bagging your leaves? Here is a quick tip that will help you plants and save your back! Rake your leaves into your garden beds. This will help the plants by protecting them from the bitter cold, plus it will also keep the rains from compacting your soil during the wet months ahead. This spring you can compost the leaves to finish the job that nature started or you can put them in your yard debris container where they will take up less room than they do now.
 

DEADHEADING ROSES
July 11, 2009

By now most of your roses have seen their first flush of blooms. That means it is time to give them a haircut! By pruning your roses (or ‘deadheading’ as it is called) now you will ensure a quicker and more prolific second bloom. The experts at Heirloom Roses (503-538-1576) gave us some pointers for getting the job done. After the rose has finished blooming, follow the stem down past the second 5-leaf set. At the base of that set, make a 45 degree cut. This will force the plant to send up a new flower stalk and within 6-8 weeks you should have second flush of blooms. At that time you can choose to make the cut again and see if you get a THIRD flush. If you have any questions, feel free to call or visit Heirloom Roses for more tips.
 

JUNE DROP
June 27, 2009

If you are new to growing fruit you may have noticed that your fruit trees are dropping a bunch of small fruit right now.  This is called ‘June Drop’ and it is normal.   At this time of year the immature fruit on the trees is dropped by the plant to make room for the fully pollinated fruit.  It is the plant concentrating the energy into viable fruit.  You may also notice a drop later in the season as the plant once again drops fruit to make more room before the harvest.  In fact, if the plant doesn’t do it, you may want to thin out the fruit later in the season.  Keep your fruit clusters to 2 or less.  This will give you bigger, healthier fruit.
 

RAKING NEEDLES
June 20, 2009

The summer means bare feet in the grass, unless you have fir trees in your backyard!  Our tip this week will help make your lawn more bare-foot friendly!  After you mow your lawn, simply give your lawn a quick rake and then mow again.  The quick raking will draw some of those pesky needles to the surface and they will be picked up by the second pass with a mower.  Once we get into the middle of summer you will not have to do it quite as often, since the trees will drop fewer needles then.
 

DOUBLE GLOVES
May 23, 2009

A painful blister on the hand of Producer Jeff brings us the tip of the week. If you ever get blisters from working with your garden tools you may want to try this tip. We recommend that you wear double gloves when you are working. First put on a pair of rubber surgical gloves and then put your garden gloves over the top. The friction that causes the blister between your glove and your skin now happens between the 2 sets of gloves. This will prevent blisters and will make your gardening much less painful.
 

PRUNING TULIPS
May 16, 2009

The tulips are dying back and you may have the urge to go out and clean them up. Our tip is to fight that urge. If you cut the dead part of the tulip off you may be cutting off all the energy for next years bloom. Tulips contain leaves and flower stalks all on one stem. Cut off the leaves and you will weaken the plant and you will have fewer blooms next year. Let them die naturally and get that blub strong for next year!
 

HAMMERING LILACS
May 9, 2009

The spring is the best time to bring in cut flowers for display in your home. The problem is that the blooms don’t last long enough, especially the woody stemmed ones. Judy chatted with Ruth at the Hulda Klager lilac gardens (360-225-8996) to find out how they make their lilacs last longer after they are cut. Ruth told us how they smash the stems with a hammer. You want to crush the stems about 1-2 inches up the stem before you put them in warm water. The smashed stem allows the flower to draw more water and thus it will last longer. This technique works well for almost all woody stemmed plants. If you would like to see some of these displays (and a bunch of beautiful ‘live’ lilacs) check out the final weekend of the Hulda Klager Lilac Days in Woodland, Washington this weekend.
 

PETTING YOUR PLANTS
April 25, 2009

We all respond to a friendly touch. Your plants will do the same. We got this week’s tip from Fran at Stepables. She rubs her ground covers every spring! This helps remove the old dead parts of the plants and the stimulation triggers the plant to start new growth. Her plants bounce back sooner and are healthier during the growing season. It also helps her check out the plants to see if they are doing well and whether she needs to replace them. Get out and get in touch with your garden!
 

PAINTBRUSH WEEDS
April 18, 2009

Getting rid of weeds is tough.  It becomes nearly impossible when that weed appears entwined inside one of your favorite plants.  How can you get rid of the pest without damaging your favorite plant?  Our tip takes care of the problem.  We use a paint brush to brush the weed control directly on the weed without touching the plant.  It is pin-point application without waste and worry.  Remember to use gloves and follow all label instructions.
 

DOUBLE SEASON SEEDS
March 28, 2009

Our tip of the week involves seeds. You can pick up a cole crop seed right now and start your garden early. Cole crops include vegetables like lettuce, radishes, peas, kale and cabbage. Then in August you can plant these same crops again and enjoy a second harvest because they can handle the cooler temperatures of late fall.
 

CHEMICAL LABELS
March 14, 2009

As pesticides and herbicides get older they tend to lose their effectiveness. The spring is a good time to check your garden chemicals to make sure they are not too old. It is also a good time to review their safe use. If you buy a new chemical product, use a marker to date it so you can easily see when you bought it. If you need to dispose of an old bottle, check with your local garbage hauler to learn how to dispose of it safely. If you are using any chemical product remember that the ‘label is the law’ and use it according to the printed instructions.
 

CONIFER FERTILIZING
March 7, 2009

If you have wandered through the tree and shrub section of your garden center you may have noticed that they all have fertilizer in their pots.  That reminded us that now is a good time to do the same at your home.  Put down a good tree and shrub fertilizer and work it in around the drip-line of the plant.  That is the area below the outside edge of the plant.  The rain drips from the end of these branches on to the fertilizer and helps it dissolve into the soil.
 


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