TIPS OF THE WEEK - 2010

RIPE KIWI
November 13, 2010

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 6, 2010

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 PEONIES
June 5, 2010

If you have peonies in your garden they may be starting to reach the end of their bloom cycle. To make sure that they get a head start on next year's bloom you may consider deadheading them. Carol Adelman from Adelman Peony Gardens showed us the steps for deadheading your peonies. Deadheading is the removal of the spent bloom and seed heads from the plant. This removal will push the energy that the plant uses to make seeds back into the roots, leaves and stems of the plant and can make it stronger for the next season. Deadheading is also a good way to prune the plant into a nice compact shape and help keep it low in your garden. Remember not to cut too much of the foliage off, enjoy the unique leaf structure and think about all the blooms you will get next year!
 

PRUNING TULIPS
May 22, 2010

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 bulb strong for next year!
 

HAMMERING LILACS
May 8, 2010

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
10, 2010

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 3, 2010

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 with out touching the plant. It is pin-point application without waste and worry. Remember to use gloves and follow all label instructions.
 


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