TIPS OF THE WEEK - 2011

PRESERVING GREENS
November 26, 2011

Preserving Greens

Fresh cut greens are a staple of the holidays. Unfortunately they can dry out quickly once we get them indoors. William gave us some tips for preserving them throughout the holiday season. First, give your greens a fresh cut and put them in water for a short time before using them for decorating. If you can keep them in water, you can add a preservative to the water to keep them fresh longer. If they can’t be in water you can use a product like ‘Wilt-Stop’ from Bonide. It is a spray that seals in the moisture and helps keep them fresh. The final thing you can do is to have your greens flocked. The flocking totally seals in the moisture. A little work on your greens while you are decorating will ensure that they will be around until Christmas and beyond.
 

LEAVES IN THE BEDS
November 19, 2011

Leaves in the Bed

Tired of bagging your leaves?  Here is a quick tip that will help your 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.

 

MOVING YOUR POTS
October 15, 2011

Moving Your Pots

With colder days on the way it is time to start thinking about moving some of your tender plants to protected areas. Judy and William moved a couple pots up under the eaves of a house. The eaves will help keep the frost from forming on the plants and it will keep the plants warmer as well, with the radiating heat from the siding. If you have plants that are ‘touchy’, now is the time to move them. One thing to remember; you will need to water them. The eaves that protect them from the cold will also prevent water from reaching the plant.
 

RIPE SQUASH
October 15, 2011

Ripe Squash

The number one question that Bauman Farms receives this time of year is ‘How can I tell when my squash is ripe?’ Brian Bauman from Bauman Farms (503-792-3524) joined us to share the answer for our ‘tip of the week’. There are 2 things you should look for if you are wondering if your squash is ripe. First, look to see if the foliage is dying back. If the foliage is brown and crispy, then check the spot where the squash is in contact with the ground. The spot should not be white. If it has changed color to a cream or orange color then it is ready to harvest. We also checked out some of the huge variety of different gourds and picked out the best ones for eating including the delicata, acorn, butternut and the sweetmeat squash, which is also the best for making a pumpkin pie. If you would like to try something different on your dinner table, try squash they are delicious. The staff at Bauman’s will be more than happy to help you pick a good one to try.
 

PLANTING GARLIC
October 8, 2011

Planting Garlic

A few minutes now will lead to a flavorful future.  Judy gave us tips for planting garlic for the fall.  Planting now will allow the bulbs to create the roots that will make for a bountiful harvest next fall.  First dig a trench about 4 inches deep.  Get some garlic from your local garden store.  Don’t use the garlic from your local grocery store; it is treated to keep from sprouting.  Break apart the cloves and plant the individual parts about 3-4 inches apart.  Top dress with a bulb food and water well.  Garlic is one of the easiest bulbs to grow, so this could be the start of a successful garden for next year.
 

DOGGIE GRASS
October 1, 2011

Doggie Grass

You may have a small yard or garden and if you have a dog or cat they may not have the pleasure of walking through the wonderful texture of the cool grass of a lawn, but you can still give them the opportunity to do just that. We found a great idea at Portland Nursery on Stark (503-231-5050). They built a mini lawn for a display. They simply used a wooden pallet as a base and covered it with landscape fabric and then lined the edges with pavers and laid sod in the middle. This created a nice little piece of grass that any house pet would love to enjoy. Remember to use some organic fertilizer every once in awhile to keep it green and rinse it with water every day or so to dilute any pet urine to prevent burning of the grass. Set it out in the sun and let Fido enjoy a little bit of heaven!
 

COVER CROP
September 24, 2011

Cover Crop

If your garden has been kind of weak the last few years it may need the refreshing boost of a cover crop.  Over time the soil can lose a lot of the nutrients and that means smaller plants and less yield from your best vegetables and flowers.  Cover crops help rejuvenate your soil by fixing nitrogen and putting nutrients back into the ground.  By planting these plants (vetch, clover, and peas) we are providing ‘green’ manure to the soil.  Cover crops also help prevent soil compaction caused by the rough winter weather.  Planting a cover crop now will help your garden be healthier this coming season!
 

RIPENING PEARS
September 10, 2011

Ripening Pears

Bringing fruit into the backyard garden is something we are all trying to do and with the abundance of small and dwarf varieties it is easier than ever.  But with some fruit, like pears, it is hard to know when to pick the fruit.  This week we gave you a few tips on ripening pears that we picked up from a flyer we got from the OSU Extension Service.  Look for a slight tenderness at the top of the pear where the stem is located.  If there is a little ‘give’ pick the pear and then store it in your refrigerator (the time in the refrigerator depends on the variety of pear).  Pears tend to ripen from the inside out and this will help even out the overall ripening of the fruit.  If you follow a few simple rules you can have a sweet luscious pear that won’t be mealy or gritty!
 

DEADHEADING RHODIES
July 16, 2011

Deadheading Rhodies

So your early blooming rhododendrons are starting to lose their bloom. Here is a tip to help you get more bloom out of them next year. Take the spent bloom at the base and snap it off. Be careful not to damage the new growth coming out at the base of the bloom. By removing the old bloom you are telling the plant to not produce seed heads and to spend its energy on the bloom for next year.
If you are looking to limit the growth of your plant you may want to do a little trimming. Snap off some of the new growth to keep the plant at the same height. This may also damage some of the blooms for next season since the plant sets buds in late July and August. You can reduce the height of your plant by cutting down the branch to the next leaf bud. This will cause the plant to not bloom on that branch for next year, but you can generally expect a new bloom on that branch the year after that. Also remember to wear a glove when cutting your rhododendrons back; they have a coating that may irritate your skin.
 

PET URINE
July 9, 2011
 

Pet Urine

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 is good shape that will minimize the stress and help the spots blend in.  Some people recommend that you add tomato juice to your dogs 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 pets' food.
 

RAKING NEEDLES
July 2, 2011

Raking Needles

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.
 

DEADHEADING FUCHSIAS
June 25, 2011

Deadheading Fuchsias

If you have a hanging fuchsia basket you may notice that as the summer goes on the flowers don’t seem as prolific as they were when you bought it.  The problem may be the fruit.  Like most other plants, once the fuchsia is done blooming it starts to create a seed or fruit (it is called a fuchsia ‘cherry’).  This takes energy away from new flowers and sends it to those seeds.  To keep your fuchsia blooming longer just remove the seeds and give it a shot of liquid fertilizer at least once a month. Then you can enjoy those wonderful blooms all summer long!
 

CANDLING CONIFERS
June 18, 2011

Candling Conifers

People often wonder how they can prune their conifers.  It can be hard if your trees and shrubs get away from you and get too big.  There is one way you can keep them in check!  It is called candling.  When your conifer starts showing new growth, those are called candles.  You can regulate the growth of your conifers by removing some or all of these candles.  It is a great way to avoid unnecessary pruning as your plants get older.
 

DEADHEADING IRIS
June 11, 2011

Deadheading Iris

The irises are finally blooming and as the first blooms fade you can freshen them up with a little pruning.  Just take your pruners and cut off the dead blooms as they get old.  Just be careful to not cut off the new blooms that are usually lower on the stem.  These blooms will mature and give you great color for weeks to come.  If the foliage is looking a little tattered you can cut that back as well.  Just remember to leave as much green foliage as possible.  This green foliage will feed the roots and result in more blooms next year!
 

CARPET PLANTING
June 4
, 2011

Carpet Planting

When we say carpet planting we are not talking about a rug!  We are talking about creating a carpet of color in your garden!  When you are planting your annuals this year, plant them a little closer.  If the tag says 12 inches apart, try planting them 6-8 inches apart.  This way they will fill in a little faster and look fuller.  You may have to buy a few more plants, but for the cost of a cup of coffee your will have the color ‘pop’ that will be the envy of the neighborhood!

MAILBOX STORAGE
May 28
, 2011

Mailbox Storage

Our tip of the week is a little bit about recycling.  We recently replaced an old mailbox and while we could have thrown it away, we decided it could serve a more useful purpose in the garden.  We installed it in the garden and now it holds all our small hand tools and gloves.  When we have to head inside for a quick break the mailbox holds our garden gadgets until we are ready to work again.  No more lost tools in the garden!

PAINTING WEEDS
May 14
, 2011

Painting Weeds

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 used 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 GLOVES
May 7
, 2011

Double Gloves

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 latex 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.
 

DEADHEADING DAFFODILS
April 30
, 2011

Deadheading Daffodils

Now is the time to deadhead your early spring blooming plants.  By removing the seed heads, you are telling the plant to send the energy to the bulb or tuber to make it stronger for next years bloom.  Don’t cut back the foliage yet! That part of the plant is putting the ‘gas’ in next year’s engine.  When the foliage dies back in a couple of weeks you can just pick it up and clean up your garden bed then.
 

BAD GAS
April 23
, 2011

 
Bad Gas

Our tip of the week comes to us from our friends at Stihl Tools.  Wayne Sutton from Stihl told us about the importance of keeping fresh gas in our power tools and equipment.  He recommended 89 or higher octane rated fuels that are not more than 30 days old.  Gas gets weaker as it ages and weak gas creates most of the problems a homeowner will encounter in their power equipment.  For other power tool tips check out the Stihl website.
 

SEALING YOUR PLANTERS
April 2
, 2011

Sealing Your Containers

You can extend the life of your wooden planters and it doesn’t take much to do it.  We found that if you use a pruning sealer it will do a great job of preserving your planters and containers.  Pruning Sealer is normally used to seal the cuts and wounds on trees after they have been cut or damaged in any way.  This prevents pest and diseases from entering the tree and damaging it.   The same principle holds true for planters.  If you just spray a coating on the inside of your planter or container it will prevent disease and decay from shortening the life of your planter.  Check for Pruning Sealer at your local independent garden center or nursery.  The product we found was from Bonide.
 

CLEANING PRUNERS
March 26, 2011

Cleaning Pruners

Our tip of the week comes to us from our friends at Heirloom Roses.  When we were visiting a couple of weeks ago we noticed that they were using Clorox Wipes to clean their pruners after each plant.  Normally we would recommend a spray bottle of a bleach & water mixture, but this seems a lot more convenient.  You should keep your pruners clean to prevent the spread of plant diseases and these wipes seem to make that chore a breeze.
 

CONIFER FERTILIZING
March 19, 2011

Conifer Fertilizing

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.
 

CHEMICAL LABELS
March 12, 2011

Chemical Labels

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.  Always remember to store all garden products, whether organic or chemical in a safe area away from pets and children.
 

DOUBLE SEASON SEEDS
March 5, 2011

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.
 


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