October 13, 2012

Fall Planting

We keep saying it; fall is the time for planting. It really is! By getting your plants in the ground now they will have time to establish roots and be better prepared for the winter months ahead, plus they will reward you by getting a jump start for you next spring. We always tell people that there are 3 stages to perennials; Sleep, Creep and Leap. The first year they sit there, establishing their roots, the second year they start to spread out, and the third year they burst with full foliage and color. By planting your perennials now you will speed up the process. It is also a great time to move plants around your garden. This summer you may have noticed that some of your favorite plants didn’t do so well in the heat and sun. Now you can move them to different locations in the garden where it might be better suited to their needs.

Fall is also the perfect time to check out some of the fall perennials in your local garden center. Right now you will see some of the wonderful fall color that many plants get this time of year. In the sprig you can see them with great blooms. Now you get to see which ones look great in their fall coats!

When planting or transplanting you will need to amend the soil to make it better for growing roots. As the old saying goes, ‘build a $40 hole for a $20 plant’. Amend your soil with some good garden compost or even a great potting soil like Black Gold. Sprinkle in a tiny bit of transplant fertilizer and you are good to go.


September 22, 2012

Pruning Raspberries

This is the time of year for pruning back your cane berries once they are done producing.  One of the plants that seem to scare people the most is the raspberry.  These plants are can be tricky, but if you pay attention to the plant it will tell you when it needs to be cut back.  Jan McNeilan showed us how the plant begins to die back on the old fruiting canes.  When you see these brown and dried out canes you can cut those off.  Leave the green fresh canes (even if they are baring fruit), these are the fruiting canes for the next season.  If you are looking for more tips on fruit and vegetable growing you can always check out the OSU Extension Website

June 30, 2012

Tuesday Morning Ice Cubes

Our tip of the Week comes to us from Tuesday Morning (800-457-0099) style consultant Sissy Biggers. She was in town a few weeks ago to show us how you can create an outdoor entertainment area. This week she returns with this little tip. When you are making ice cubes, add some chopped mint leaves to the tray and then fill with lemonade. When you serve your guest some iced tea, just add these cubes and as they melt they will create the perfect Arnold Palmer (a drink that is a lemonade and iced tea mixture). Delicious! Stop by the local Tuesday Morning store to see what things they have that you can use to make your next summer party a success!

June 16, 2012

Topping Your Dahlias

Our tip of the week will help your flower garden later this summer. This week we are passing on a tip about ‘topping’ or ‘tipping’ your dahlias. We noticed that, at the end of summer at the Swan Island Dahlia (800-410-6540) fields, their flowers were all up-right and didn’t flop in the fields, unlike our dahlias in the garden. They told us that they cut off the tops of the flower in the late spring. This ‘topping’ of the dahlia makes a shorter, stronger bush and a better structure for the flowers. When your plant is 18-20 inches tall, just count up about 3-4 leaf nodes from the ground and cut off the top of the stem. It is hard for some people to do! They notice the buds starting to form and that means it will take longer for your flowers to bloom, but if you do it now you will have a much better plant in just a few weeks. You can find more tips about dahlia care at the Swan Island Dahlia website.

June 9, 2012

June Drop

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.

June 2, 2012

Mailbox Storage

Our tip of the week is a little bit about recycling as well.  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!

May 19, 2012

Preserving Woody Stems

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 and William shared a tip we learned at the Hulda Klager (, 360-225-8996) lilac gardens. This tip will make your lilacs last longer after they are cut. They 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. You can also cut it along the length of the stem and accomplish the same thing.

May 5, 2012

Cork Markers

This week our tip is about recycling!  Actually, we found this tip online and thought is was a great one for fans of Oregon’s wine country.  The tip is to use your old corks as natural plant markers in your garden.  Simply write the name of your plant or vegetable in permanent ink on the cork and then use a wire rod or wooden stick to mount it.  Then place it in the garden to mark your plants.   That way you know what you planted until it is ready to harvest.

April 28, 2012

Coffee Pot Filters

Good drainage in your pots and containers is very important to the health and success of your flowers and vegetables.  In the past we have suggested using broken pottery shards, rocks, and even foam packing peanuts to keep the hole at the base of your container from clogging.  Recently we read a tip that may have all of those beat!  Coffee Filters!  You just place a coffee filter in the bottom of your planter or container and fill with soil.  These filters are designed to drain water through and not let anything else leak out (either coffee or soil).  Over time the filters will breakdown and then the soil should be set up enough to not leak all over your deck or patio.  Try them out and see how well they work for you.

April 14, 2012

Evergreen Fertilization

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.

March 31, 2012

Cleaning Hellebores

Our tip of the week involves hellebores and cutting the foliage.  You can do this in spring once the hellebore starts to bloom.  By cutting the old leaves off you can enjoy the flowers without all that beat up and tattered foliage.  Don’t worry, in late spring the new leaves will grow in and the plant will continue to grow and be healthy.


March 17, 2012

Our tip of the week involves seeds.  You can pick up a cool season crop seed right now and start your garden early.  Cool season 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.

March 3, 2012

Lawn Mushrooms

We always get questions this time of year about the mushrooms in lawns.  Are they dangerous?  Judy talked about the conditions that cause the mushrooms.  They are caused by decomposing matter in your yard and that there is no way to remove the mushrooms from a lawn. They will continue to occur where organic matter exists.  To be on the safe side they should be removed if you have small children or pets, they could be poisonous.  If you don’t have pets or small children, you can choose to let them be and enjoy nature at work!

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