October 27, 2018

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.

October 13, 2018

Moving Plants Indoors

A lot of people take their indoor plants outside during the summer months. It is good to get them some sun and fresh air, but now is the time to bring them indoors for the coming winter. We have some tips that will help keep them healthy and happy. First, start adjusting them for the reduced light and watering they may encounter indoors. Next, prune off the old, dead or diseased leaves and limbs. Finally, get those bugs! Hit your plants with a stream of water from the hose. This will clean them up and get rid of most of your bad bugs that are on the plant. Next you will want to spray your plant with an insecticide or you can add a granular systemic product that will work for 6 months or more. You can use one of the commercially available products out there. If you are concerned about chemicals or you have a citrus (or other edible plant) you can choose an insecticidal soap or Neem Oil product. The insecticides will kill the sucking insects, the natural products smother them. Once you bring your plants in you will want to protect the floor around them. Use a drip tray or saucer under your plants to catch the water. Also, you want to place your larger plants on a plant caddie so you can roll them around easily. Check with your local independent garden centers for more tips.

September 1, 2018

Pear Ripening

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!

August 25, 2018

Grilled Peaches

Along with all the other ripe fruits and vegetables right now are peaches. And one of the latest and tastiest ways to prepare them is on the grill. One of the places you’ll find the best peaches is at Smith Berry Barn (503-628-2172). Before we got to the recipe we learned how to choose the best peaches at the store. Joelle said you should NEVER squeeze them. This is not a reliable way to test them and it will just bruise them in the process. You should just look at the top of the peach at the stem. If the area around the stem is green, or slightly green, then the peach is not ready. It should have the ‘ripe’ color all the way around the stem.

Then we started on the recipe. Take a ripe peach and cut it in half and remove the pit. Brush olive oil on the outside skin and the cut side of the peach. This is to keep it from sticking to the grill. She then sprinkled on some pepper and some Himalayan sea salt and they we ready for the grill. Rich was manning the grill and had it set for medium high. He also brushed on some olive oil to help prevent the sticking. He ended up grilling the peaches for 12 minutes on the cut faced side (to soften them and give them some grill marks) and about 5 minutes on the skin side. Once removed from the grill Joelle scooped some mascarpone cheese into the center of the peach, drizzled on some honey and topped it off with fresh basil cut with her special chiffonade scissors. It was divine!!!

If you would like to try this recipe on your own you can find everything you need at Smith Berry Barn. Stop by, pick up everything and then prepare to wow the family tonight at dinner!

August 11, 2018

Pool Plants

The heat makes us all thirsty! Our garden tip of the week helps quench the thirst of your hanging baskets and small container gardens. We found a small ‘kiddie’ pool, filled it ½ full of water and set our driest plants in the water. During those days that have excessive heat, the plants really like the extra water and we don’t have to worry about constant watering. There are a couple of precautions you have to follow. Don’t leave them in there for more than a day or two; they can get too much of a good thing and that may create mold, fungus or disease problems. And don’t over fill the pool. Allowing the plant to take what it needs from the pool is good, drowning it is not!

July 28, 2018

Little Baja Container Tree Watering

Our tip of the week is from our friends at Little Baja (503-236-8834). Little Baja are the experts in containers. They sell terra cotta, concrete and glazed containers for the home gardener. One of the biggest questions they get this time of year is how do I keep my plants from dying. Wayne told us that the problem is water. When a tree or large shrub is in a container they are reliant on you to keep then watered. They cannot pull water from an extensive root system in the ground. Plus, when you water them, they need LOTS of water. A little bit on the top won’t make it to the roots. You have to give a large tree about 1-2 gallons of water every day during the heat of summer. This is especially true if you have a tender tree like a maple. An evergreen tree with needles will dry out slower and can make it by if you miss a day, but a maple if left alone can be damaged permanently.

Also, it does make a difference on the type of container you use in the garden. Concrete and glazed pots help to seal in the moisture, but a terra cotta pot breathes. That is what makes them so great for your plants (they stay healthier in terra cotta), but that also means that they can lose moisture faster too. The key is to pay attention and make sure your plants stay well hydrated. If you have any other questions about pottery, or statuary, stop by and ask our friends at Little Baja.

May 12, 2018

Smashing Lilac 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 Lilac Gardens (360-225-8996). 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.

If you are looking for some great lilacs for your garden, check out the Lilac Days event at Hulda Klager’s garden in Woodland, Washington!

March 24, 2018

Floating Hellebore Blooms

In the late winter leading up to spring it is hard to enjoy the colors of your outdoor plants. To help you enjoy them, bring them indoors. Winter blooming plants like hellebores are even more difficult to enjoy because the flowers sometime face down to the ground. One way to enjoy them is to cut the blooms and float them in a bowl of water. This way the blooms are facing upwards and, because they are in water, you can enjoy their beauty for a week or two.


March 17, 2018

Spring Wasp Prevention

It may seem weird that we are putting out traps for wasps and yellow jackets in the spring, but next to the late summer this is the best time to use them. Our friends at Rescue (they make those cool yellow Wasp, Hornet, and Yellow Jacket traps) told us why it is a good time to put them out now. In the early spring the queens emerge from their winter hibernation and look for places to make their nests for the new season. If you get them now they won’t be around to create a nest of nasty pests to ruin your summer fun. Take down your old traps, clean and refresh them with the pheromone attractant packets available at most of your local garden centers. To make your hunting more effective, place a couple of traps around the perimeter of your yard and garden.

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