October 12, 2019

Frost Cloth

The cold winds of fall and winter are arriving and if you are trying to squeeze out the last of your summer harvest we have a tip for you, frost cloth. It is a light white material that you can use to cover your plants and protect them from a light frost. The fabric is permeable and can allow rain and water to get to your plants, but protect them from the elements. This cloth will protect your tomatoes and other tender veggies so you can get a few more days of harvest out of them.

The other benefit of the frost cloth is that you can reuse it in the spring. If you get your spring vegetables in early, the cloth will keep them a little warmer, so you can get an earlier start to your growing season. So you can extend your growing season in the spring and the fall!

August 31, 2019

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 10, 2019

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 13, 2019

Tool Handle Measuring Stick

Our tip of the week is about making your tools do double duty. When you buy a plant or plant seeds a lot of the tags will tell you to keep the new plants separated by a distance to make sure they have room to grow. Most of us don’t carry around a measuring tape to make sure we keep those distances, so why not make your long handled tools be the measuring tape? Simply make marks on your handle at 6 inches intervals and then all you have to do is lay your tool down to measure the distance and you can plant without worries!

June 29, 2019

Pinching Basil

For our tip of the week we had a simple one for you. This one is all about extending your harvest of your basil well into the season. If your basil is starting to get a flower stem you need to pinch it off. This will promote new leaf growth which is what you use for your pestos and salads. It will also give you a stronger and healthier plant and extend your harvest season.

June 22, 2019

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.

June 15, 2019

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.

June 8, 2019

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 1, 2019

Transporting Trees

Our tip of the week is about getting your new trees and tall shrubs home safely from the garden center. The minimum wind speed which is considered the threshold for a tropical storm is a sustained 39 miles per hour. So just driving down the street with your tree standing upright in the back of your truck is beating it up pretty badly. We stopped by Blooming Junction (503-681-4646) and talked to Ron about how to transport your plant safely. He told us that you should always lay your plant down with the top of your plant facing backwards. Most trees have a large stake tied to the tree. You can rest that on the tailgate to prevent any damage to the tree bark. You can then use a couple bags of mulch or compost to hold the plant in place so it doesn’t roll around. So use these tips and your tree will thank you for it.

May 25, 2019

Measuring Tools

Our tip of the week is about making your tools do double duty. When you buy a plant or plant seeds a lot of the tags will tell you to keep the new plants separated by a distance to make sure they have room to grow. Most of us don’t carry around a measuring tape to make sure we keep those distances, so why not make your long handled tools be the measuring tape? Simply make marks on your handle at 6 inches intervals and then all you have to do is lay your tool down to measure the distance and you can plant without worries!

May 18, 2019

Using a Sprayer Safely

In the late spring and early summer people start to pull out their sprayers. Whether they are applying weed control, moss control or other chemicals we thought it would great to give people a reminder about sprayer safety. These are good tips to follow even if you are applying an organic spray. First make sure that there is little or no wind. You don't want drift from your sprayer to get into different areas than where you want it to go. Also, make sure that the temperature is not too hot or too cold. Most chemicals, either organic or synthetic, are most effective in warm weather. Of course you will always want to read the label for application to make sure that you are applying it correctly. When you are applying the product you should walk backwards so you don't spread the spray on your shoes to other areas in your garden.

As far as attire, you should wear long pants, long sleeves and closed toed shoes. Eye protection, gloves and a mouth cover or respirator round out your clothing choices. Follow these simple rules and
you can be sure that the spray will end up right where you want it!

May 11, 2019

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 (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.

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!

April 27, 2019

Raised Bed Cat Deterrent

We have a great way to exclude cats from your raised beds. One way is to buy bird netting and stretch it over the bed. However, you have to pay attention to when the plants start to grow, because if they get too big, you will tear them up as you take off the netting. So we have another way that's a little bit easier. You just need some push-pins and some kind of line. Put the pins in at intervals on the wood, and stretch it across in a zigzag. You can also use fishing line, which can be reused year after year. Once the plants are big enough that the cats won't bother them, you can remove the line.

April 20, 2019

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 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 two sets of gloves. This will prevent blisters and will make your gardening much less painful.

April 13, 2019

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 year’s 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.


April 6, 2019

TOW – 2 Season Seeds

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 30, 2019

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.

March 23, 2019

Tip of the Week – Smartphone Gardening

Our tip of the week showcases how you can use simple technology to make your lawn and garden thrive. We showed you how to use the calendar in your phone to put in reminders to do simple home and garden chores. For example, when you prune your roses in mid-February you should put in a reminder to fertilize those roses again in six weeks. In fact, every six weeks are a good time for deadheading and/or fertilizing all your roses. Also, if you have houseplants, it might be tough to remember when you last watered them. We tend to overwater them anyway. Put a reminder in the phone to check them every two weeks to see if they need water. If you have a lawn, the best way to make it stronger and less susceptible to diseases and moss is to keep it fertilized. About 3-4 times a year, your reminder in your phone will tell you that your lawn needs a feeding. Put that smartphone to use and get healthier plants and a stronger garden.

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