Judy Alleruzzo


 Episode 91
June 21, 2008



William McClenathan

Happy Summer! School's out and families are starting to travel to enjoy those summer vacations. We have noticed that a lot of people are staying home this year because of the rising cost of gas and other expenses. The garden is becoming the vacation destination of choice. You can also spice up your ‘home’ vacations by checking out local events and festivals. Northwest families can get cool ideas for gardening and entertaining from Garden Time every week. So enjoy the #1 gardening show in the Northwest and then get out and enjoy some fantastic events.

We would also like to congratulate Adelman Peony Gardens (503-393-6185) for winning ‘best of show’ last week at the American Peony Society show in Minnesota. They have won best of show five out of the last seven years. The good news is that they have extended their season to this weekend, so you can stop by and check out all the winners!

This week we featured...

PCCG Water Plants

You can tell when summer is starting at the Portland Classical Chinese Garden (503-228-8131); they bring the water lilies and lotus back to Lake Zither. William joined Bill from the staff to chat about the lotus and how they get them to look so good so early in the season. The PCCG takes the lotus out of the lake late in the fall and keeps them in a warm greenhouse during the cold months of winter. This gives them a head start on the spring. Normally the home gardener can hope for blooms in late summer and early fall, but you can see the blooms starting now at the Garden. They also divide them once every three years and fertilize the plants three times each year. The lotus is significant to Chinese culture in many ways. They are prized as a food source and for the uniform beauty of the bloom. To learn more, stop by the Portland Classical Chinese Garden and take a tour.

Simple Drip Irrigation

Being green doesn’t mean you can’t have a beautiful garden. It means you should be responsible with the resources that you use. A drip irrigation system is a great way to use your water more efficiently. Mark from Al’s Garden Center (503-726-1162) showed William how easy it is to build a drip system with supplies that many garden centers carry. First Mark recommended that you figure out the amount of water that your system can provide. Use a bucket to see how many gallons per minute you can get. Then you can use that number to figure out how many drip emitters you can use. There are 2 types of emitters that you can use; a slow drip and a small sprayer. Once you have figured out the number of emitters you want, you just punch a hole in the tubing, attach the small emitter and place it in the plant. If you have any questions you can check with your local independent garden center. Call first to make sure they have all the parts you need.

Worm Bins

We are talking about healthy gardens and with this story it all begins with poop. Worm Poop (or castings) to be exact. Compost bins and worm bins are one of the best ways to help the environment and your garden at the same time. We stopped by the Greenhouse Catalog (800-825-1925) to see some of the different ways you can recycle your yard and kitchen debris to create an all natural fertilizer. Michelle started by showing us the Worm Factory. It is a stacked composter. As you add waste you add more trays and as the worms eat their way higher you can use the lower trays in your garden or containers. You can also use the overflow fluids from the composter as a liquid fertilizer. Next we saw the Pet Poo Converter. This composter is designed for the pet owner. You just add the dog droppings to the bin and the worms take care of those as well and convert that into rich fertilizer. The Greenhouse Catalog also has worms for sale to give your composter a quick start. You can also get a compost caddy for under your sink to hold the scraps until you make the trip to your compost bin. Check out all the different types of composters and supplies on-line or give them a call.

Dog Landscaping

Having a welcoming garden for you and your pet can be a challenge sometimes. We went to one of the local experts in landscaping, ProGrass (800-776-4727), to get some tips to help you and your pet. Steve walked Judy through a yard to show her some of the things that the pet-owner can do to create a safe pet environment. First we looked at shade areas. Pets love to lay in the shade on those hot days so provide an area for them to do that. Next, protect your annuals from being damaged by using pots and containers when possible. Because animals like to dig use a solid fencing that can keep them in and remember to add a base so they can’t dig under the fence. Hardscaping with stone or brick instead of wood decking will help protect their paws and is lower maintenance for you as well. Also be careful about using edging so they don’t cut their paws on that. If you have urine burns in your lawn, just use a grass seed and mulch to fill those holes. Finally, pick all-natural or organic products to create a chemical free environment for your pet. If you have any more questions you can contact ProGrass or your local garden center.

Spring Mulching

Now is the time to apply a good layer of mulch to your garden. Jeff Grimm from Grimm’s Fuel (503-636-3623) joined us to talk about the different types of mulches you can get for your garden beds. In the past, people liked the red, fresh color of a new Fir or Hemlock mulch. This type will age to a grey color and will help keep the weeds in check. The problem is that they tend to pull nitrogen from your soil as the wood breaks down and that leaves less for your plants. The other problem this year is availability. The wood based mulches are harder to come by due to the housing market, fuel costs and timber harvesting. The new popular mulch is Garden Mulch. This is a nice dark color and it will help your garden by providing nutrients for your plants. Grimm’s has all the different types of mulches and can deliver them in bulk or can even blow them in so the work is done and you save your back!

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