The rains have returned. William said ‘yeah!!’ on Monday because he didn’t have to water his garden, but I’m still not ready for the fall rains to return. Still, it does feel good to stand out in the showers and feel the warm rain on your face. The heat will be returning and that means you still have time to enjoy that sun for a few more weeks.
This week we featured...
Swan Island Dahlia Festival
WOW! If you have never been to the dahlia festival you have missed one of the most spectacular shows of the summer. 40 acres of blooms greet you as you drive up. But that is only part of it… Nick Gitts from Swan Island Dahlias (800-410-6540) showed us the different styles of dahlias and high-lighted a couple of the different varieties. We saw the different styles of flowers including pom pon, orchid, single, collarette, cactus, decorative, Waterlily, and laciniated. Also, certain flowers he highlighted included ‘Chick A Dee’, ‘Honka’, ‘Bashful’, ‘Patricia Ann’s Sunset’, ‘Pinelands Pam’, Papageno’, ‘Wildman’ and ‘Vassio Meggos’. He also filled us in the special events that they have planned for the two weekends of the festival. If you stop by on August 23, 24, 25, 30, 31 and September 1 (Saturday, Sunday, and Monday) you will also get a chance to see over 15,000 blooms in 400 different cut flower arraignments. You can also enjoy food, cut flowers and informational talks to help you grow dahlias like the experts. And it is all free. Take some time to head down to Canby (not Swan Island) for the annual dahlia festival.
It may be harvest time for most gardeners, but it can also be the start of a new season of vegetable gardening if you plant the right varieties now. Mark Bigej from Al’s Garden Center (503-726-1162) joined us at the Sherwood store to show us all the different varieties of cole crops you can plant now for a late season harvest. ‘Cole’ sounds like ‘cold’ and that is a good way to remember the term. Cole crops used to refer to plants in the mustard family, but now it can represent plants that can handle cooler weather. Plants such as cabbage, cauliflower, kale, broccoli and turnips all do well in the cooler days of fall. You can also squeeze out another crop of lettuce before the winter cold returns. Mark also told us about ways to get your tomatoes to ripen faster and why you shouldn’t worry about mildew on your garden plants. If you have questions about fall vegetables you can contact your local garden center.
Triple Crown Cobbler
It is still berry time in the northwest. We found one of the best cane berries still producing right now is the Triple Crown Berry. Jolene from Smith Berry Barn(503-628-2172) took us out to the field to pick some of these wonderful berries. The Triple Crown is a great late summer berry. It has a great taste, holds up well for eating or canning and is thorn-less! After we had picked a big bowl we went in and learned a brand new recipe to make a tasty cobbler. This recipe is located on the Smith Berry Barn website as a peach cobbler, but we easily changed it to use the berries. First we mixed the berries with some ingredients and baked the berries, and then we made the topping and added that to the mix. When it was finished we had a great dessert that was done in about 40 minutes. Check out the Smith website for more delicious recipes and a daily update of what is fresh from the fields.
Mahonia Bio-Diesel Landscaping
With everyone going ‘green’ it is great to know that the Northwest is leading the way. We paid a visit to Salem to check out the newest Bio-Diesel plant. Bio-diesel is fuel that is made from converted vegetable oil. You can see it being used by an increasing number of vehicles on the road. We came because we were even more interested in the use of plants at the plant. John from Mahonia Nursery (503-585-8789) showed us how his nursery used a mix of native and ornamental plants to create a water-wise, low maintenance, colorful landscape around the grounds. His nursery used daylilies, vine maples, ceonothus, native geraniums and ground covers to create a palette of color that accents the look of the building and fits in well with the overall mission of the plant. If you are interested in more information about bio-diesel or the Salem operation you can check out these websites, www.biodiesel.com and www.sqbiofuels.com.
BBQ Rum Peaches
A couple of weeks ago we featured a recipe on grilling peaches from Olson Peaches (503-362-5942) east of Salem. They are growers of lots of local, fresh produce. We were joined by Christina who showed us another of their great grilling recipes. This one is a bit on the wild side, it uses a little bit of rum to add a great flavor to the peaches. She mixed the rum with some interesting ingredients including mint leaves and almond extract. If you are looking for an interesting dessert that you can prepare quickly on your grill, try this recipe out!
Jan’s August Tips
A mid-summer thunderstorm chased us in-doors for this month’s tips from retired OSU Extension agent, Jan McNeilan. She took us into her greenhouse to talk about some of the issues gardeners may be facing in their gardens. First she had to show off her first harvest of tomatoes and zucchini from her garden. We then talked about watering issues, especially about potted plants. If you leave your plants out too long they can dry out and shrink in their containers. You want to make sure that you are watering them well and not letting the water run around the plant and out the bottom. We also talked about pruning your low hanging flowers up and away from the ground. These flowers will attract hummingbirds and they could become lunch for the neighborhood cats. Finally you can cut back your old raspberry canes now and get them ready for next season. Leave the newer non-fruiting canes alone, they will become next year’s crop. For more tips you can check out the OSU Extension website.