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The cooler weather is finally here. These summer days have started with nice cool mornings. We have spent many of these mornings enjoying an early cup of coffee out in the garden. It has been very pleasant, the afternoon and early evenings have not been so comfortable. That has required lots of shade, fans and sometimes air conditioning. It feels so much nicer with temps in the lower 80s again.
The garden is producing veggies at quite a clip now. That means lots of fresh stuff for dinner and some left over. We are starting to freeze and preserve stuff again for use later this fall and winter. We're loving the bounty! While you are enjoying your garden bounty, enjoy this episode of Garden Time.
This week we featured...
Bend Indoor Plants
Indoor plants have become very popular and if you want to get your feet wet with some starter plants, this is the story for you. We stopped by Somewhere That's Green (541-330-4086) a shop that features indoor plants in Bend. John, the owner, has put together a wonderful shop packed with indoor plants for any person or household condition. We sat down with him for a few minutes to talk about a couple of easy to care for plants for the beginner and also a couple of plants that an expert may want to add to their collection.
We started with the easy plants. These two plants are just a couple that a newbie can choose from, even if they don't have any experience in growing anything. The first one we featured was the ZZ Plant (Zamioculcas zamiifolia). This is a plant that can handle low light and infrequent watering. You can let it dry out completely and still have it come back after watering. It can also handle low light to bright sunshine. The second plant was just as easy to grow, the Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum). This one needs a little more water and light, but it will reward you with a great trailing habit. It can hang over the edge of a pot like vines, or climb up a rod. People like these because they grow to be pretty big and cover a lot of territory without a lot of work.
The two plants for the experts were unique and cool. These are more for the people who understand light, water and the conditions of their homes. The first one was the 'Pink Princess' Philodendron erubescens. It is a variegated philodendron that was a mutation of a different type of philodendron. Because of that, it is hard to grow this one and they have to be grown by tissue cuttings. They are very sought after because of the cool pink variegation and the difficulty in finding them on the market. The last plant we looked at was the 'String of Turtles' Peperomia prostrata. This plant is covered with trailing vines covered in small leaves. The leaves have a pattern that resembles a turtle's shell. They were very hard to get, but you can now start to find them more often. This one likes indirect light and they don't like to be overwatered. In fact, they like to be a little on the dry side.
If you are ever in Bend you need to stop by Somewhere That's Green. It is an incredible plant store filled with easy and popular indoor plants, but also with a huge selection of rare and unique plants as well.
Pollinate Cut Flowers
Who doesn't love a nice bouquet of cut flowers? Growing those flowers takes a very knowledgeable hand and some hard work. To get an idea about how a flower farm grows these beauties we stopped by Pollinate Flowers (971-832-8097) in the hills outside of Dundee. John, one of the owners, joined Judy in the garden to talk about how they grow, cut and deliver their flowers and medicinal herbs, and to share a few tips for cutting your own flowers at home. John talked about how it starts with the soil. They try and promote a healthy soil by limiting chemical use and promoting biodiversity. In the cut flower industry there is a lot of chemical use so most growers can get lots of blemish free blooms. This attention to clean and healthy flowers means it is a safer product for the animal life, for the consumer and for the environment as a whole. Pollinate believes in farming the soil. This base for all they grow is set by using great compost and disturbing the existing soil as little as possible. This mounding of soil/compost helps feed the ecosystem of tiny animals that breakdown the nutrients into forms that the plants can use and helps to feed the existing plants, creating their wonderful blooms. They do add a few amendments like lime and kelp. The idea is to help the soil stay healthy by adding as little as possible and only what they soil needs. Because of this use of compost, direct drip watering to the root zone and the focus on soil health, their plants and flowers survived the recent heat wave quite well. Where other growers experienced a lot of sun scald and burning of blooms and leaves, Pollinate had very little damage. It is a good model for home gardeners to follow as well.
For the home gardener who would like to bring in flowers from their garden John had a few suggestions. First, cut your flowers first thing in the morning. The blooms are well hydrated at this time and that will mean a more beautiful bloom as the water returns to the roots later during the heat of the day. Also cut your blooms when they are in bud, just before they bloom. Then the blooms will happening in your vase and will last longer. If you get a flower in full bloom, it is already past its prime and soon the petals will start falling. If you have room in your garden, plant more than one plant of any variety. That means you will have one plant for cutting and one plant that can create beautiful blooms in your garden.
If you are looking for some of the beautiful blooms that Pollinate Flowers grows you can pick them up at their store in Newberg which is open Wednesday through Sunday from 11am-6pm. They also have a couple other retailers listed on their website. You can also sign up for a subscription for flower delivery in the Newberg/Dundee area on their website as well. There is nothing like a nice bouquet of cut flowers!
From Vine to Table - Tomatoes
Two of the most prolific vegetables in the summer garden are zucchinis and tomatoes. A couple of years ago we heard about a new cookbook about using zucchini from your garden. The author, Christina Edick, from Chirstina's Food and Travel, even shared a recipe that was incredibly delicious. This summer she is promoting her new book 'From Vine to Table, Everything Tomatoes, the fruit of love'. She invited us into her kitchen to share a quick and easy tomato recipe with us, a tomato tart. First preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Use a premade puff pastry sheet. Unfold it on your baking sheet and stretch it out a little bit. Lightly poke the center of the pastry with a fork leaving the edges unpoked so the edge can rise in the oven. Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over the poked area of the pastry. Arrange cut tomatoes, onions and diced zucchini on top avoiding the edges. Season with salt and pepper (at home we sprinkled a tiny bit more parmesan cheese on top). Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. When the edges were golden brown we removed it from the oven and sprinkled basil and feta on top. Christina had Ryan also sprinkle some green tomato chutney on top as well. Then cut and serve. It was delicious! This can be served as an appetizer or as a main entre.
The book has all types of recipes that cover appetizers,
soups and salads, sauces and salsas, and even condiments and dressings. If it involves a tomato, you will find something in her book. Go to her website to order this great book and her Zucchini book. Also sign up for her newsletter to get other great recipes and the first notice when her new book comes out in early 2022. That one is 'From Vine to Table, Food and Wine Pairings of the Willamette Valley'. We're sure it will also be a delicious hit!
Moonfire and Sun - Deer Resistant Plants
A lot of people in the Willamette Valley think they have deer problems, but if you think we have it bad, travel over the Cascades and experience the deer problem in central Oregon. They have deer walking down the middle of the street! To see how they handle this 'pest' problem we stopped by Moonfire and Sun (541-318-6155) in Bend. There we met with Carrie to talk about plants and products to deter the deer in their neighborhood. Carrie had a saying ABCD, 'Any Barrier to Contain Deer'. We started with plants, but remember these are deer 'resistant' plants. Deer will eat pretty much anything and everything when they are hungry! She told us that taste, texture and smell can help keep the deer away from your garden. Texture was where we started. The soft leafed stachys, the rough foliage of the poppy and the spikey barberry are all avoided by the deer. This texture is not as much of a deterrent when there is new, soft growth on these plants, they will eat that soft, new and tasty growth. Taste and fragrance of other plants are also a deterrent. Liatris, butterfly bush, lavender, sage and veronica are also avoided.
If you are still having trouble with deer sniffing around your garden there are commercial products that use oils and egg solids to scare them away. In the nursery they use 2 different types of sprays to keep them at bay. They will reapply and alternate the sprays so the deer don't get accustomed to the same smell. If you have a small area that needs protecting they also recommend a nice lightweight bird netting to keep them from nibbling. If you do use a netting you may also want to use a reflective tape to keep birds away from the netting to avoid them getting trapped.
If you would like to find out more about deer products and plants you can stop by the nursery or click on their website. They can also be found on Facebook for more frequent updates.