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Happy Labor Day weekend! For many of us this weekend marks the end of summer. Kids are back in school and the cooler mornings and evenings are the sign that the seasons are changing. Iím already seeing Halloween and, in some cases, Christmas displays up in the local stores. It seems crazy, but it will be here soon! There is still time to enjoy these wonderful days and get out into the garden. The harvesting of a lot of your fruits and vegetables is still going strong and if you donít have room to grow, there are lots of farmers markets that have you covered. It is a great time to be outside. Enjoy!
This week we featured...
A lot of people think they are cute, but for the vegetable gardener, they are a big problem. All those veggies become bunny food if you donít take care of the problem. Some will trap them, but a safer way of dealing with them is to look for products and plants that you can add to your garden to deter them away from your plants and veggies. During our recent visit to Bend we stopped by Moonfire and Sun (541-318-6155) to chat with Carrie about how they deter the bunnies from their plants. Central Oregon has a real problem with rabbits. They love to invade well-tended gardens and nibble on the tempting treats inside. Carrie told us the first line of defense is to create a barrier. This can be a low fence or netting since these little guys canít jump over anything tall. You can also elevate your garden by using containers to make getting to your vegetables harder. Taste and smell are also deterrents. Pick plants that taste bad to them, or have a rough texture like poppies, salvias and lambs ear. Fragrant plants are also a deterrent since they have very sensitive noses. Mint, Lemon balm, and rosemary are all good scented plants to consider. If you want to use plants that are attractive to rabbits you may want to use a commercial product to drive them away. Carrie told us that they use Repels-All from Bonide to scare them away. These natural granules will help keep them safely away without harming them.
If you are starting have problems with rabbits, or any other critters, stop by your local independent garden center for helpful advice, or Moonfire and Sun in Bend. They can also be found on Facebook for more frequent updates.
Dry Climate Fruiting Plants
For those gardeners who are tuned into our weather conditions during the summer, they know we are considered close to a Mediterranean climate. We can be wet for a good portion of the year, and then dry out for long stretches in the summer. This can make growing certain plants hard, but it can also present us with opportunities. Hardy Mediterranean fruiting plants can grow well in our area. To help determine which plants are hardy, we turned to Sam and our friends at One Green World (, 877-353-4028). They have an area at their nursery where they trial their new plants to see if they can survive here in our area. If the plant fails, they want it to be at their place and not yours. Sam took Ryan on a tour of their trial beds to show us what he has found for flowering and fruiting plants from different areas around the world. He told us that there are not a lot of plants that produce fruit in the tough conditions of the Mediterranean, one of those plants is the fig. These are a favorite of everyone at the nursery for being prolific and hardy. They are so popular that One Green World grows 150 different figs, though only about 50 are in stock right now. They donít need too much water when they are fruiting, in fact, too much water and it changes the taste and makes them mushy. Another plant that likes these drier conditions are the olive. Olives love the heat, but not the colder winter temperatures. Sam said they have found quite a few varieties that will do well in our area and some can even produce fruit in a shorter season. The Chilean guava is another plant that is easy to grow and very delicious too. It has been called Queen Victoriaís favorite berry and some say it tastes like strawberry pop tarts!
If you would like to grow some of these plants Sam told us that the key is to keep plants with similar needs together. These plants like a dryer climate and so you donít want to put them with plants that love a moist soil. In this bed they had also planted a lot of plants that like similar conditions. These plants were planted nice and tight in the bed to help control weeds too. Some of these plants included cistus, rosemary, sage, lavender, olearia (from New Zealand), leptospermum (tea tree), fan palms and myrtle. All these plants love the same dry conditions and can handle the colder winters too.
If you would like to see these plants or other dry climate fruiting plants, stop by One Green World, or you can order these plants on-line too!
Using Red Pig Garden Tools
Having the right tool for the job is only half the battle, using that tool correctly is the other half! Seth from Red Pig Tools (503-479-5571) gave us a quick primer on the correct use of some of the most common tools that you may have in your garden shed. First we started with hand tools. Seth showed us how you should look for a nice sturdy trowel with a strong shaft. This will allow your tool to do some prying which needs more leverage and strength. An angled handle will help protect your knuckles from scraping the ground. A straight handle is more for vertical digging. We then moved to an asparagus knife, which a lot of people consider a weeding tool. For a tool like this you will also look for a good thick and sturdy shaft since these are used for prying as well.
We then moved to a long handled tool, a hoe. Seth recommends getting a tool that is at least as tall as you are. This allows you to avoid bending at the waist to get the job done. He also weeds across his body, this lets him use his upper body strength and avoid stress on his lower back. We had previously learned that shovels use a different technique. Shovels need to be selected according to the type of job you are trying to do and the type of material you are moving. You should also consider the Ďliftí of the shovel, which in laymanís terms means the angle of the blade to the handle. If you are concerned about what size of tool to fit you and the job you are trying to do, you can contact Seth to help you get Ďfittedí for the correct tools and even some tips on using them correctly. If you have any questions, check out the Red Pig website or give Seth a call.
Seth will also be at the Subaru Fall Garden Fest in Salem on the 18th of September with even more tools for you to look at.
Bend Distilling Rye
We love companies that use or manufacture products using local products or materials. That is what directed us to Bend Distillery. Yes, distilling does use local products and lots of them. When we were in Bend we had to stop by and see what they use to make their tasty spirits. Ryan met with Alan in a field of rye near the distillery. This rye was being grown to use in their signature rye products and whiskeys. You have to love a company that has a gardener and/or farm manager to grow their crops. Alan talked about the importance of growing their own products, or sourcing local connections, to ensure a quality product.
We moved into the tasting room to escape the heat and talked about all the other products that use local products, from berries and hazelnuts from the Willamette Valley, to chili peppers and ginger from west coast farmers, they want to get the best products for every product they sell. Alan also told us that extends to the crystal clear water that they use too. If you would like to try any of these wonderful products from Bend Distilling or Crater Lake Spirits, you can check out your local liquor store, bar or restaurant, or stop by their distillery between Sisters and Bend, or their tasting room in Bend. Weíre sure you will be able to taste the quality!
The Oregon Slug Trap
In the organic garden, using a beer trap to get those pesky slugs is nothing new. We recently found a new take on this old remedy. We met with Dirk from The Oregon Slug Trap in Aurora to talk to him about how he developed the new version of this old standby. He mentioned that the old type of trap used to be just a tuna can in the landscape. That old trap filled with water and could be easily knocked over. This new design keeps the rain out and is harder to knock over, plus the trap is harder for other animals to get into and is designed to attract only the slugs! It comes in green and white right now, but they are also looking into other colors to match your landscape. You can find the traps at French Prairie Perennials (14936 3rd St NE, Aurora, OR 97002) in Aurora and through their Facebook page.