Episode 616 • November 6, 2021


COVID-19 AWARENESS: Please note that we are taking all necessary precautions to keep our on-air personalities, interviewees and crew safe during this challenging time. However, we do run repeat stories and segments that were shot last year, before social distancing practices were recommended by health officials. If you see our hosts standing close to someone, please be assured that the segment was shot before March of 2020. We thank you for your concern and your interest in Garden Time.

The sprint begins as we have now passed Halloween and head into the Thanksgiving and holiday season. If you thought that fall had passed quickly, it has! The rain and building mountain snow is a sign that our warmer days are numbered and we can put our outdoor gardens to bed. We have all our tender plants inside or under cover to get ready for the colder days ahead. We are cleaning and drying our outdoor furniture to help us when we pull them out next spring. A little bit of work now and they will be in better shape next year.

The holidays bring us another set of plants to love. We have the traditional holiday plants and the normal indoor plants to enjoy. This week we have stories on both. Check them out and then start dressing up your home for the winter!

This week we featured...

Cooking with Pumpkins and Squash

Tried and True Houseplants

The pumpkin is a sign of Halloween and the fall harvest. Aside from decorating your doorstep for the season, you can find a lot of delicious recipes that incorporate pumpkins and their cousin, the squash. To get some ideas on how to use and preserve pumpkins and squash we stopped by Blooming Junction (503-681-4646) and talked with Farm Manager, Justin. The question that a lot of people ask is what separates winter squash from summer squash? Summer squash has a thin edible skin and a short storage life. Winter pumpkins and squash come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors and flavors. Despite their diversity, winter varieties do share some common characteristics. They have a hard shell which is tough to pierce. This tough outer rind actually enables it to be stored for long periods of time, some varieties up to six months in a cooler and dry location. Their flesh has a mildly sweet flavor (that doesn’t always taste like pumpkin) and their texture is finely grained. These gourds are rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Winter squash all contain seeds that have a hollow inner cavity. Justin told us how these are different from the seeds you find in the store. The ones you find in your pumpkin or squash have hulls, which are edible and are tasty when roasted with a little oil and salt. Just scoop them out when you cut open your gourd, clean them and then toss them with a little oil and salt. Bake them on a cookie sheet for about 25 minutes and they are done. A nice healthy snack that will keep for at least a few weeks. We use our seeds as a topping on our pumpkin and squash soups.

To prepare your gourds for recipes you can make a nice puree out of them. We do that by cut the larger ones in half or large chunks. Coat them with oil and then place them facedown on a baking sheet and roast them at 400 degrees for about 45 minutes to an hour. They are done when you can poke them with a fork. The outer skin should peel right off and then put the ‘meat’ of the gourd in a blender or food processor. Once liquified, we place 4 cups (our usual recipe requirement for a soup) in a freezer bag and place them flat in the freezer. They stay flat and are easier to store like that.

For more tips on cooking with pumpkins and squash, and finding the tastiest varieties, stop by Blooming Junction on Saturday the 6th at 10am for a class on using these tasty vegetables at your table.

Al’s Poinsettias

Tried and True Houseplants

Halloween is gone and, believe it or not, it is time for poinsettias. They are just starting to make their appearance at local garden centers and other stores. The big push will be in a couple of weeks but you can get some nice plants right now. The big question that we hear is ‘how do I pick a good one’ and ‘how can I make it last’. To find out the answer to these questions we stopped by the Sherwood location of Al’s Garden and Home (503-981-1245) and talked to owner, Mark Bigej. He brought a few plants from their farm to show us some of the varieties that they are offering this year. We started with 2 new selections. First, we had ‘Golden Glow’ with bright yellow bracts. This was followed by ‘Orange Glow’ which would be great for the OSU fan in your home. We then moved to a few that had smaller bracts. These varieties are called Princettia poinsettias. They are a group that returns to the original native style of poinsettia before they hybridized them with larger colored bracts. Mark also talked about the classic red poinsettias that are more popular as you get closer to Christmas. One poinsettia that has the red color, but also a variegated green/yellow leaf/bract is ‘Tapestry’. The next one was ‘Alaska’ which is one of the whitest flowers you will find in a poinsettia. The next one was a newer, but very unique one, ‘Christmas Mouse’. Instead of the regular pointy leaves/bracts, this one has a round shape that resembles mouse ears. The last one we saw was a small classic red called ‘Holly Berry’. Smaller, but with the pointy holly-like leaves. These colors and shapes can be used in your decorations for all the holidays leading up to Thanksgiving and all the way to Christmas as well. There are lots of different varieties including variegated, and ones with different colors. You can find one to match any décor you may have for the holidays.

Some other tips on how to pick a good plant… First look for good branching. A single branch plant will not give you the bunches of blooms that you want. And speaking of blooms, the bright colors you see are not the flowers of the poinsettia. The flower is the small center buds that are usually yellow. The bright colors are modified leaves (bracts). As for the blooms you will want small tight buds that are not yellow yet, that means they are early in their bloom cycle. Also look for good healthy green leaves under the brightly colored ones.

Now that you have picked out a good one, how can you make it last? Al’s recommends that you treat your plant with tender loving care. Make sure that it doesn’t get placed in too hot of a spot, that it doesn’t get in too many drafts and keep it in bright non-direct sunlight. You will also want to water it regularly without over watering or having it set in water. Remember to remove the decorative foil sleeve when you are watering it. If you follow these tips it will be around for a couple of months if not longer! You can find a sheet of ‘care tips’ at all Al’s Garden and Home locations or get a link to it here.

This weekend you can find these and many more at any of the 4 locations of Al’s. They will be wrapping up their annual Week of Lights. Check out their website for details and a listing of events at their stores.

New and Exciting Houseplants

Tried and True Houseplants

Recently we stopped by Garland Nursery (800-296-6601) to chat about houseplants and we first met with Erica to talk about the ‘tried and true’ plants that even the beginner can have success with. This time we are visiting with Brenda to chat about some houseplants that are perfect for the experienced grower. These are some of the new and exciting plants that are available on the market and sometimes they can be quite rare and challenging to grow.

We started with the Angel Grass (Murdannia loriformis). This one likes bright indirect light and nice, even moisture. It has a very interesting silver pattern to the leaves. Next we saw the Alocasia ‘Lauterbachiana’ the pickiest of the bunch. It is very touchy about watering. The leaves look like huge arrowheads and are long and slender. The next one may seem familiar, the hoya. This trailing or climbing vine is usually a shade of solid green, but this one, ‘Speckled/Publicalyx’, has a spotted and mottled leaf. It looks wonderfully cool and can climb all over a structure like a bookshelf or even a curtain rod so give it a little room. The next plant was called Dragon Tail (Rhaphidophora descursiva) and is also a climber so it needs room and support also. It has solid green shiny leaves to start with, but as it grows older those leaves will get a nice decorative split in them so they resemble fish tails. Next on the table was the Ficus ‘Triangularis varigata’. This one has the heart shaped leaves of a fig plant, but the green leaves are trimmed in a cream color that looks stunning. It also likes nice even watering and that bright indirect light that most of these houseplants love. The final plant was the VERY popular ‘Pink Princess’ Philodendron. This is one that a lot of people are looking for. The red stem with green leaves that end in a pink variegation is a new crowd pleaser! It likes that indirect lighting and the pink will get brighter with more of that indirect sunlight (at least 6 hours a day).

These are just a few of the new cool houseplants that you will find at Garland Nursery. Check out their flyer here then stop by and pick up a few to dress up your home for the winter.

Winter Tree Prep

Tried and True Houseplants

The wind, rain and possible snow of the coming winter can mean trouble for your large landscape trees. How can you tell if your trees are healthy enough for all that Mother Nature has to offer? Especially with the extremes we saw this past year, ice storms, drought, extreme heat and winds. This has a lot of people concerned about their tree health and preventative tips. To help people, we sought out some tips from Bartlett Tree Experts (503-72ARBOR, 503-722-7267) and talked with Ray and Kevin to ask for some signs we can look for. Ray started off by talking about the overall health of your trees. A healthy tree can withstand a lot of abuse from Mother Nature. Bartlett checks out a lot of factors when assessing your tree’s health. Soil testing and overall plant health are checked. Ray showed us how they can test for soil minerals and pH so they can treat your plants and get them back to peak health. He mentioned that the fall is a great time to apply fertilizer, but that you need to know what type of fertilizer to apply. They can help in deciding what steps you need to take.

Kevin then joined us to talk about looking for the danger signs as we enter the winter He told us that you should check your trees from the ground up. Look for damaged roots, trunks and canopies. He said that an arborist should check out the tree to make sure that there wasn’t any decay or disease that could weaken it even more. You should notice things like a multiple trunked tree that could lose one of its trunks due to rot and decay at its base or between 2 main leaders. Look for dead branches and one that had fungal conks (a sign of possible internal disease). Those are just a few of the 8 signs that you should look for in a dangerous tree. Other signs included weakly attached branches, cracks in the branches near the trunk, peeling bark and signs of decay or rot. These are the most obvious of signs, but if you are unsure of the safety of your trees you can contact Bartlett. Bartlett even has a brochure that can tell you what else to look for. Kevin also emphasizes that you insist on a certified arborist. They are trained to look for the damaged spots and are trained (insured and bonded) to remove the weak tree safely.

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