Welcome to our second show of this season. Sorry to all our friends in Portland for being on a little early today. We had to move because of NCAA basketball and not because we had to move our clocks forward. We will return to our normal time in Portland next week and then we won’t have a break until Labor Day. This week we are finding that the weather is still doing crazy things. First it is warm and now, as we enter the weekend it is getting cold and wet again! Don’t worry, spring is a little over a week away, so hang in there and get out in the garden when you can.
This week we featured...
Pruning Climbing Roses
Climbing roses are unique and can be the best bloomer in your summer garden. But to get the most out of your plant you need to prune it correctly. They are different than your standard hybrid teas. Laurie from Heirloom Roses (503-538-1576) walked us through some of the rules for pruning them correctly. What you can do now is to thin them out. Pick the oldest canes and take them out at the base of the plant. This will promote new cane growth and better plant health. Next you will want to train the longer newer canes on a horizontal fence, wall or trellis. This causes the plant to send flowers up from the entire length of the cane. If you train it vertically it will send all the flower growth to the top of the cane and it won’t be as attractive. If you have specific questions, you can always contact Heirloom Roses or sign up for their Saturday Academy classes. Check the Garden Time events calendar for information on upcoming classes.
Spring Pot Rejuvenation
Spring is a great time to refresh those tired pot and planters on your deck and patio. We tackled one on our front porch. This pot was full of plants that could be used again and others that were completely dead. First, we dug out all the old plants and checked to see if they were still viable. The fuchsia in the center of the pot still had healthy roots. They were firm and not mushy, so we moved it into a small pot to see if it would jump start in the greenhouse (you can also put yours near a window in your home). Then we went around the pot and trimmed back some plants like the pansy that has gotten a little over grown. We are going to save that one because it was just starting to bud. We also found a Coral Bell Heuchera on one side of the pot. We have learned that these need to be dug up when they start getting too tall and leggy. You can then replant it a little deeper and it will come back with new leaves and blooms for the new season. To add some new color to the pot we decided to plant up a new hellebore that is a bright yellow with speckles on it. Then we surrounded it with the new primrose Kennedy Irish ‘Drumcliff’. We also used some new Black Gold All Purpose potting mix in the container. This potting soil will give the plants a nice boost because it has a slow release fertilizer in it. Now we will water it and keep it near the house to protect it for the next couple of weeks while the weather warms a little. It will soon be filled in and beautiful by the middle of spring.
If you have fruit trees, now is the time to dormant spray before they start to flower. Dormant spraying will help control insects and diseases during the coming growing season. William and Judy showed you the type of spray you can use. William used an All Seasons Horticulture Spray from Bonide. This is a spray that is all natural and will smother insect eggs, preventing problems before they start. You can spray now before the flower buds open. Once the flowers are open you can let the pollinators go to work and get your tree pollinated. Once the fruit has formed you can spray again to prevent any other problems. This product is available at your local independent garden center. Your local garden center is also where you can get all your pest questions answered.
Seed Starting Supplies
Now is the time to start planting your summer garden, indoors! You can get a jump on the growing season by starting your plants now and it is easy to do if you have the right supplies! Michelle from the Greenhouse Catalog (800-825-1925) walked us through the materials you will need to be successful. First we started with a seed tray. They have lots of different ones to choose from. They have the standard ones that are plastic and you can reuse them over and over again each season. They also have some new types including the ‘Root Riot’ tray. This tray comes with a spongy seed cube that makes it easy to pop them out once they have rooted and pop them in a bigger pot. Then we also saw the ‘Smart Float Seed Tray’. This one is made of Styrofoam and it is designed to float on the water in the base tray. This means your seedlings will not get over watered because it floats on the surface of the water and the seeds can get the right amount of water while they are germinating. Next she added a growing medium. She recommended a CocoLite Brick. The brick breaks up into a highly water absorbent potting type soil. Michelle told us to remember to transplant the seedlings or fertilize them once they start growing since the coco contains no nutrients. Next was heat. A seedling heat mat will help keep them warm and cozy. Then the final touch, lights. Some seeds may require additional lighting to be successful; check the variety to see if you are using one that does. They also have the right materials if you want to try propagating cuttings from your existing plants. No matter where you live you can get everything you need at www.GreenHouseCatalog.com.
If you are not sure about planting your garden and where to place things, check out this ‘garden planner’ from our friends at Territorial Seeds.
Fruit Tree Grafting
As a kid I always thought that I could plant an apple seed and get a tree full of apples in my backyard! I learned later that was impossible. The seeds from an apple are a mish-mash of different genes and you can never be sure of what you will get. The only way to get a fruit tree that is a true variety is to graft one. Grafting is the art of using one type of tree for healthy roots and another type of tree for good fruit production. To learn more we stopped by the Home Orchard Society Arboretum at Clackamas Community College. We met with Monica Maggio, who is the manager, to get a tour and lesson in grafting. First we started at the back of the property to see a row of Melrose apple trees. These were all different sizes to show people how you can control the height of a tree by the type of root stock you choose. The apples will all taste the same (because they came from the same parent tree) but the size of the plant can change. Next we moved to a very unique cherry tree. This one had 4 different types of cherries on one tree. The tree started with one root stock and over time the different varieties were added one at a time. Now you can get 4 different kinds of cherries during the season. Pretty cool!
Finally we moved to a demonstration table where Monica showed us how to graft an apple tree. She started with a piece of root stock that was already planted in a pot. Then she took a piece of scion wood and made a sharp angled cut. The scion wood is actually a piece of first year ‘new wood’ from a parent plant (a type of apple you want to have in your garden to eat). She made a sharp cut to this one as well. The surface areas of the 2 cuts have to match up pretty well for the graft to work. Then she made an additional cut in both pieces so you had a little ‘tongue and groove’ area to secure the pieces together. Then you wrap them with a piece of rubber band and some grafting seal to keep it from drying out or keeping bugs and diseases from entering. If the graft works you should be able to start harvesting apples in 3-4 years.
If you would like to make your own tree the opportunity is coming up next weekend at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds in Canby during the Home Orchard Society’s Fruit Propagation Fair. They will have over 500 different varieties of apples and pears to choose from so you can pick the fruit you want to enjoy for years to come and graft it yourself! The event is Saturday March 17th from 10am to 4pm. Stop by and learn more about this fascinating process!