Sunburn and frostbite. That seemed to be the theme this week. I can’t think of anyone that didn’t get out this past weekend to enjoy the sun and the warm temperatures! Then the middle of the week hit and we had hail, cold rain and strong winds. Now we are creeping back up into the warm again. Make up your mind! At least the weekends have been nice. We are just getting ready to move our seedlings outside and into the garden. The threat of frost is fading and it is time to start the vegetable garden at full speed. Enjoy these great spring days of renewal!
This week we featured...
SLUGS!!! These little pests will devour your new plants and vegetables. If you are looking for a way to keep them in check, William and Judy had a selection of different ways you can deter them or just get rid of them. Slugs are a real problem here in the Northwest and spring is the time when you may notice them the most. They will eat the foliage off your nice garden plants and may even eat the plants as they are just coming out of the ground. Look for holes in the leaves of your tulips, iris and hostas. These are a few of their favorites. First we talked about the chemical baits that you can use. These tend to be the most effective and are made with Metaldehyde which goes by the brand name of Meta. You can get this bait in a liquid, meal and pellet form. If you have children or pets and are looking for something safer, you can check out the products that contain iron phosphate. These are safe around pets and children. William talked about the non-chemical methods of control. He covered beer traps, which works like a scent trap, copper tape which gives them a shock and even an electric fence. You can even stalk your garden in the early morning and just drop them in a bath of soapy water or just cut them in half with your pruners. Take the time to find the method that’s best for you and check with your local garden center if you need help.
The Portland Children’s Museum (502-223-6500) has added something new and it is something you can really get lost in! They recently opened the Zany Maze at their location near the Zoo in Washington Park. To learn more about it we paid a visit with Marketing Director, Melody Bridges. This maze is the perfect height for adults and children alike. It is tall enough for kids to ‘get lost’ and short enough for parents to keep an eye on them. The maze was built on a concrete pad where the old OMSI planetarium used to set. It was quite a feat to place it here because there is storage and a basement under the maze, but there was a lot of help from designers to get this set up. The winding hedges lead to the centerpiece Music Tree with its loud and musical bells. The best part is that it is free to the public during regular business hours. It is the first part of a much bigger project, the Outdoor Adventure! This 1.3 acres will become an education-based outdoor play space. For more information about the Zany Maze and the Outdoor Adventure project you can check out the Portland Children’s Museum website.
Plant your strawberries now for a bountiful harvest this coming summer. Mark Bigej from Al’s Garden Center(503-726-1162) explained the different types of strawberries to William and even showed us how to plant them. There are 2 main types of berries you can plant. ‘June-bearing’ gives you one crop and are perfect for lots of berries at one time for canning and preserving. ‘Ever-bearing’ gives you lots of small crops, and are great for handfuls of berries until the first frost. For best results plant your plants in a row about 1 foot apart. Amend the soil with a time released transplant fertilizer. You should also keep the crop of the plant above the soil level. There are a couple of other things that growers do to get a good crop… plant new berries every 3-4 years. Some gardeners ‘tip back’ the plant, which means you cut off the runners. This makes the plant put its energy into the fruit, but Mark told us it is not necessary. Another tip that some gardeners do is to remove the blooms from your first year plants to promote root growth and make a better harvest in year #2… but we think that may be going too far! Check out your local garden centers for a full range of varieties.
A couple of weeks ago we showed you the Earthpots container. This is a completely natural planting pot that you plant directly in the ground where it breaks down in the soil. There is no transplant shock, no wasted plastic pot and you have a healthier plant too. This week Melanie showed Judy how easy it is to plant up a container with Earthpot plants. They grow vegetables, but they also grow a huge assortment of herbs and perennials too! We found a great selection at Farmington Gardens in Beaverton, but you can find more retailers on the Earthpots website, www.OBCEarthpots.com.
Camellias are one of those plants that seem to thrive in the Pacific Northwest. They can be found in a lot of gardens because they really don’t need much care and they return year after year with wonderful and colorful blooms. Camellias love our moist temperate conditions. Recently Newberg celebrated their annual Camellia Festival. Part of the recent festivities included a visit by National Camellia Society President, Matt Hunter. We met up with Matt at Lan Su Chinese Garden (503-228-8131) in downtown Portland. This meeting place was not by chance. The camellia is a native of China and the Lan Su garden has a tremendous collection of camellias. Matt told us that he was here to also talk to the Newberg committee about hosting the national camellia festival. They are working on their bid and will submit it soon. The Oregon Camellia Society is actually older than the national group. Members of the Oregon group were instrumental in the formation of the national organization. If you would like to see a great selection of camellias, stop by the Lan Su garden. If you would like to get more involved in the Oregon or National Camellia Society you can go to the national website and link from there.
Conifer Needle Drop
In the early spring you may notice that some of your conifers are starting to look a little dead. The inside of the tree may be filled with brown and dry needles and foliage. This is nothing to be alarmed about. As your tree gets older it will shed some of the needles that are no longer being used. You should look at the tips of the plant. Check for new growth. If you don’t see any new growth or there are large patches of brown or branches that are entirely dead you should contact a certified arborist like Collier Arbor Care (503-72ARBOR).