Watching the news it is hard to believe what is happening in Colorado. While we have been dealing with showers and rain they have had a streak of dry weather that has people running from the path of wild fire. This is a reminder that we can also be in the same dangerous situation later this summer. If you live in an area that could be affected by wild fires, check out this website, http://www.firewise.org and get prepared.
Can you believe the 4th of July is just a few days away? This spring came fast and now it seems like it is the middle of the summer! I know that we are just a few days into the new season, but it does seem like summer is finally here when we get to the 4th. We hope that you have a happy and safe holiday.
This week we featured...
Deer Resistant Plants
Bambi is cute, except when he is munching on your tasty garden plants. We stopped by Portland Nursery (503-231-5050) on Stark in Portland and talked to Sara to learn about deer resistant plants and other ways for thwarting Bambi’s advances. First of all, when we say ‘deer resistant’ we are not talking about ‘deer proof’. For the most part, if a deer is hungry he will eat anything, even plants that taste terrible to him. Sara started some of the many plants that are considered deer resistant. The plants were grouped into three categories. Some were texture plants, some were taste plants and some were fragrance plants. The texture plants were ones with rough leaves, spikes or thorns. These included Mahonia, barberry and juniper. They are tough to chew and so the deer avoid them. The taste plants were foxglove, euphorbia, and rhododendrons. These taste awful or are poisonous and so they stay away from those too. The fragrance plants are ones that the deer can’t stand the smell and those included rosemary, lavender and sage.
Sara also recommended that you use a deterrent spray to help chase them away. These sprays usually have a combination of natural ingredients like cloves, garlic and pepper to make even tasty plants yucky. You should look for ‘putrescent (rotten) eggs’ or wolf urine on the label. Both of those odors are known to chase the deer away. You can also try the Scarecrow sprinkler. This is a sprinkler that turns on when it senses something in your garden and gives it a squirt of water to scare it away.
If you like deer and want them to come to your garden create a place for them to forage and that might help save some of your plants, but remember once you invite them in it is hard to ask them to leave. For more deer resistant plants and other ideas you can stop by Portland Nursery or check out their website, http://www.portlandnursery.com/docs/birds-deer-bees/deer-resistant.pdf, for a handout.
Smith Berry Festival
It is time for the 10th Annual Berry Festival at Smith Berry Barn (503-628-2172) on Scholls Ferry Road. On the 4th of July from noon to 4pm, you can stop by and enjoy fresh berry desserts, wine tasting from Provincial Vineyards, hot off the grill sausages and hot dogs, and live music. This is a family friendly event with face painting and balloons. You can also stop by the gift shop to pick up some gourmet products and sample a fresh berry milkshake. Plus there will be a ‘Berried’ Treasure Hunt for the kids. You can also go out and do a little u-picking of your favorite berries.
Joelle also talked about how to pick berries. Everyone has picked strawberries, but not too many people know when raspberries and blackberries are ripe. When you are picking raspberries you shouldn’t have to pull too hard to get them off the plant. Ripe raspberries will leave the center plug on the plant when you pull them. Blackberries should come off easy too, but they will keep the center core with the berries when you pick it. You can taste one to make sure it is ripe and then look for similar berries in color and shape. Don’t forget to look under the branches. Sometime the biggest berries are hiding under the branches!
Joelle talked about the slow spring and how the berries are really starting to grow really well right now. They have lots of new varieties that are ripe for the picking everyday and you can check their website for a daily update on what is ripe in the field. Take some home to remember your day in the country!
Your strawberries, blueberries and just about everything else edible is disappearing! The birds are taking everything in your garden, leaving little or nothing for you to enjoy. The same thing is happening to us, so we traveled to Portland Nursery (503-231-5050) on Stark to see what they have to scare the flying felons away. The first thing we found was holographic tape. This is a reflective tape that sparkles when it is hung by your plants to scare them off. Another item was bird netting. This provides a barrier so they can’t get to the plants. The other product was the fake owl. Owls are natural predators of most small birds and that presence of an owl is sometime enough to do the trick. We also found some tangle foot. This is a sticky material that birds don’t like to get on their feet. Finally, we found the Scarecrow sprinkler. The Scarecrow uses a photoelectric eye to sense when you have an animal in the area, then it sends a blast of water to scare the critter away. This product works really well, but is also the most expensive deterrent. There are also some home remedies. You can also hang tin pie plates, or old CD’s in your garden and they sometimes work just as well as the products in the store. There is one more tip to follow. Whatever you use, move it around your garden so the birds and other animals don’t get used to it!
Gartner’s 4th Short Ribs
The 4th of July is one of the biggest grilling days of the year. Everyone is itching to get outside and start enjoying the summer after the cold winter. People also don’t want to spend a lot of time cooking! So if you are looking to save time, enjoy your company and get everything in one place, we have your answer, Gartner’s Meats (503-252-7801)! Jerry Yost invited us back again to his grill to show us how easy the holiday can be! He brought out the #1 best seller they have, the marinated short ribs. These are so easy you won’t even work up a sweat cooking them. Just a couple minutes on each side and they are done! You can also fill up your holiday table with cole slaw, macaroni salad, pasta salad, baked beans, rice, twice baked potatoes, garlic bread and even a dessert. Gartner’s makes it easy. After over 50 years in the Portland area they have grilling down to an art!
Grande Valley Iron Gates
Adding structure to your garden can take many forms. One way to do it is with fencing and gates. We were recently at Grande Valley Ornamental Iron (503-981-6923) and noticed some of the cool designs they had for gates and fences. We met with Ed to learn about how they get the process started for new customers. It starts with a meeting. The new customer sits down with Jan, Ed’s wife and designer, to pencil out some ideas for design. Sometimes during these meetings they can come up with 2-3 different ideas. Then Ed and Jan will make a visit to the garden and do some measuring. This is where they get an idea for how the gate or fence will fit in the garden. They also fine tune the design at this point. They make these designs unique, in fact, a design will not be reused unless the owner agrees to share it, so they can be sure their design is one-of-a-kind! Once the gate is done it is delivered and installed. GVOI is getting quite the reputation. They have even build gates, fences, and fireplace screens for the abbey at Mt. Angel. If you are looking for a new gate that will compliment the beauty of your garden, check out Grande Valley Ornamental Iron.