Boo! Happy Halloween! We are not scared of this weather; we are moving our tender plants back indoors in the next few days. These cool days and torrential downpours are a ‘not so gentle’ reminder that the weather won’t be so nice in the coming months. If you haven’t battened down the hatches, this weekend is a great time to do that.
We are also just a couple of days away from the new edition of the Garden Time magazine coming out. Remember this magazine is FREE and comes to your e-mail once every month. Go here to sign up. Let us know if you have any problems!
This week we featured...
Tulip Planting – Pumpkin Fest
This time of year everyone is out planting their spring bulbs, but often wondered… how does the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm plant theirs? They have acres of blooms in the spring and all the work of planting has to be done now. We met up with Reyes who is in charge of the machine that plants all those bulbs! He showed us how they take huge totes of bulbs and dump them into a planting machine attached to a tractor. The bulbs are then fed down a couple of chutes and into a white mesh tube which is buried in the ground as the tractor moves through the field. This mesh tube has the bulbs in all different positions. We usually tell people to plant their bulbs with the point facing upward, but here they know that the flower shoot will find its way up and out of the soil. They can plant the whole farm in less than a week.
We also talked to Barb about the annual Pumpkin Fest. The tulips are not the only thing happening at the farm. They have the rest of the farm full of corn mazes, slides, kids’ activities and animals. If you head out there don’t miss the paintball shooting gallery, potato gun or the pumpkin cannon! They are open until October 31st from 10am to 6pm everyday!
Grilling season is in full swing, really! We found a recipe that uses fresh fall green bell peppers from the garden. First we stopped by Bauman’s Farm and Garden (503-792-3524) to pick up the bell peppers. Brian filled us in on the differences between the different colors. One thing we found out is that the red bells tend to be a little sweeter than the other and that the more color in the pepper, the higher the anti-oxidants. With the holidays coming up you should check out the great selection of fresh fall fruits and vegetables at Bauman’s.
Next we took the peppers to Jerry from Gartner’s Meats (503-252-7801). He had a recipe for grilling peppers on his Traeger grill. He made an easy stuffed pepper recipe by using the ready-made Gartner’s meatloaf. This is already seasoned so he just stuffed the peppers and put them on for about an hour until they reached an internal temperature of 160 degrees. The other trick we learned was that he used a muffin tin to hold the peppers upright. The tin was also placed in a shallow metal pan with a little water in it. This kept the peppers nice and moist. They were delicious!! If you are really busy you can just buy the peppers already stuffed at Gartner’s.
National Mum Show
A lot of gardeners have the common chrysanthemums in their garden, but one of the overlooked types of mum is the ‘show’ mum. We visited the grower of some of these beautiful flowers, Tamara of Oregon City, who is the president of the Portland Chrysanthemum society. She has been growing Chrysanthemums for over 8 years, but this year she is growing about 175 different varieties. Tamara talked about these ‘show’ flowers and how they are different than those that you find in your local garden center. She showed us the show mum that is grown for contests; these mums are protected from the sun and rain, pinched back to just a few blooms and cultivated carefully. There are tons of different styles of blooms and most make great container flowers for your deck or patio. If you are interested in seeing these blooms up close you can check out the National Chrysanthemum Society National Convention and Show 2012, "The Beauty of the Northwest", hosted by the Portland Chrysanthemum Society this weekend, October 27th and 28th at the Monarch Hotel in Clackamas. The event and some of the seminars are open to the public. Also at the event this weekend is the author of ‘Mum’s the Word’, Pat Stockett Johnston. She will be there to meet with people and sign her new book. You can also get information on joining the society at this event. If you love cool blooms, don’t miss it!
Children are wonderful in the garden. They notice the details that we sometimes miss and are fascinated with the different colors and textures. We recently met well known children’s author, Jan Brett, who seems to capture that sense of wonder in her new book ‘Mossy”. Mossy is the story of the turtle that grows a garden on her back. Right when she meets a boy turtle she is captured by a well meaning biologist and taken to a museum. Don’t worry, they eventually notice that she is lonely and they return her to her home, and that cute boy turtle. Jan’s stories are full of color, texture and details and that is why they are a favorite of children everywhere. The pictures in her books are so detailed that it takes an hour just to draw a square inch! She has sold over 38 million books in 30 years and this one is not only her newest, but one of her best. She joined William at the Barnes and Noble in Vancouver during her recent book tour and chatted about the book in front of her big ‘Mossy’ emblazoned bus. She decided to write the story after she saw a turtle with plants growing on its back. She and her husband built a pond on their 2 acre property to attract an Eastern Box Turtle. It took a couple of years but there is one there now. We hope the pond helps her come up with some other great stories, this one was a winner! You can find it at bookstores around the area or you can order it on-line.
Grimm’s Fall Mulch
Believe it or not, now is the time to start thinking about your summer garden. If your garden is getting tired and needs a boost, then you should be adding garden compost now. It is also the time to add mulch to your garden to protect your plants and add nutrients to the soil. Jeff Grimm from Grimm’s Fuel (503-636-3623) showed Judy all the different mulches and composts available and the benefits of each one. You can even use some of them for erosion control. We also found out the differences between all the different barks that are available, plus if you don’t want to spend time shoveling, they can even blow it in for you. Now is also the time to get your wood for the coming winter. Grimm’s not only has barks and mulches for your garden they also supply wood and heating oil too. Give them a call before it’s too late!
We are tired of lugging our potted plants around every time the season changes. Our problems were solved by a product we found at The Greenhouse Catalog (800-825-1925). The cold days of fall is getting us to move our large planters inside the garage and greenhouse, and to tackle the tough job we are using the Potlifter. This product is designed to lift just about anything in the garden. The buckle was easy to latch and handles were comfortable to use. They say you can use it to carry pots, stumps, boulders and even sacks of concrete. As long as it is 72 inches around and less than 200 pounds it can be carried safely and easily. We even bought one before we left the store!