Happy Halloween! The only thing about this weekend is that it marks the end of fall for a lot of people. Even though we are weeks away from the beginning of winter, for a lot of people the winter starts when the fall festivals wrap up. This weekend you will find a ton of fun at various locations around the state. In fact, we pay a visit to one of the best festivals in the state at Bauman’s Farm and Garden. If you get a chance you should stop by the harvest festival near you before they are gone!
Of course, after Halloween we are into the holiday season and another story this week from Al’s Garden Center hopes to get you in the mood for Thanksgiving and Christmas. It is all part of their Evening of Lights event. Check it out if you have a chance. Then, after the holidays you pretty much have nothing to look forward to until spring, unless… you are joining us in Hawaii in February. We have only a couple of seats left for our Hawaii garden tour, be sure to check it out and sign up to join us for some fun in the sun!
This week we featured...
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!
Bauman’s Harvest Festival Wrap-up
It has been a wet October! But that hasn’t dampened the spirits at Bauman’s Farm and Garden (503-792-3524) for their Harvest Festival. We stopped and talked to Brian about the wet weather and, this, their final weekend of their event. He only had a couple of recommendations if you plan on coming out. First, dress for the weather. Even though most of the attractions are under cover you can still get a little damp moving from one to another. Second, bring your toughest rig! If you have a 4-wheeled drive, bring it, the parking area (which is a farm field) can get a little muddy at times. Finally, come early! There is so much to see and do, that you want to make the most of it. Coming early will guarantee that you are able to squeeze everything in during your visit, plus you’ll get a better parking spot.
When you are at the farm check out the different mums they have for sale. Mums are the flower of fall and one of Brian’s favorites. In fact, he has added a new twist to the fall mum basket, putting them in hanging baskets! These Belgian mums are in full bloom and with 3-4 varieties in each basket you are going to get a lot of color for the fall and early winter. They also have some of the fancier varieties as well to choose from. Then we moved over to the squash and pumpkin bins in their store. With Thanksgiving only a few weeks away it is time to start thinking about feeding all your relatives. Bauman’s has a full bakery and they are now taking orders for all your favorite bakery items, pies, roll, scones and cookies are all waiting to take home right now, but to make sure you get your favorite for the big feast, make sure you order now. Judy also mentioned squash and pumpkins. She was holding a delicata squash, one of our favorites! It is easy to make too. Just poke some holes in it and throw it in the microwave to soften it up and you are ready to enjoy. That is just one of the many types of squash and pumpkins you can enjoy this season. Not sure how to prepare one, just ask! Bauman’s great crew can help you out with any of your vegetable questions. Stop by this weekend, enjoy the final weekend of the Harvest Festival and take home some tasty treats too!
Al’s Holiday Prep
Even though we are just approaching Halloween, the rest of the holidays are just weeks away. One place where you can get excited for all the upcoming events is at Al’s Garden Center (503-981-1245). They have all their holiday décor set up and ready to go. In Sherwood alone they have 20 designer Christmas trees! We met with Candace to tour 3 of her favorite trees. The first one we stopped to see was a take on the classic white themed tree. The Al’s Classic White tree was called ‘Frozen Lake’ and included spots of blue in the color scheme. This was to provide the look of ice, frost and icicles in the decorating. Then we moved to the second tree called ‘Simply Christmas’. This tree has a very ‘lodge’ feel to it. The earthy tones of the stockings, sleds and reindeer, add a rustic feel to this one. We also noticed that they used very large pieces to make the tree look different and beautiful. We noticed large signs, reindeer and skis as decorations. The final tree, ‘Christmas Conservatory’, had all the traditional colors of red, green and cream colors, but it also had a chartreuse green theme to it. It also had a lot of garden plant decorations to it. There were decorative holly, berries and hydrangea blooms interspersed among the colorful ornaments. One of the most unique decorations was the holly garland wrapped around the tree that was made out of felt. Beautiful!
Your chance to see these trees is anytime between now and December, but the best time to see them is during the annual ‘Evening of Lights’. This event takes place at all 3 Al’s locations in early November, Sherwood on the 3rd, Woodburn on the 4th and Gresham on the 12th. During this evening event they turn down the lights and turn up the sparkle! We can see all the decorated trees with their lights on and a ton of other decorations as well. There are also hundreds of poinsettias and other holiday plants to enjoy and take home. You can also enjoy food, wine and beer and live music. It is a wonderful evening that will get you in the holiday mood quickly!
Portland Nursery Cover Crop
Cover crop is seed and plants that help your soil ‘rest’ over the winter. It also helps replace the nutrients in your soil by returning nitrogen to the earth as ‘green compost’. To see some of the different types of cover crop we stopped by Portland Nursery on Stark (503-231-5050) and talked to Sara. They carry numerous types of cover crop and even have various ‘blends’ that you can use. You just sprinkle the seed mixture over the soil and work it into the garden, and let it go. It will grow over the winter and come spring time you just rototill it back into the soil to add the nutrients back to the earth. If your garden has been kind of weak the last few years it may need the refreshing boost of a cover crop. Over time the soil can lose a lot of the nutrients and that means smaller plants and less yield from your best vegetables and flowers. Cover crops also help prevent soil compaction caused by the rough winter weather. Planting a cover crop now will help your garden be healthier this coming season! To see the different types of cover crop you can check out this handout at Portland Nursery or stop by and ask one of the helpful employees.
Coffee Creek Gardeners
They say that gardening is good for your soul, but it is wonderful for teaching you great skills too! We found the newest set of gardeners at the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility in Wilsonville. Coffee Creek is the latest facility in the prison system to adopt gardening as a means for rehabilitation for the inmates there. We talked with Sara and Shannon about the program and what it means to the inmates there. At Coffee Creek they have over 20,000 sq. ft. of gardening space in 6 different gardens. These were once just bare pieces of ground with little or no grass, and now they are filled with beautiful flowers and tasty vegetables. They have grown over 6,000 pounds of produce this past year which has helped feed the rest of the inmate population. They also grow and arrange flowers for display and enjoyment. Another program that they are involved with is the preservation of the Oregon Silver Spot butterfly. They grow the early blue violet that is needed by the larval stage of the butterfly. The inmates will pick off the leaves and send them to the Oregon Zoo where researchers are raising and studying the butterfly.
But the research is also happening on the ground of the prison as well. Sara told us about the Master Gardener ‘Sustainable Gardening’ classes that take place at the prison. In fact, once they are released, inmates will have all the skills and schooling they need to become full-fledged Master Gardeners in their respective counties. They learn all about the science behind gardening and they even make their own compost. More than a dozen inmates are growing and learning together currently at the Coffee Creek Facility.
We then talked to Kris who told us about the “Lettuce Grow’ program through Growing Gardens that is responsible for the on-going endeavor. The Master Gardener ‘Sustainable Gardening’ program taught through the OSU Extension Program is now in 13 state facilities, 2 juvenile facilities and even the Federal facility in Sheridan. So far, since 2010 over 600 inmates have completed the program and passed the exam.
This program would not be here if it wasn’t for a great set of volunteers and companies being involved. PSU, OSU, Kaiser, Mercy Corp and Spirit Mountain casino have all been very helpful in contributing to this program at Coffee Creek. If you would like to personally be involved you can donate through the Growing Gardens website. Just click on the ‘Programs’ button and then the ‘Lettuce Grow’ link to help.
Tip of the Week – Moving Your Pots
With colder days on the way it is time to start thinking about moving some of your tender plants to protected areas. Judy and William moved a couple pots up under the eaves of a house. The eaves will help keep the frost from forming on the plants and it will keep the plants warmer as well, with the radiating heat from the siding. If you have plants that are ‘touchy’, now is the time to move them. One thing to remember; you will need to water them. The eaves that protect them from the cold will also prevent water from reaching the plant.