Is it summer? As I write this the sun is out and all our doors are open. Just a couple weeks ago I wrote that the heat is on in our house and now we have it shut off again. These cloudless days are great, the cloudless evenings could be chilly. Make sure that your tender plants are protected or brought inside. Another thing is water. We still have had very little significant rain so far so you should be checking your plants to make sure they are watered. If they are well hydrated and healthy, they will handle that first frost and most bad weather after that.
This week we featured...
Unusual Fruit and Plants
The fall is the time to harvest the bounty of your garden and for some that means picking the fruits off of your trees and bushes. We traveled to One Green World (1-877-353-4028), a nursery in Southeast Portland that specializes in unique fruits and ornamentals from around the world. Sam Hubert took us out into one of their greenhouses to check out some cool fruits you should consider for your home or garden.
First we saw the ‘Mammoth’ pineapple guava. These plants can survive here and produce fruit. This plant also is known for its tasty blooms. They can be eaten and they taste like candy! Don’t eat too many or you won’t have any fruit. Then we moved to a couple of plants that Northwest gardeners are becoming more and more acquainted with, the olive. There are a lot more ‘cold hardy’ varieties that are showing up every day. They produce well, and do even better if you have two or more varieties in your garden. The two we had on display were Frantoio and Marino, but there are many more varieties in the nursery. The next plant was not a real hardy one, but you’ve just got to have it for the blooms it provides. The Spineless Caper has incredible tropical looking blooms and, yes, you can make capers out of this plant. Just pickle the small flower buds! Next we saw the Sea Berry, or Sea Buckthorn, which is a berry that is packed full of healthy oils and vitamins. It is a native to Asia and is just catching on here in the states. We tried the dried berries that had a lot of sugar and they were delicious. They are packed with vitamin C, but very sour right off the plant. Finally we talked about the newer varieties of citrus. There are a bunch of new ones out there, including the Ichandrin ‘Yuzu’, that can handle our winters. Some produce good fruit and some not so good. They are still experimenting with those fruits. If you would like to see these plants or learn more about some other unusual fruits stop by their store at 6469 SE 134th Ave, in Portland.
Jan’s October Tips
Once again we found Jan McNeilan in her greenhouse for the tips of the month. This month she was cleaning her plants. She had cut back and replanted her Hoya plants this summer and now it was time to take them back inside the house. She recommended that you use straight ammonia on a rag to wipe down the leaves. This cuts through the grease and dirt, but also takes care of insect pests. She is also checking some of her plants that may need fertilization. Her streptocarpus plant was looking a little pale and so she is going to give it a shot of fertilizer before moving it inside. Then we saw the little orphaned Meyer Lemon tree. This plant was about to die last winter and so it was left outside and it has shown steady improvement and now even has buds on it! Never underestimate the power of a plant!
We then moved outside to check out a magnolia. Jan has a very old magnolia and it needed a haircut. She took the pruners to it now to shape it a little. This is not normally the time to prune these trees, but by doing it now she hopes to prevent it from getting lots of new ‘watershoots’ (unwanted branches) sprouting in the spring. We’ll check it out next year and see how it is doing.
It’s Harvestfest time at E.Z. Orchards (503-393-1506) and that means pumpkins! Not only pumpkins, but a lot of unusual gourds too. Farmer John Zielinski gave Judy a quick rundown on the types they have grown for this year at the farm. Here is a list of the varieties we saw in the order we saw them. We started with a Golden Hubbard, very colorful and good for eating. Winter Luxury was next and it has a long shelf life and is good for cooking. Then we saw a really unique one that was just a pumpkin that was covered in huge warts. Gourds like these are hybridized for decoration and may not be so good for eating. Galeux D'eysines was a French heirloom variety that also had some warts. It has a moist meat that is great for soups. Queensland Blue was next and is also a great eating variety. Next was the Long Island Cheese, which gets its name from the fact that it looks like a wheel of cheese. Then we had another French heirloom variety, Musquee De Provence. One of the classic American varieties was next a ‘sugar pumpkin’. These are great for pies. One more French variety had tons of warts, the Marina Di Chioggia Pumpkin. The next one was another decorative one with a pink hue to it. Porcelain Doll is a tribute to October and Breast Cancer Awareness. Another one that is popular is a Cinderella pumpkin. These look like Cinderella’s coach and have a deep orange hue to them. The one we saw was a French one called Rouge Vif d'Etampes. John told us this one was great for cooking. You can hollow this one out, roast it and put a stew in it, then eat it and the stew together. Sounds like fun! Finally, we saw a white one for those who want something a little different to match with their décor.
After the squash we heard about all the great things that are happening at the farm including the Corn Maze (a map of Oregon) where you can visit some of the major cities of the state and learn some facts about them. There are slides, hayrides and even Mt Hood to climb. You are also able to race rubber ducks, hear live music and make a quick stop at the Cider Saloon. You may even want to try gold mining and getting your face painted. Some of these activities are only available on the weekend, so check the website first, to see what is available! Of course you can also pick up a pumpkin for the porch and fresh veggies from the market. You can enjoy all the festivities through Halloween.
Portland Nursery Apple Tasting – Last Weekend
This is the last weekend of the Portland Nursery Apple Tasting (503-231-5050). We stopped by and talked to Sara to find out what you can expect. She told us that the huge variety of apples are still available for tasting and purchase, including a new one the Green Dragon (a sweet green colored apple) plus they will still have all the other great activities happening at the Stark Street location, including live music, kids crafts, cider tasting and lots of great food. Stop by Stark Street this weekend for Apple Tasting, and have a lot of fun with the whole family.
Harvesting CBD Hemp Oil
Oregon is known as one of the first states to legalize marijuana, also known as hemp to some. But there is a hemp that is growing in the valley that will not make you feel funny, but could help make you healthier. Industrial hemp is being grown at Red Barn Hemp (503-634-2580) which is owned by the same people as the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm. This hemp is being used to harvest CBD oil. CBD is not the stuff that makes you goofy, that’s THC, but an oil that some claim has medicinal benefits. The farm is growing this special plant and is working with the state to make sure it stays pure. These plants are just being harvested now and we met with Barb Iverson in the fields to see these unique plants. Even though they look like their cousins these plants are grown for the oil they produce. We then moved to the extraction room. In this room they extract the raw oil from the ‘bio-mass’ (all the dried green material from the plants). This raw material is then cleaned and refined to create the oil that they use for medicinal uses. We ended out tour in the shop where they have CBD oil infused products. It can be found in tinctures for your tea and coffee, tablets, creams, lotions and ointments. They even have some for your pet! This product is still being tested by the FDA, and so they can’t claim any benefits from using these products, but there are plenty of people who swear by it. In fact, both Barb and William had stories that they shared about its use. If you would like to learn more, check out their website, or stop by their retail outlet at the Wooden Shoe Bulb Farm.