• Last spring my garden is alive after along winter sleep. Plenty of work to be done. Planted many vegetable seedlings grown in the greenhouse. Lettuce, carrot (sowed direct into the ground), collard, kale, Swiss chard, corn, pumpkin, potato, beet, summer squash, tomato and leek. The garden is doing great. Just yesterday I harvested several zuccinni. Right away I made zuccinni chocolate cake. It is always a joy to be able to harvest from your own garden and cook with the vegetable that you grow yourself. Gardening is an excellent exercise for body and mind. Regardless how big or small your garden is.
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Spring is almost here

The sound of tree frogs croaking in the distant meant spring is almost here.  Time to think of gardening.

As usual every morning I would visit the greenhouse to look if the seedlings need watering.  While busy looking around, I notice a tree frog not far from the peat moss container.  It unusual to see one so close.  I let the frog out into the garden.

Tree frogs are only about an inch long.  Which makes them hard to see even where they are plentiful.  Ponds and wetlands where they can be heard croaking on wet nights especially if temperature is above 40F.  Although they are excellent climbers they are rarely found in trees.

The frogs can be found at night with flashlight by quietly following the sound to the source, although they will quit calling when searches get close.  During the day they can often be found under boards or other corner in or near wetlands.  Just about any wetland habitat with shallow standing water that does not dry up before June is good place to hear and find these frogs.

 
                                       Photo courtesy Chris Carney stock.xchng

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January Garden Hints

Pacific Northwest with its temperate weather gardening can begin early.  Except of course on higher elevation.

  • Check with local retail garden or nursery stores for seed and seed catalogs and begin planing this year’s vegetable garden.
  • Have soil test performed on garden plot.
  • Where soil is well-drained and workable, plant peas and sweet peas.  Green Arrow shelling pea is my favorite.  Sugar Snap. 
  • Too early to start seeds for vegetable transplants.
  • Spray cherry trees for bacterial canker;  use copper fungicide with a spreader.
  • Mid-January second spray of peach trees with approved fungicides to combat peach leaf curl.
  • Plant deciduous fruit and shade trees.
  • Dormant sprays of lime sulfur or copper fungicide on roses for general disease control.
  • Watch for field mice damage on lower trunks of trees and shrubs.  Control with approved baits, weed control and traps.
  • Moss appearing in lawn means too much shade, poor drainage, low fertility, soil compaction or thin strand of grass.
  • Gather branches of quince, forsythia, flowering cherries and bring inside to force early bloom.
  • Monitor house plants for correct watering, feeding;  guard against insect infestations, clean dust from leaves.

Happy gardening…..

Winter Wonders

The Orchard looking west.

Strolling through the snow-covered garden with camera in hand ready to capture the beauty mother nature has created. 

 Looking around the garden,  discarded snow-covered logs stacked like a sentinel under a bare maple tree.  Frozen branches beckoning to be admired.  Tree moss swaying precariously on a tree branch.  Ice particles frozen on a birch dainty limbs.  The orchard desolate waiting for spring to arrive.  Snow is everywhere, even the pond behind the house is frozen.   Serenity is in the air,  waiting for a miracle to happen.   Indeed, an  enchanting winter wonders .

Copyright Images”

Frozen hazelnut catkins and spider web.

 

Frosted English ivy

 

Snow covered old logs

 
 

Frosted maple leave on a piece of wood

 

Frozen tree moss

 

Snow covered frozen pond

 

Frosted Indian plum blossoms

 

Japanese dwarf pine

 

Frozen birch trees

 

Into the snow......

 
 
 
 

Backyard Harvest

Summer of 2010 was not a good gardening year here in McKenzie valley, Oregon.  Long wet spring weather, delayed planting, not enough warm temperature.  Tomatoes, pumpkins, peppers all suffered except those cool weather variety vegetables did well.  Such as carrot, lettuce, collard, beetroot, potatoes, leeks.   I harvested a basketful of each vegetables which was not bad at all.  Here are the list of vegetables variety that I grow in 2010.

Shelling peas – green arrow, so prolific with a good pea taste.  Excellent for freezing.

Carrot – Chantenay red color, good flavor with deep orange color.  Good for freezing.  Avoid sowing carrot in wet soil, it will not make straight smooth roots.  Use excess nitrogen will cause splits, forks and hairy roots.

Leeks – a staple in my garden.  Kilimia leek, a summer leek fast growing and tolerates light frost.

Broccoli –  a big disappointment.  The reason was the growing site did not get enough morning sunlight, hence small broccoli head.  Next time a different area with lots of sun.

Lettuce were the best, thrive in cool temperature.  My favorite are, Red Deer Tongue, slow to bolt, mild flavor, tender has red tinged leaves.  Tom Thumb small plants 3″-4″ ball.  A perfect single serving.  I grow this in the greenhouse slow to grow but at least fresh lettuce available through winter.

Collard – also a staple in my garden.  champion variety, dark green and large, have a cabbage like leaves.  Delicious flavor.  I left these growing in the garden through winter.  They survived snow, frost, cold and rain and still growing until spring where they will produce yellow dainty flower which will turn into seed when left alone.

Beetroot – like rich soil, moist and deep.  Use compost or well-rotted manure several days before planting.  Harvest them when reach their desired size.  Ruby Queen variety bought in gardening center, germinated well, good flavor.  I tried many other beetroot, this variety grow well in my garden.

I hope 2011 will be a succesful growing season.

Happy Gardening……

Gardening Calendar In The Month Of June

Woo hoo, finally the rain stopped.  I thought spring will never leave Oregon and today is the first day of summer.  The long-range forecast is for good weather, so I will take the opportunity to do some yard work.  More transplanting vegetable seedlings,  pruning the flower shrubs, mowing the lawn, etc.  I found by following a to do list is quite helpful.  Here it is…..

  • Apply fertilizer to lawns
  • Control root weevils in rhododendrons, azaleas, primroses, and other ornamentals.  Use beneficial nematodes if soil temperature is above 55F.
  • Remove seed pods after blooms have dropped from rhododendron, azaleas.
  • Prune lilacs, forsythia, rhododendrons, and azaleas after blooming.
  • Use an inch or two of organic mulches or sawdust or composted leaves to conserve soil moisture.
  • Pick ripe strawberries regularly to avoid fruit rotting diseases.
  • Control garden weeds by pulling, hoeing or mulching.
  • Thin apples, pears, and peaches when fruit is as big around as nickle.  Expect normal June drop of fruit not pollinated.
  • Late this month, began to monitor for late blight on tomatoes.
  • If  indicated, spray cherries at a weekly intervals for fruit fly.
  • Move houseplants outside for cleaning, grooming, repotting and summer growth.
  • Make sure raised beds receive enough water for plants to stay free of drought stress.
  • Learn to identify beneficial insects such as, ladybugs, ground beetles, rove beetles, spiders and wasps.
  • Blossoms on squash and cucumbers begin to drop, nothing to worry about.

Happy Gardening

April Gardening In Oregon

Fertilize the lawn and let spring rains carry the fertilizer into the soil.

Bait for slugs, clean up hiding places for slugs, sowbugs and millipedes.

Do not cut foliage of spring flowering bulbs for bouquet.

Prune and shape spring blooming shrubs and trees after blossoms fade.

Prepare garden soil for spring planting.  Mix generous amount of organic materials and other amendments.

Apply commercial fertilizers, manure or compost to cane and trailing berries.

Control rose diseases such as black spot and powdery mildew.  Prune ornamentals for air circulation.

Cut and remove weeds from near the garden to remove sources of plant virus diseases.

Spray for apple scab, cherry brown rot.

Prepare raised beds in areas where cold soils and poor drainage are a continuing problem.

Plant these vegetables, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chard, leeks, peas, radishes, rhubarb, spinach turnips.

Cherry-Plum Tree in The Spring


Sunshine, blue sky, wispy white clouds here and there.  Robins chasing the worms and blue jay searching for twigs to build a nest in nearby tree.   Daffodils, crocuses have emerged from their winter slumber.  Spring is in the air.  I love spring everything is fresh and new. 

Another sign of spring is the cherry plum trees in my garden.  They are always the first to bloom showing their magnificent white flowers.  Bees attracted to their strong scent.  I stood one sunny day in front of the trees and listen the bees buzzing along feasting on the cherry plum blossoms it was an awesome sound.   Robins like to eat the fruit too, ripen in late July through August.  To cover trees with bird net it is impossible.  There are plenty of fruit to share around for human and birds. 

Latin  for cherry plum,  prunus cerasifera or the myrobalan cherry tree.  A deciduous tree belongs to the rose family,  (Rosaceae in Latin).  Will grow from 15 to 30 feet.  The cherry plum in my garden is about 25 feet with a spread of 30 feet.  These trees are good for screening neighborhood eyesores.  The flower is about 3/4 to 1 inch with 5 petals.  Fruit size similar to cherry with characteristic of a plum.  Cherry plum taste of a combination cherry and plum.  It has a pit like cherry.  Fruit color is deep red.  My cherry plum tree leaves are deep green, some say they are purple, this probably came from different cultivation.  In autumn the leaves turn reddish-purple.  

Grown in acidic soil, might also be able to grow in mild alkaline soil.   Cherry plum tree prefers full sun and moist soil which is suitable growing condition in Oregon.  The seeds dispersed by wild life.  Walking through my property occasionally I found cherry plum seedlings.  I would dig them out and transplanted in a different place.  A slow growing tree I should say. 

I like eating cherry plum picked fresh from the tree or make them into jam, chutneys, pies and cobblers.  Use recipe as you are making cherry pie.  Last year I made cherry plum jam and taste wonderful. 

  

Cherry-Plum blossoms at its peak.

 

  

Happy  Gardening