• 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…..

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

Rosemary and Thyme

 

 
Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis), my favorite herb.  I added to chicken, pork, fish, soups, stocks, and sauces.  Also, it gives the home a wonderful aromatic scent.  Simply clip off small leaves and place them in a potpourri container and brew for a fresh outdoors scent or cut stems and use in floral arrangement.  In the bathroom, I used it for a soothing and aromatic bath, tie on herb bouquet (rosemary, and lavender) to the faucet with a string, water will pour over the sprigs as it fills the tub.  Lavender will calm the mind, rosemary a light astringent stimulate and  rejuvenate.  The sprig will last for about two weeks.
The rosemary in my herb garden is the Tuscan Blue variety.  Rigid upright branches to 6 feet tall grow directly from base of plant.  Leaves are rich green above, grayish underneath.  Flowers blue violet 1/4 to 1/2 inch bloom in winter and spring.  I notice that the flower attract birds and bees.  Plant in a sunny location, endures poor soil, but good drainage is a must.  I fertilize every spring with compost tea and prune lightly in the fall.

Ancient time England rosemary were wound around church pillars and branches were placed on altars.  I wonder if they still do in this modern day?  Another folklore I read, a sprig placed under the pillow would repel evil spirits and bad dreams.  Dried rosemary was laid in the bed linen to insure faithfulness.  Whether this is true or not it remain to be seen.

 
Thyme (Thymus) another wonderful herb. Excellent for meat, stuffings, soups, and shellfish.  foliage usually heavily scented.  Attract bees.  Grow in full sun to light shade in well-drained soil.  I prune in fall  to encourage growth.  You can also propagate from cuttings taken early in the summer. 
 
This herb plant started from seed,  slow to germinate,  I thought it will never make it.  Now it has grown large and sturdy.  A common variety Thymus Vulgaris,  shrubby perennial  6-12 inch high narrow to oval, fragrant.  Tiny lilac flower in dense whorls, June and July.  Good container plant.
Bouquet Garni:  2 sprigs parsley, 2 sprigs thyme, 1 rib celery, 1 sprig marjoram, 1 dried bay leaf, and 1 sprig rosemary.  Cut the celery into two equal pieces about 2 1/2 inch length, and place the herbs between them.  When tied securely, this makes a firm little bundle of aromatics.  Good for stocks and soups. 
Herbes de Provence: 
3 tablespoons dried marjoram
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
3 tablespoons dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
3 tablespoons dried savory
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
                                                                     1 teaspoon dried basil
Combine all ingredients.  Mix well and spoon into small jar.
Makes 3/4 cup

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.