Sunday, March 27, 2011

A few gardening questions answered--

Q- Why and when should I spray my fruit trees with dormant oil?

A- Fruit trees should be sprayed with a dormant oil anytime from late fall to early spring. You want to spray them after the leaves have dropped in the fall and before the buds start in the spring. Dormant oil will help control any disease that is lurking around--It works really well as a way to control scale.

Q-What causes the tips of my houseplants to turn yellow?

A-Yellowing tips can be the cause of several things. The most common is a salt build up in your soil. The way to solve this is to soak your house plant with water. You may want to do this in your sink or bath tub. Soak it until water is coming out of the bottom.This will help get the salt out of the soil. To prevent a salt build up from happening--watch your watering. If you just water your plant a little your chances of salt build up is greater. Always water your plant well, you won't have to water as often.

Q-Why did my fruit trees produce small sized fruits this year?

A- The main cause of small fruit is that your fruit tree might need pruning. You should prune your fruit tree every other year if not every year. If a tree is overproducing there is to much fruit and not enough nutrients to take care of all of the fruit. Cut out the long whip like growth every year and keep the center open to allow good circulation.

Q- When should I prune my roses?

A- They best time to prune roses is in the early spring. If you live in a area that gets a lot of snow, you might want to prune them a little in the fall so the snow does not break the canes, then do the major pruning in the spring. Prune out all of the dead and leave three or four canes about 2 to 3 feet high.

Q-Can I fertilize my lawn in the winter?

A- If you fertilize your lawn in the fall with a fall or winterizer fertilizer, then your lawn should stay green all winter long. Come February if your lawn is looking a little pale you can fertilize with a triple 13, that will green it up and then fertilize in April with your regular lawn fertilizer.

Q- When should I prune my fruit trees

A-The best time to prune is in late winter or early spring--which ever way you want to look at it. You want to prune when the tree is still dormant and before they start budding out.

Q-Will Ivy kill my tree?

A- There is a good chance that it will. Try to keep Ivy from getting into other plants. The State of Oregon has just listed English Ivy on their noxious weed list. This means that there is a good chance you won't be able to by it in Oregon in the near future.

Q- When is the best time to plant a tree?

A- You can plant trees or shrubs any time through out the year. Spring is the best time as far as weather, and selection. Bare Root is available in the spring and you can save a few dollars by planting bare root. Some people like to plant in the fall and say that the plants have a chance to get established come spring time--which is true but your selection will not be as great. You don't always have a choice as far as when you plant, so plant when you can.

Q- Can you grow Eucalyptus in Southern Oregon?

A-Yes you can if you live in zone 8. If you live in the higher elevations the heavy frost will get it. They can take a little cold but not a lot. The best variety to try is Gunnii.

Q- Will Palm trees grow in Southern Oregon?

A-The two types that will grow in Southern Oregon are Windmill and Umbrella. They will grow mainly in zone 8 and up and they do not like long heavy freezes.

Q- What kind of grass grows best in the shade?

A-In The Northern part of the U.S the grasses that grow best are called cool season grasses(zones 5-8). The best cool season grasses that can grow in the shade are--Fescue and Rye. You can get a blend of Fescue, Rye and Bluegrass which works fairly well--Just avoid using straight Bluegrass.

Q- Will St Augustine grass grow in Oregon?(or cooler areas).

A- St Augustine grass is a warm season grass that does best in areas like Florida. I would not try it in Oregon.

Q- When is the best time to put in a new lawn?

A- In zones 5-8, you can put in a lawn, roughly from April to September. April and May are the best times, since the spring rains will help and the temperature is not to cool or hot. The evening temp should be at least 50 degrees.

Q- Will Artichokes handle a freeze?

A- Artichokes will handle a lite freeze(25 degrees and up). If you live in a area that stays below freezing all winter, they will not survive the winter.

Q- How can I keep cats out of my garden?

A- Oh--cats are so cute aren't they? They sure can mess up a garden area real quick. It's pretty tough to keep them out. The more plants you have in your garden, the less likely they will visit. They do their best damaged when a bed is cleared out. Try using Cayenne pepper or ground-up citrus rinds. Also, poultry netting will help some---good Luck.

Q- I have a passion flower vine, it grows like crazy and is full of buds but only a few will open and bloom the others never open. I have open some to look for bugs and have sprayed the vine, but still only a few blooms. What can I do?

A-Although they grow like crazy--I would try beefing it up with some fertilizer--something like a 10-5-20 and do it again in about 6 weeks. It might give it a little added strength to the vine. Also the soil should be evenly moist--not too wet-not too dry.

Q-Many seeds list to plant or transplant after the last frost or to start seedlings x# of weeks indoors before the last frost. I am not sure when the last frost is for Oregon. I live in the Portland area so I am in zone 8. Do you have a general idea of when the last frost would be?

A-On the average it is around the 28th of April. Even if the frost is over with, the soil temp is the key on getting plants to grow and seeds to germinate.In some elevations, the frost danger is always there.

Q-Is it better for flowers to be dry or hydrated before and during an overnight frost/freeze?

A-It's better for flowers to have some moister before a freeze. Water will insulate.

Q-I planted my lettuce and beet seeds, set up the watering system, and then left for two weeks vacation. When I returned this last weekend I discovered that the watering system malfunctioned. I have it working again � but now, here�s the question�will the seeds I already planted still germinate and grow, or do I need to buy and plant new seeds?

A-Most likely you will have to plant again. If you got no rain while you were gone and the bed was dry, you will mostly have to do it again. One seeds get moist, they need to stay moist until germination.

Q-We just replanted our snowball, and need to know when the best time to prune it is. We have had it in a large bucket for awhile.

A-If you need to prune it-- prune after the flowers have faded away.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Bare Root

More than just trees are available as bare root in the spring. You will find--asparagus, rhubarb and lots of shrubs. Nurseries get bare root stock in the early spring, then what is not sold will be planted and and sold in pots, when rooted out, usually in Mid Summer.

There are basically three ways you can buy nursery stock. Most people know about containers, fewer know about bare root and balled & burlap. It sounds like it would make a good novel or movie. So with out further interruption here is the scoop on Bare root-, Balled & Burlap and Containers.

A Little Bit About Bare Root

Depending on where your live, you should be able to find B/R plants between February and March. B/R is a dormant plant which is not planted in soil. This is the least inexpensive way to purchase plants. Not all plants come bare root. Some shrubs do and most deciduous trees(trees that lose their leaves--go dormant). You will not find evergreens in bare root. The roots of bare root plants must be kept moist and in some kind of mulch before planting. Do not let the roots dry out.

Planting---Bare Root

If you buy B/R at a nursery, they should do all the necessary pruning of the roots and branches. Make sure there are not any broken roots.If you have more than three feet of branch growth with out any side limbs--prune it.Plant as soon as possible. Dig your hole a little larger than the roots on your B/R. Add about 1/3 to 1/2 organic matter to the soil you have taken out. Fill the hole up with water, then let it drain.Most B/R trees will be grafted. ( a little bump a few inches up the trunk, above the roots). DO NOT plant above this--YOU WILL KILL THE TREE--KEEP THE SOIL OFF OF IT. OKAY, I'll calm down. Anyway--you should see where the soil line is on the trunk.Any soil you have left over you can use, by building a little water basin around the tree to hold in water. After planting your B/R, stake the tree up for the first year of it's life. I prefer to fertilize a couple of weeks after planting (less chance of burning the roots).Some people mix fertilizer into the soil when they plant--your choice.

Balled and Burlap

B&B is a way to buy larger shrubs and trees in the early spring, for less than what you would pay for container grown material. B&B are plants that have been dug up and have kept the dirt intact with the roots. You can buy evergreens this way. Once the roots start growing in the spring they need to be planted, so you will only find B&B in early spring. (February-March). Just like B/R--B&B can save you money. When you purchase your plant it is important not to drop it. The plant could go in to shock. Dig your hole a little larger than the B&B--add some organic matter--water and mix--Place the B&B in the hole--Place ground level with the soil line of the plant. Cut the twine that is wrapped around the trunk--remove if possible--if not, tuck down into the hole--do the same with the burlap--unwrap around the trunk and cut some of the excess off. Tuck the rest into the hole, it will break down. Fill in the soil, water real well and build a basin around the tree.Remember to give your tree or shrub room to grow---Have fun.

Monday, January 31, 2011

It's not to late to order seeds---

Below is a list of some Seed Companies, that
you can contact, and have them send you
a catalog. In the middle of the winter, it
is great to stay indoors and look at the
pictures and dream of what you garden will
look like come spring time. Your local nurseries
are a great place to buy most of your plants,
but seed catalogs will give you more options.
Make sure you get seeds that will grow in
your area.

Seed Links

Burpee Seed

Park Seed

Stokes Seed

Johnny's Selected Seeds


Terroir Seeds

Virtual Seed Company--Selma, Oregon

Seeds of Change

Little Grayback Farm---Selma, Oregon

Territorial Seed Company---Cottage Grove, Oregon

Sow Organic Seeds---Williams, Oregon

Victory Seeds---Molalla, Oregon

Nichols Garden Nursery---Albany, Oregon

Monday, February 15, 2010

In the Spring Mode

It's just mid February, though it's feeling like full spring in Southern Oregon. Seems like we are about a month ahead of normal--whatever normal is. In the lower elevations, you can go ahead and plant peas and start planting bareroot. Now is a great time to stop by your local nursery to see what they have. If you haven't pruned your roses--now is the time. If you do use an oil on your fruit trees, in the lower elevations it's close to being too late. In the higher elevation, you've got about a month.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Early Spring?

February in Southern Oregon has been interesting so far. Yesterday it was in the sixties and today it was cold and foggy. In the lower elevations you can go ahead and plant peas on the 15Th. For higher elevation you should wait a month. In the Grants Pass area, Forsythia and quince are getting ready to bloom. You can cut both of them now and bring them indoors and in a few days you will have spring bloom indoors.