April Gardening Tasks

April 14th is National Garden Day!

  • Use a soil thermometer to help you know when to plant vegetables. Some cool Pansy_Redseason crops (onions, kale, lettuce, and spinach) can be planted when the soil is consistently at or above 40°F.
  • Spread compost over garden and landscape areas.
  • Prune gooseberries and currants; fertilize with manure or a complete fertilizer.
  • Fertilize evergreen shrubs and trees, only if needed. If established and healthy, their nutrient needs should be minimal.
  • If needed, fertilize rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas with acid-type fertilizer. If established and healthy, their nutrient needs should be minimal.
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs after blossoms fade. Early-spring bloomers, such as lilac, forsythia, and rhododendron, bear flowers on wood formed the previous year. The best time to prune them is late spring — immediately after they finish blooming. If pruned later in the growing season or during winter, the flower buds will be removed and spring bloom will be decreased.
  • Fertilize cane berries (broadcast or band a complete fertilizer or manure).
  • Remove spent flowers of large-flowered bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, as soon as they fade. This  channels the plants’ energy into forming large bulbs and offsets rather than into setting seeds. Allow foliage of spring-flowering bulbs to brown and die down before removing.  Do not remove bulb foliage while it is green; the green leaves nourish the bulb and next year’s flower buds, which form during summer. Cut or pull off leaves only after they yellow. Do not braid leaves to get them out of the way. Braiding reduces the amount of sunlight the leaves get and hinders growth.  Allow smaller bulbs (like: muscari and puschkinia) to set seed, so they self-sow and form ever-larger drifts.
  • Cut back ornamental grasses to a few inches above the ground, in early spring.
  • Prune and shape or thin spring-blooming shrubs and trees after blossoms fade.
  • Plant gladiolus and hardy transplants of alyssum, phlox, and marigolds, if weather and soil conditions permit.
  • Fertilize Lawns. Apply 1-pound nitrogen per 1,000 square feet of lawn. Reduce risks of run-off into local waterways by not fertilizing just prior to rain. Also do not over-irrigate and cause water runs off of lawn and onto sidewalk or street.
  • April is a good time to dethatch and renovate lawns. If moss was a problem, scratch surface prior to seeding with perennial ryegrass.
  • If necessary, spray apples and pears when buds appear for scab. And spray stone fruits, such as cherries, plums, peaches, and apricots for brown rot blossom blight.
  • Plant balled-and-burlapped, container, and bare-root fruit trees.
  • Plant container and bare-root roses.
  • Prepare garden soil for spring planting. Incorporate generous amounts of organic materials and other amendments.
  • Divide and replant spring-blooming perennials after bloom.
  • Plant fall-blooming bulbs.

Article by:
Terra Gardens Nursery & Bark
Salem, OR

Advertisements

Home Grown Potatoes

Growing your own potatoes is an easy and rewarding gardening experience.growing potatoes
Plant starts in early spring, as soon as the soil can be worked.
Potato plants can withstand a light frost, but protect against a hard frost.
Potato plants need at least 6 hours of sunlight a day to produce.
Harvest potatoes in 2-4 months; this depends on your area’s growing season.
Purchase good quality seed potatoes to insure a healthy crop.

Oregon Territorial Seed company in Cottage Grove, Oregon offers some interesting  seed potato varieties:  http://www.territorialseed.com/

  • Dark Red Norland Potatoes
  • Blue Potatoes (Late-season 110-135 days)
  • Yukon Gem Potatoes
  • Desiree Potatoes
  • German Butterball Potatoes
  • Mountain Rose Potatoes
  • Purple Majesty Potatoes

The Rogue Valley Grange Co-ops may have some of these varieties available, too.

Seed Prep:  Seed potatoes are tubers which can be planted whole, but you will get more plants if you cut seed potatoes into sections. Each cut section should contain one or two sprouts; these sprouts are called  eyes.  Each section should have enough potato “meat” around each eye for successful growing.  Therefore,  cut seed potatoes into 2 to 3 inch chunks, with 1-2 eyes in each chunk.  Set these pieces on a protective surface like newspaper to allow cut edges to dry before planting,  usually 24-48 hours.

Planting:
In the ground – Dig a trench 8 inches deep. Plant each seed potato section, 1 inch deep and 12 inches apart. Planting rows should be spaced 3 feet apart.  Place the seed potato cut side down with eye(s) pointing up.  As the plants grow, and when leaves are just starting to break the soil’s surface,  mound another 2 inches of soil on top of the plants.  Repeat this step until the trench is filled with soil,  continue filling until the trench is mounded .    Note:  If your space is limited,  or  if you want only baby potatoes,  you can decrease the spacing between the plants to 7 inches.

Planting in Containers – Note: Containers must be able to drain.
Growing in containers is the same principal as growing in the ground.  Place  6 inches of moistened soil in the bottom of a container.  Plant prepped seed potatoes cut side down with eyes up.  Cover with 2-3 inches of soil. As the potato plants grow keep adding 2-3 inches of soil over the plants.   Repeat this step until the container is full of soil.  You can even stack additional containers on top of the original container, filling those with soil in steps.  The height limit is approximately 3 feet.

Planting in Straw
With this method you don’t have to dig potatoes, you simply pull them out of the straw. Because straw starts to break down as the growing season progresses,  you will need to add straw to maintain a consistent straw depth. In short: Top off your potato bed with straw during the growing season.

Prep potatoes as described above.  Lay out a loose layer of straw 6-inches deep, and place seed potatoes in the straw, cut side down, eyes up.  Cover with 2 inches of straw. When you see the leaves peaking out of the straw, cover them with 2 inches of straw. Then, repeat this until you reached your desired height.

Care:

  • Potatoes should be watered regularly, but do not over water.
  • Keeping tubers covered prevents greening. Potatoes exposed to sunlight turn green, causing the flesh to taste bitter.
  • Feed potato plants regularly throughout the season with a liquid fertilizer.

Harvesting:

  • New potatoes can be picked when foliage is 1-foot high.
  • All potatoes are harvested after plant foliage dies.

Heuchera ‘Silver Scrolls’

Heuchera ‘Silver Scrolls’Silver scrolls Heuchera
Common Name:  Coral bells
Type: Herbaceous perennial
Family: Saxifragaceae
Height:  plant 8-12 inches, flower stalks 24-in
Spread: 8 to 12-inch
Bloom Time: June to July
Flower: Pinkish White, Showy
Sun: Filtered sun to part shade
Soil: Rich humus, Well-draining
Water Needs:  Average to Moist
Foliage Colorful!  Emerge silver flushed with burgundy, matures into silver with dark purple veins.
Uses: Edging, Woodland gardens, Containers, Foliage Garden Interest, Perennial beds, Mass plantings for ground cover
Attributes: Deer Tolerant, evergreen in warm climates.
USDA Zone: 4 to 9

Garden of the Month: August 2017

The garden that Jacob Gougé has created around the home he shares with his wife and LR 5-17daughter at 240 N. First St. reflects both his creativity and his respect for living things.  It is the Ashland Garden Club’s Garden of the Month for August.  Over the 17 years they have lived there, Gougé has salvaged and bartered the materials to create terracing in the back, define garden beds, build a fire pit, display interesting artifacts, and more on this small lot.   It was bare dirt when they moved in.  He is very resourceful.

But Jacob has a generous spirit as well that prompts him to offer lilacs to passersby, share cuttings of his many succulents with those who ask, and invite admiring strangers inside the gate to see the whole garden.

IMG_2993Along with two smaller lilacs elsewhere in front, there is a huge lilac bush in the northwest corner of the fenced area.  Many of the branches of this lilac are five or more inches in diameter and have an unusual shredded bark.  This lilac bush is strong enough to support one end of two hammocks!

There are extraordinary ceramic pieces throughout the property, most of them created by Gougé.  He also pursues all manner of artistic expression via painting, sewing, beading,and other media. In addition, Jacob makes interesting planters for succulents out of stones or gnarled wood in which he drills holes to plant materials and for drainage.

FullSizeRender

Food crops are concentrated in the back yard, that Jacob calls his “in town farm.”  This garden is 100% organic.  He grows lettuce all year, protecting the yield from the blazing sun at this time of year with a colorful umbrella.  He also grows asparagus, squash, carrots, snap peas, herbs of many varieties, and much more, often in recycled containers. He starts most plants from seeds in a hot box.  The family has three healthy chickens that provide eggs as well as droppings for compost.IMG_3001FullSizeRender 3

Save

Garden of the Month: June 2017

946 B Street

01

Lisa and Marc Blackburn purchased the charming house at 946 B Street almost three years ago.  Two years ago, they started re-landscaping with help from Jane Hardgrove and Juan Meraz of Bearclaw Landscape Services.  Now their garden is the Ashland Garden Club’s Garden of the Month for June 2017.

02.jpg

Lisa Blackburn’s instructions to designer Hardgrove were that she wanted a whimsical, fairy-tale garden that did not feature the usual deer-resistant plants such as rosemary, heather, and lavender.  The result is a charming, inviting space with lots of texture and color.  A water feature provides pleasant sound.  Marc does almost all the maintenance, averaging ten hours a week in the garden and has started getting creative on his own, adding or replacing plants as necessary.  He uses a deer-repellant on some plants.

03

This is a relatively small space shaded in front by ash trees and on the side by a giant cedar.  Hardgrove added Japanese maples for color and texture.  Among the many plants are hellebore, Japanese anemone, brunnera, choisya, bleeding heart, digiplexis, columbine, hostas, peonies, pieris, black-eyed Susan, salvia, Japanese fuchsia, and goldmound spirea.   Golden creeping jenny and stands of ornamental grass (called orange sedge but bronze in color) fill in and provide balance.  Private spaces on the side and in back feature azaleas as well as daphne for fragrance, among many other choices.

04

Stroll by 946 B Street for a treat for sight, sound, and aroma. If you come in the morning, you may find Marc at work in the garden.

Article by: Ruth Sloan