Winter Gardening Chores

Here are a few thing you can do in the garden while waiting for spring to arrive….

  1. Check yard for damaged plants
  2. Check newly planted and newly staked trees to see if they are still stable
  3. Sharpen gardening tools
  4. Organize & clean greenhouse and/or garden shed
  5. Recycle pots you are not going to use in the spring (see AGC’s article on where to recycle pots in the Rogue Valley)
  6. Clean bird feeders and continue feeding wild birds
  7. Check stored fruits and vegetables
  8. Spray stone-fruit trees with copper or lime-sulfur
  9. Check yard and garden for drainage issues
  10. Check house, yard (and autos) for rodent activity
  11. Read gardening books
  12. Shop seed catalogs, and order your seeds for spring, summer, fall and winter planting
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Horticulture Report: Arbutus unedo ‘compacta’

arbutus-unedo-compactaPlant Name: Arbutus unedo ‘compacta’
Common Name:  Dwarf Strawberry Tree
Plant type: Evergreen Shrub
Height: 6-8 ft

Spread/Width: 5-6 ft
Bloom Time: Repeating Fall to late winter

Flower Color: White, bell-shaped
Exposure:  Part to Full sun

Soil Requirements: Lean, well-drained soil
Water Needs: Low – Drought tolerant once established
Attributes: Masses of white flowers, Dark glossy green foliage, Cinnamon-colored bark, Edible strawberry-like fruit, , Dwarf plant, Bird friendly

Note: Low maintenance
Uses:
Firewise plantings, Waterwise plantings, Privacy Screen, Specimen focal point, Wildlife gardens, Year-round interest, Informal hedge,  Butterfly gardens, Attracts Hummingbirds, Winter interest
Native to: Southern Europe and Ireland
USDA Hardiness Zone: 7-9

Horticulture Report: Edgeworthia chrysantha

Plant Name: Edgeworthia  chrysantha

edgeworthia_chrysantha-2014

Edgeworthia chrysantha Akebono photo courtesy of Roozitaa & Wikimedia

Cultivar: Akebono
Common Name:  Paperbush
Plant type: Deciduous Shrub
Height:   5’ – 6’
Bloom Time: February – March
Flower Color:  Red/Orange
Exposure:  Part Shade or Shade
Soil Requirements: Moisture-retentive, Fertile Loamy Soil
Water Needs: Medium
Attributes: Winter Interest, Tubular Fragrant Flowers borne on bare stems,
Silky Silver Buds
Note: Related to Daphnes, Inner bark used in China to make quality papers. Winter hardy to below 0 degrees F.
Uses: Woodland gardens, Shady borders, Collector’s Specimen Planting, Ornamental, Used to make paper.
USDA Zone: 7b -10b

Other Varieties:
*Edgeworthia chrysantha Snow Cream Papberbush – Winter hardy  USDA Zones 7b-10bchrysantha_paperbark

*Edgeworthia papyrifera  Nanjing Gold Paperbush –  USDA Zones 8-10

Winter Gardening: Cold-Hardy Vegetables

CORVALLIS, Ore. –  Not ready to hang up your gloves and spade just yet?

The fearless gardener still has a chance to plant some cold-hardy vegetables to harvest next spring, said Jim Myers, plant breeder and researcher at Oregon State University. But don’t dawdle.

“Winter gardening is a risky business,” Myers said. “It may work one year with a mild winter but not another when the weather is more severe. If you plant some cold-hardy vegetables from mid-August to early October – depending on the crop – there’s a good likelihood you will produce something on the other end in the spring. They say farming is a gamble…some years more than others.”

Cold weather doesn’t kill these hardy plants; it simply slows their growth rate. For every rise of 18 degrees, growth rate doubles, but that guideline is only applicable for an air temperature range of 40 to 98 degrees, Myers said. If you plant cold-hardy vegetables from mid-August to early October, there is a chance they can mature by next spring if they survive in a vegetative state through the winter without reproducing.

According to Myers, the hardiest vegetables that can withstand heavy frost of air temperatures below 28 include: spinach, Walla Walla sweet onion, garlic, leeks, rhubarb, rutabaga, broccoli, kohlrabi, kale, cabbage, chicory, Brussels sprouts, corn salad, arugula, fava beans, radish, mustard, Austrian winter pea and turnip.

Semi-hardy vegetables that can withstand light frost of air temperatures in the range of 28 to 32 degrees include: beets, spring market carrots, parsnip, lettuce, chard, pea, Chinese cabbage, endive, radicchio, cauliflower, parsley and celery. For beets, spring market carrots and parsnips, the tops will die but the roots will tolerate lower temperatures.

Vegetables that contain the pigment anthocyanin, which gives them a vibrant red or purple color, are more resistant to rots caused by winter rains, Myers said. They include: purple-sprouting broccoli, Rosalind broccoli and purple kale.

If you live in an area of the state that gets prolonged snow cover, the fluffy white stuff acts as insulating mulch and warms the soil for these tough plants, Myers said.

No matter where you live in Oregon, “some of the worst problems we have in the winter are with rain rather than temperature, so protecting plants from the rain is quite helpful,” Myers said.

He recommends covering vegetables with high or low tunnels made from metal hoops and clear plastic, available from greenhouse supply companies. To protect plants, you can also use row covers or cloches. To warm the soil use mulch made from yard debris, cardboard or newspaper.

Cross your fingers and by next March you could be feasting on shelled, succulent fava beans seasoned with salt and lemon juice.

For more information on extending the gardening season, see the OSU Extension guides “Fall and Winter Vegetable Gardening in the Pacific Northwest” at http://bit.ly/OSU_FallGarden, “How to build your own raised bed cloche” at http://bit.ly/OSU_Cloche and “Garlic for the Home Garden” at http://bit.ly/OSU_Garlic. For an interactive map of Oregon’s first frost dates, go to the United States Department of Agriculture’s website at http://bit.ly/USDA_FirstFrostOR.

By Denise Ruttan denise.ruttan@oregonstate.edu

Source: Jim Myers  myersja@hort.oregonstate.edu

This story is online at http://bit.ly/OSU_Gardening2293