Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Appropriate Tree Selection

Finding an appropriate tree depends on two factors: why and where

It is important to consider why we are planting a tree before we select what tree we want.  We plant trees for many different reasons, and usually a combination of different reasons! Some reasons are:
     To provide more shade
     To give structure to a planting design
     To act as a windbreak
     For spring and/or fall color

 There are many good sources that can help with tree selection!
      OSU Ask an Expert: https://extension.oregonstate.edu/ask-expert

      Selecting, Planting, and Caring for a New Tree: free at https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/ec1438


Where do you want to plant the tree?
     Close to sidewalk/drive?
     Close to house?
     Under power lines?
     Close to other trees/plants?
     Far away from any other trees/plants?

For example, if you want a tree that’s under a power line that gives seasonal color...you’ll want either a dwarf flowering tree or a very short maple like many Japanese maples.  Or, if you want a tree that provides a windbreak and is far away from other plants, you may want to consider an evergreen shrub like an Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) or a tree like Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata).  If it will be near hard surfaces, think about fruit or other debris it might drop throughout the year.  

 See this link for help selecting, planting, and caring for a new tree. Note: We no longer recommend Raywood Ash or any other ash tree as the emerald ash borer is likely to be a big problem.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Gearing Up for Gardening Series 2020

Garden Resource Guide and Resiliency Planning

January means Garden Planning

If you’ve ordered seeds by mail, then you probably have many seed catalogs.  Before you dive into them, take some time to walk in your garden now that much of it has died or been cut back.  Make decisions about what vegetables you’ve raised before and what new vegetables or varieties you want to try this year as well as how you will rotate them in your beds this year.

To help you with your garden dreaming, get the latest copy of the Garden Resource Guide “hot off the press” either online or at Gearing up for Gardening lectures Tuesdays at noon in January and February at the library.  Updated for 2020, this guide will provide you with information on where to learn about food gardening, gathering what you need to get going, places where you can garden with others, and what to do with all your garden bounty.
and Resiliency

Food Sustainability is about more than growing your own food.  It’s also about building a neighborhood that can take care of its members in an emergency.

Individuals, families, and neighborhoods will need to prepare and store supplies of food and other necessities of life for themselves and others.

Please check these sites for more information:


Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Look for new NPKS around town!

This one is on Polk.  We also just installed one on Conifer.

The Joy of Gardening Moves Indoors

December is the month to enjoy your winter garden, a warm cup of tea, and the new seed catalogs that grace your mailbox among the many holiday cards and catalogs.

Also consider starting members of the onion family like chives, leeks, onions, scallions or members of the rose family like alpine strawberries indoors with added light and heat so they will be ready to plant outside in early spring.  Ind

Or maybe you decide to start some slower-growing flowers like geraniums, snapdragons, yarrow, or violas to transplant under a cloche in late March.

Invite Wildlife into your Garden

Provide water not only for birds, but also for predatory insects.  A shallow bowl with rocks in it helps both birds and insects get a sip.  In the winter, check the water every morning and thaw it out with warm water if it freezes.

Provide shelter for wildlife.  Bird houses are lovely, but a rotten log, stump, or snag can be a home for birds and insects, too.  Don’t clean everything out of your garden over the winter; a bit of grass, a pile of rocks can be a home for insects.

Provide habitat.  Plant natives and berry shrubs in your garden along with vege-tables, herbs, and flowers.  This provides a habitat for both birds and insects.  As a bonus, the birds help you out in summer by eating pest insects.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Reduce, Reuse, Recycling and Rot in the December Garden

The 4 Rs — reduce, reuse, recycle and rot — are ways of eliminating waste which helps combat climate change by reducing  greenhouse gas emissions.  The 4Rs can also help you save money and improve your garden.  Here are some ways to use them in your yard and garden in December: 
Reduce water runoff during heavy rains. Find ways to capture rainwater and allow it to soak in slowly. Consider rain gardens, bioswales, tanks, and simple depressions that can hold water short term.  This also recharges groundwater for later use and prevents flooding downstream by slowing the flow of stormwater.  Here are a couple of fun links to explore - https://www.portlandoregon.gov/bes/article/188636 https://www.slideshare.net/Sotirakou964/oregon-rain-garden-guide 
Reuse your poinsettia next year by repotting and cutting back the stems in March.  See- https://www.extension.iastate.edu/news/yard-and-garden-handling-christmas-trees-and-poinsettias-following-holidays 

Recycle your fireplace ash by spreading wood ashes evenly on your vegetable garden. Use no more than 1.5 pounds per 100 square feet per year. Don't use if the soil pH is greater than 7.0 or if potassium levels are excessive. 

Recycle your Christmas tree by placing it in your yard as shelter for birds and wildlife. Hang fruit slices, seed cakes or suet bags for extra food.  Alternatively, trim the boughs to use as a winter mulch.

Improve your Rot (compost) by turning it and protecting it from heavy rains, if necessary.

From Benton County Master Gardeners -
Membership meetings:  3rd Monday Oct. to May 7:00pm Benton County Extension office.
Plant sale:  May 6 at the Benton County Fairgrounds

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

December dreaming …

It’s a time for curling up with a great garden book, sorting through a season’s worth of garden notes and photos, turning garden produce into holiday gifts, travelling to a warmer place – or at least into a local garden center greenhouse to pick a poinsettia!  Here are some ideas to keep you happy indoors:

1.    Pick a photo or two for an unconventional horticultural holiday greeting.  

Chilean Bromeliaceae Fascicularia Bicolor

variegated Alstromeria

2.    Read the story of the making of a garden.  Some oldies but goodies are We Made a Garden by Margery Fish; A Garden from a Hundred Packets of Seed, by James Fenton and An Island Garden by Celia Thaxter.  All three gardened in places with enough overlap with Corvallis’s climate to make many of their experiences very relevant and very fun to read!  Or give yourself a treat and rediscover The Essential Earthman by Henry Mitchell, longtime garden columnist for the Washington Post.

3.    Pack jars of your sun or oven dried tomatoes or roasted peppers with olive oil, lemon peel and herbs to give as gifts. Clip rosemary and bundle with a red ribbon for a quick hostess gift, along with a rosemary-forward recipe such as this quick side dish: 1 can small white beans drained, heated with 3-4 oz. crumbled gorgonzola cheese, 1 T finely chopped fresh rosemary, or more to taste, and 2-3 T white wine or broth.

4.    Use dried flowers, seed pods and fresh evergreens to decorate your home and packages.

5.    Finally, add “Join the Corvallis Evening Garden Club” to your New Year’s Resolutions!! 
                        Information at www.corvalliseveninggardenclub.org