Monday, July 15, 2019

Summer Tree Needs


Don’t let this rain fool, you, trees still need water this week! Establishment watering is one of the most important things you can do for a newly planted tree. That water should be delivered weekly and in a large volume, rather than daily in a light sprinkle. Deep watering helps trees develop deep drought resistant roots. Water trees with at least 10 gallons per inch of tree diameter. The easiest way is to purchase a watering bag from a local nursery. These hold between 15 and 20 gallons. 

Watering formula
Tree diameter (inches) × 10= number of gallons per week. So, a 1 inch caliper tree needs a minimum of 10 gallons of water, weekly throughout the summer (from May-September). 

This is a great time of year to spread mulch. Get out there now and add a few inches in a circle that extends out to the drip-line of your tree. Mulch should not touch the trunk or surface roots as this can lead to decay. Keep mulch 3-4” deep starting 6” from the tree. Mulch helps reduce weeds, moderates soil temperature, helps keep soil moist and reduces compaction. 
For more about mulching click the link below.


Tuesday, July 9, 2019

What to do in the Garden in July

Maintenance and Clean Up
-Stake tall plants such as delphinium, hollyhocks, lupine, and tomatoes, as necessary.
- Mound soil up around base of potatoes. Gather and eat a few "new" potatoes from each hill, when plants begin to flower.

-Mulch to conserve soil moisture.

-Early morning is the best time to water. Water the soil, rather than leaves to reduce disease. 

-Midsummer plantings of beets, bush beans, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, kale, and peas provide fall & winter crops.

-Be aware -potting soil dries out very quickly, so any new plantings will need frequent watering through summer.  It’s easier to plant in fall.

Pest monitoring
- Monitor for weevils and notched leaves. Try picking them off at night, sticky trap products on trunks, or beneficial nematodes. Check this link from Colorado State University for more information.  We do not recommend pesticide sprays, but the other information is very helpful.

-Check leafy vegetables for caterpillars. Pick them off as they appear. Use Bt-k, if necessary.
-Cover blueberry bushes with netting to deter birds. 

- Watch for spider mites during hot, dry weather. Signs: dusty-looking foliage, loss of color, and presence of tiny mites. Wash off with water. Check this link for control methods.

-Watch for early and late blight on tomatoes.  Prune for air circulation and pick off affected leaves.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

2019 Edible Garden Tours

Grow UP! – Using Structure in the Edible Garden


Offered by the Corvallis Sustainability Coalition’s Food Action Team’s 

Edible Garden Group and Bountiful Backyard

FREE toursfeature stops at local gardens and farms where gardeners exhibit their work.
Discussions are welcome.  Come get inspired with us!

Monday, June 10, 2019

How Can You Make your Vegetable Garden More Sustainable

By June most of our seeds have been planted and are up and growing.  And yet we may be leaving bare areas in our garden for tomatoes or squashes to grow. We don’t want too much of that.

What we want in our garden is living soil.  Soil scientists tell us that most of the life in our garden is beneath the surface and needs plant roots in order to thrive.  We need to feed those micro-organisms around our plants’ roots by making sure there is little or no bare areas in our gardens. 

These little guys include -- but are not limited to -- bacteria, fungi, protozoa, nematodes, and micro-arthropods as well as earthworms.  Most of these soil organisms live near the roots of our plants.  As they eat, grow, and poop in the soil, they make it possible to have cleaner water, cleaner air, and healthier plants. 

So, what do we do with bare soil that is waiting for our tomatoes and squashes to spread over it? Several things come to mind: 

We can plant quick-growing plant seeds like radishes that will cover the ground until our crops fill in the space, preventing weed seeds from finding a home and giving food to the millions of micro-organisms in our soil, or plant flower seeds – both native and domestic – that also attract pollinators to our gardens. 

Monday, June 3, 2019

What to do in the Garden in June


Construct trellises for tomatoes, cucumbers, pole beans, and vining ornamentals.  See this link for instructions on a bamboo tomato trellis. If necessary, skip ahead to 21:26 into the video.
Bamboo canes or sticks tied with string make great custom trellises.
Livestock panels, cut and bent to size, make very strong trellises.

Measure your water use by placing empty cans (or jars or mugs) where your irrigation water lands and prevent wasted water.  Only irrigate plants that need the water and consider replacing water wasting plants. Click here to learn more about catch can testing.

Be aware - potting media dries out much faster than soil and necessitates more frequent watering, and perhaps temporary shade, until roots have time to spread into native soil.  Something as simple as setting a lawn chair to the southwest of a new plant for a week or so can make a big difference in how well it adapts to its new home.

Learn to identify beneficial insects and plant some insectary plants (e.g. Alyssum, Phacelia, coriander, candytuft, sunflower, yarrow, dill) to attract them to your garden.  An important goal is to have insectary plants blooming for as much of the year as possible.  For more information, see this link.

photo from NPIC

Monitor azaleas, primroses and other broadleaf ornamentals for root weevils. If you have notching at leaf edges and would like to minimize damage, try sticky trap products on plant trunks to trap adult weevils. Protect against damaging the bark by applying the sticky material on a 4-inch wide band of poly sheeting or burlap wrapped around the trunk. If root weevils are a consistent problem, consider removing plants and choosing resistant varieties.  See this link

From Benton County Master Gardeners -
Membership meetings:  3rd Monday Oct. to May 7:00pm Benton County Extension office.
Plant sale:  May 2 at the Benton County Fairgrounds

Monday, May 20, 2019

Provide for Pollinators

-    In May, it’s easy to have a garden that is fluttering, crawling, and buzzing with pollinators. So many plants are in bloom, there’s something for everyone. 
Tiger swallowtail on Verbena bonariensis, a non-native plant that can attract native pollinators.

-    Pollinators, especially native insects, also need flowers early and late in the year. Think ahead and plant Asters (Symphyotrichum subspicatum – Douglas aster – is a lovely native) and Goldenrod (Solidago) for a long-blooming autumn pollinator magnet. 
Native bumblebee on Solidago canadensis.

-    For early spring bloom, tuck in lots of Crocuses, and plant early-blooming native shrubs such as Oregon grape (Mahonia
now Berberis) and Kinnikinnick.
See our blog for more –
What else besides flowers?
Pollinators also need water, food for their larvae, and nesting and over-wintering sites. With a little knowledge and forethought, your garden can provide these necessities too.
-     Water:bird bath, pond with shallow areas, dripping faucet.
Lorquin’s Admiral on birdbath.

-     Larval host plants:Native plants that provide food for native butterfly and moth caterpillars. Be prepared for some chewed leaves!
-     Nesting and Over-wintering Sites:Bare undisturbed soil for ground-nesting bees. Un-cut tall grasses. Plants with hollow stems. Nest blocks for mason bees.

See these links for more information:

PolliNation. Podcast on all things pollinator, by Andony Melathopoulos, OSU’s Pollinator Health Extension specialist, and an array of guests.

Join the Pollinator Partnership at

Here’s a short list of great pollinator plants for western Oregon gardens:

Monday, May 13, 2019

How to make your ideal Summer Vegetable Garden happen

What food do you want to grow in your garden this year?
Tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, eggplant, corn, and melons?  These crops are more difficult to grow here in the Pacific Northwest.  They are native to parts of North and Central America with very warm day and night temperatures and regular summer rainfall.  They are difficult, but not impossible.  Here are some techniques that can help.

Cloches can help speed germination of directly-seeded plants like squash, cucumbers, and melons in May.  Our nighttime temperatures are usually rather cool for these warm-loving plants to get a good start.  Tomato starts can be planted out in May under a cloche also.  Using empty soda bottles, milk jugs, or even cake server tops help keep the garden budget modest for these garden assistants that can be used reused.  Cold frames or even greenhouses act like cloches, but can protect many more plants.

How do you introduce summer transplants into your garden?
Make the transition gradually from the greenhouse where transplants were grown to the garden with  direct sun in the day and cool temperatures at night.  Put the plants out for a couple of hours in the shade on the first day; two hours in a sunnier location on the second; perhaps four hours on the third day, etc., gradually working up to an overnight on the day before you transplant them into the garden.  Avoid the temptation to plant your tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and tomatillos in the garden until the last week of May or the first week of June. And remember to keep them well watered until they have adjusted to their new home. 

Food Action Team – Edible Garden Group