Boise Flower & Garden Show

Keane and I will be at the Boise Flower & Garden Show Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Friday at 11:00 a.m. I speak on Edible Gardening in Containers & Small Spaces. Saturday, it’s Seed Starting, What a Gardener Needs to Know, at 3:00p.m. If you live in the Boise area come to the show, please stop by our sales booth #101. If you mention The Gardener’s Pantry, we’ll invite you to select a complimentary packet of seeds.

This time of year it’s a steady round of garden talks and garden shows. Next Saturday, April 5th we meet up with many old friends for Garden Palooza in Aurora, Oregon at Fircrest Farms.

I’ll be back with a few recipes and gardening tips once things settle down a bit. Right now our arugula and kale are looking good. Walla Walla Onion plants have been transplanted. Cascadia Snap Peas are growing in straw bales and fava beans are blooming. Can spring and summer be far behind? Probably, we are leaving early for Boise to avoid driving in falling snow on the passes.

Last weekend, we were in the Bay Area to give a talk on Container and Small Space Gardening to the Montelindo Garden Club. We visited the Berkeley Arboretum, museums, friends and family. What was most astounding happened when we stepped out onto the street where our daughter lives. Keane noticed a tree he didn’t recognize and was trying to figure out what it might be. It had large clusters of round seed pods and glossy green leaves. As we looked at it, I noticed the backside of a large bird in the upper branches. We couldn’t see it’s head so were moving this way and that. Suddenly a voice from the window above, said “Do you want to know the story of this tree”? Of course we did! The fellow told us the tree was planted a few years before he arrived 25 years ago. It is a red flowering Eucalyptus. planted by a former president of the California Native Plant Society, much to his embarrassment today. Non native Eucalyptus have been over planted throughout California, and especially in the southern part of the state, they fuel wildfires. This one seemed like a nice street tree. Finally, the bird turned its head, and we were face to face with a falcon. A few hours later we passed by again and there was a pile of pigeon feathers at the base of the tree.

Easy Gardening Tips

Baking soda and water is often all we is need to treat mildew in the garden. Trouble is it’s so easy to forget or misplace the recipe. So if that should happen to you this recipe it will be archived on this site.

Mix together:

1 tablespoon baking soda (from the kitchen cupboard) 1/2 teaspoon liquid soap 1 tablespoon horticultural oil 1 gallon of water

Mix together and apply from a clean sprayer. The baking soda counteracts the fungi by changing the pH of the leaves, the soap helps it spread, and the oil coats the fungal spores and keeps then from growing. In a pinch, I’ve used a clear kitchen oil like canola or grapeseed as they too will smother but the lightweight hort oil is best. If you have plants you’ve not treated with this spray before start out on a small section. Plants should be well watered befoe applying and don’t apply in heavy sun. For many plants this might mean watering well in the morning and then in late afternoon/early evening come back and spray well hydrated plants when they are not in direct sun. I like to discard unused mixture after one or two days and then mix up a fresh batch. When these measures don’t seem adequate for fungal or mildew problems I apply Serenade, a commercially available and OMRI approved organic product.

Easy Gardening Tips

Composition roof shingles laid between raised beds keeps paths dry and weed free. We began using these last summer and through the winter have come to love them. The shingles are rough and seems to discourage slugs, the surface is never slippery or muddy. When they are no longer needed, shingles are easy to lift and remove. We’ve used Sequoia needles, filbert shells, landscaping fabric and this is the best solution for weed control and comfort.

Easy Gardening Tips

Today, I’m starting a series of simple gardening tips that have not been published everywhere. Random topics to be sure, the sort of tips we share back and forth with friends, your comments are welcome.

James Cassidy, soil scientist, began the Organic Gardening Club at Oregon State University. At a recent Master Gardener meeting he recommended sowing onion seeds in four inch pots filled with moist seed starting mix. Let these grow two to three inches, just large enough for transplanting. I started onions, shallot seeds and leeks this past weekend. I’m growing the Nichols Tri-Color Onion Blend, Ishikura Improved single stalk scallion, Prisma Shallots and Kilima Leek. We’ll have some more varieties growing at the nursery trials but this is for our home garden. These are sown fairly thickly and will be transplanted into garden beds in about three weeks.