Gardening Tips

Pile of wood chipsBy Denise Ruttan
Many people enjoy traditional grass lawns. But others are thinking of getting rid of grass and choosing low-maintenance landscaping for their yards.
One option involves spreading mulch over ground you don't intend to plant.

CrabgrassBy Denise Ruttan
Crab grass is a common summer annual weed that disturbs Oregon vegetable gardens. Photo by Ed Peachey.
Vegetable gardeners declare war on weeds every summer.        
Knowing more about weeds can give gardeners a leg up in the fight, said Ed Peachey, a weed specialist for the Oregon State University Extension Service.

Enrich soil and recycle waste

worm castingsBy Judy Scott
Table scraps plus wiggly worms equal vermicompost. Photo by Michael Noack and Sally Noack
Although compost worm bins and their "red wiggly" worms are known for their ability to turn worm castings into rich compost, in the process they also recycle food waste otherwise destined for the landfill.

Purple tomatoBy Judy Scott
Photo by Tiffany Woods. Indigo Rose, a truly purple tomato, from OSU's program to breed for high levels of antioxidants.
The "Indigo Rose" tomato is the first "really" purple variety to come from a program at Oregon State University that is seeking to breed tomatoes with high levels of antioxidants.

Fava beansBy Denise Ruttan
Photo by Chris LaBelle. Nitrogen-rich fava beans make a great cover crop to help build the health and structure of garden soils during the winter.
Think cover crops are just for farmers?
Gardeners can also make use of these inexpensive soil protectors, according to Daniel McGrath, a vegetable crops specialist for the Oregon State University Extension Service.

Tree rustBy Denise Ruttan
Photo by Jay Pscheidt. An orange-colored rust known as Gymnosporangium libocedri infects a serviceberry plant. The fungus can devastate fruit and cedar trees in gardens in which incense cedar trees are planted close to orchards.

By Judy Scott
Buckwheat fieldPhoto by Alex Stone, OSU
Farmers and home gardeners are finding buckwheat to be a good "green manure.

Lewis mock orangeBy Denise Ruttan
Photo by Linda McMahan - Philadelphus lewisii, also known as Lewis's mock-orange, is a hardy shrub that is native to western North America. It is a good choice for a water-efficient landscape design.
Flowering shrubs can add beauty to your landscape. Choosing the right shrubs can help save money on your water bill, too.

Purple coneflowerBy Denise Ruttan
Photo by Linda McMahan
Purple coneflower, or Echincea purpurea, is a popular water-efficient plant. Choose drought-tolerant plants for your landscape to conserve water.

In a dry year, use water wisely, the Oregon State University Extension Service advises.
"We're in the midpoint of one of the driest years from January to this point that we've had in 50 to 60 years," said Steve Renquist, a horticulturist with the OSU Extension Service who is based in Roseburg.

Learn from a post-mortem analysis

SurgeonBy Judy Scott
Often we discover in the spring that a tree or shrub just didn't make it through the winter. There are many reasons for a woody plant to succumb and a "post-mortem" analysis can point out clues.

 

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McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/subscriptions-0. Purchase copies online at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/back-issues-0. Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.