Gardening Tips

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.

 

Mason beeBy Denise Ruttan        
Photo by George Hoffman
A blue orchard mason bee perches atop a blossoming meadowfoam flower. The native pollinators are active during wet and cold conditions in early spring.

Concerned about the decline of honeybees, one of the hardest-working food crop pollinators? Don't overlook the importance of a native pollinator of your fruit trees – the blue orchard mason bee.

Soil texture determines how much and how often to water

Soil porosityBy Judy Scott
Water infiltration is affected by soil porosity and texture, as illustrated in the Willamette Valley Soil Quality Card Guide.
In the summer, homeowners whose lawn and garden soil is sandy often lament that their gardens and lawn require more watering than those growing in finer soil.

By Denise Ruttan
 

Spotted wing drosophilaPhoto by Lynn Ketchum
Spotted wing drosophila is studied at OSU's Mid-Columbia Agricultural Research Center.

The latest research-based guidelines for managing insect pests, plant diseases and weeds in the Pacific Northwest are available through three newly updated, comprehensive guides, which were developed by the Extension Services of Oregon State University, the University of Idaho and Washington State University.

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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.