Gardening Tips

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.

Measuring thatchBy Denise Ruttan
Photo by Alec Kowalewski
Thatch is a common problem in Kentucky bluegrass and creeping bentgrass lawns.

May is an optimum time to aerate and dethatch your lawn.
If your lawn is made up of perennial ryegrass or tall fescue, you likely don't have to worry about thatch, said Alec Kowalewski, a turfgrass expert for the Oregon State University Extension Service.

By Tiffany Woods
CabbagesPhoto by Lynn Ketchum
Too much water can cause cabbage heads to crack.

Are the vegetables in your garden so freakishly crooked that they need a chiropractor? Or maybe they're so immature that they would make a teenager look like a centenarian?

Compost pileBy Denise Ruttan
Compost organic matter such as animal manure to feed your garden. Photo courtesy Tufts University

Don't get rid of the manure that chickens, horses or llamas leave behind.
Animal manure is rich in nutrients that make it a great organic fertilizer for your garden, said Melissa Fery, an instructor with the Oregon State University Extension Service's small farms program.
"Manure is a low-cost fertilizer and a wonderful way to utilize nutrients instead of creating a pile that is not getting used and could be harmful to water quality," she said.

By Denise Ruttan

ClochePhoto by Sam Anigma
A cloche can be built to protect raised beds in winter.

Afraid gardening and your soil are not compatible? Raised beds can come to the rescue.
"By building raised beds, you instantaneously can have good garden loam," said Ross Penhallegon, a horticulturist with the Oregon State University Extension Service. "Raised beds answer the question of how we garden in inhospitable areas that are too sandy, too wet or have too much clay."

Be on the lookout for azalea-damaging pest this spring

By Denise Ruttan
Adult Azalea lace bugAn adult Azalea lace bug. Photo by Robin Rosetta
Gardeners and nurseries should be on the lookout this spring for a relatively new pest in Oregon that damages azaleas and rhododendrons, according to experts with the Oregon State University Extension Service.
The azalea lace bug was first confirmed in Oregon in 2009 by OSU researchers after it was found in Washington in 2008.

Life's a picnic for yellow jackets yellow jackets

By Judy Scott
Yellow jackets eating meatYellow jackets are mostly meat eaters. Photo by Flickr:randysonofrobert
Yellow jackets buzzing around pop cans, hamburgers and fruit salad can ruin barbecues. And, because their sting can be life-threatening, it might be necessary to destroy nests found near human activity.

By Judy Scott
SeedsSeeds. Photo by Lynn Ketchum.
If you saved seeds from the last growing season and wonder if they will germinate when planted this spring, you can discover the average rate of germination before the planting season begins.
"It's easy to check vegetable and flower seed viability, and it can save you time later when the gardening season begins," said Ross Penhallegon, horticulturist with the Oregon State University Extension Service. "Some seeds remain viable for a year and others for three or more years."

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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.