OSU

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.

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.

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.

By Denise Ruttan
LettucePhoto by OSU's EESC
Lettuce is a cool-season crop that can be planted in March in western Oregon.

Is this dry winter making you anxious to dig in the dirt again? There's some good news if you garden in western Oregon and are an optimist.
Cool-season plants can be directly seeded into the ground in March in the Willamette Valley and southern Oregon, said Bob Reynolds, the Master Gardener coordinator for the Oregon State University Extension Service in Jackson and Josephine counties.
Cool-season crops include peas, arugula, carrots, cabbage, cilantro, fava beans, kale, kohlrabi, spinach, chard, turnips and lettuce.

Oregon tree names keep people guessing

By Judy Scott

Douglas fir coneDouglas-fir cones have pitchfork-shaped bracts that are longer than the scales.

Many people are aware that despite its name, Douglas-fir is not a true fir. It's also not a pine, not a spruce and not a hemlock. Outside of the United States, it is often called Oregon pine, also a misnomer.
What is a Douglas-fir, then?
It's a unique species, in a class by itself, according to the newly revised Oregon State University publication, "Understanding Names of Oregon Trees," (EC 1502).

 

No space for vegetables?

Try vertical gardening.

By Denise Ruttan
Hankering for fresh tomatoes this summer but don’t have space for a vegetable garden?
Save room by training your veggies to grow up. Literally.  

Leaves in compostBy Denise Ruttan

Photo by Tamara Hill-Tanquist
Leaves are one material that can be used in the "brown layer" of a lasagna garden.

Unlike its name suggests, "lasagna gardening" is not about pasta.
Also known as sheet mulching, it's a no-till, no-dig gardening method that turns materials like kitchen waste, straw and newspapers into rich, healthy compost.

 

Asparagus berriesBy Judy Scott
Growing asparagus requires patience – from planting to harvest takes two to three years, but the wait is well worth the reward.
Homegrown asparagus is one of the earliest vegetables of the spring. Its quality is much better than store-bought spears, and it is less expensive. Once established, it is easy to grow and in a well-prepared garden patch can last for decades.

Compost in a wheelbarrowCompost pile from student organic club
Photo credit: Tiffany Woods

Q: What process is used in the winter to enable composting to continue outside and in very low temperatures, some below freezing?
- Josephine County, Oregon

 

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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.