Columbia County OSU Extension Column from Chip Bubl

Diggin’ in the Dirt: The First Frost

Regional events of note:

All About Fruit Show. Clackamas County Fairgrounds, Canby  10/18-19  from 10am-4pm both days.  $6 entrance fee.  http://www.homeorchardsociety.org/events/all-about-fruit-show/

 

A great opportunity to taste hundreds of apples, pears, kiwi and grapes. You can order a custom-grafted tree, made just for you, to be delivered in the spring. Excellent speakers, experts available to answer all your questions, pie baking contest, exotic fruit sorbet to taste. The Apple ID Team will try to identify your mystery apples.

 

Fall Mushroom Show. Miller Hall, Western Forestry Center, Portland  10/19  12pm-5pm

https://wildmushrooms.org/sites/default/files/articles/2013FallShowBW.jpg

Admission: Adults $5; Seniors and students $3; Children under 12 free. Free to OMS Members.

Beautifully arranged tables display wild, locally foraged mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest, carefully picked, identified and arranged to educate the public about fungi. The number and type of mushrooms vary with fruiting conditions. This colorful event also features special interest tables, including mushroom cookery and preservation, toxic mushroom information, dyeing with mushrooms, a truffle exhibit, mushroom themed art, a “Kids Corner”, mushroom cultivation, as well as books, posters, and “grow-your-own-at-home” kits for sale, and much more!! And there are plenty of knowledgeable OMS members on hand to answer questions, identify mushrooms that you bring in, and chat with about fungi. Read More

Diggin’ in the Dirt: Squash and Cucumber Comments

Food preservation and food safety

Want to learn how to safely preserve produce from your garden this summer?   The OSU Extension Service in Columbia County offers food preservation information and resources.  Here is a list of services that we provide:

·         Free Printed Publications and Safe Canning Recipes

·         Online Publications and Recipes:

http://extension.oregonstate.edu/fch/food-preservation

·         Free Pressure Canner Gauge Testing (call ahead before bringing in your gauge)

·         Direct assistance from the Extension office in St. Helens. Call 503 397-3462

·         Food Preservation and Food Safety Hotline from July 14 through October 17, 2014, 9 am – 4 pm Monday- Friday.   1-800-354-7319

·         A list of our hands-on canning classes can be found on our website: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/columbia  or call our office at 503 397-3462

 

Squash and cucumber comments

Most gardeners have lots of winter squash. Varieties such as Acorn, Buttercup, Butternut, and Hubbard (to name a few) will store well for at least four months. Harvesting the oldest squash can start now. Clip the squash from the vine leaving a couple inches of stem except with Hubbard squash which store best with the stems removed. Wash squash with a mix of one part bleach to nine parts water, dry it off, and leave it in a room that is very dry for about two weeks. This will form a hard shell on the squash that will make it more resistant to storage diseases. Then put it in a dry garage or basement for long-term storage, Check the squash periodically to remove those showing any signs of rot. Keep the mice away. Read More

Diggin’ in the Dirt: Starting New Garden Beds

Last Chance to Sign up for the 2014 OSU/Columbia Master Gardener™ Class in Vernonia

We are coming close to our sign-up deadline (February25th) for the Master Gardener classes to be held in Vernonia. Currently, we do not have enough people signed up to put on the program.   The classes will be held at the Vernonia Learning Center each Thursday from about 10:00 am – 3 p.m. starting March 6th. 2014; there will be about 10 class days on successive weeks. Classes will start in March to avoid the worst weather and will go through early May. Cost of the class series will still be $75. Gardeners from all parts of the county are welcome. The classes will cover vegetable and fruit gardening, soils and fertilizers, insect and disease identification and management, weed identification and management, and lots of other topics of interest to gardeners.

Payback projects (an obligation for all Master Gardeners™) will be focused in the Vernonia area and nearby communities. If you are interested in the Vernonia OSU Master Gardener program, please call Chip Bubl or Vicki Krenz as soon as possible at the OSU Extension office 503 397-3462 to get more information and to sign up.

 

Grafting workshop in February

The OSU Extension office in St. Helens will be hosting a grafting workshop on February 22nd (rescheduled from the snow cancellation on 2/8) from 9:00 ÅM-12:00 PM Participants will be taught how to graft apple scions on to dwarf apple rootstocks. Each participant will receive 5 rootstocks to work with and supplies to secure the graft. Scion varieties will be available or participants can bring their own varieties they wish to graft. Cost of the workshop is $15. The class is limited to 20 people so early registration will assure a place.  To register or for more information, call the Extension office at 503 397-3462.

 

Pruning grapes

Diggin-PruningGrapesPruning table grapes can seem complicated. Whether the grapes are growing on an arbor or on a trellis, the trick is to remove most of last year’s growth. On one-wire trellis, pick out two good canes and cut the new growth on each back to 12-20 buds. These are the fruiting buds for the current season. Then find two other canes and cut them back to 2-3 buds. These will produce the renewal canes for the following year. For more information, check out our table grape publication on-line at http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1957/21285/ec1639.pdf  or go to the OSU Extension catalog http://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/ and type in grapes in the search box and click on “Growing Table Grapes”. This is an on-line publication only that you can download. It is excellent!

 

Fertilize caneberries this month

Raspberries and the blackberry group (Marions, Boysens, Logans, Cascades, etc,) should be fertilized at the end of this month. The standard rate for a conventional 10-20-20 mix is 1.5-2 pounds/100 feet of row. Organic sources of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium can also be used. Check the analysis on the bags of any of the fertilizers and adjust the rates as needed.

 

 

Starting new garden beds

Whether you are thinking of a vegetable garden or new flowerbeds, there is a no-dig method that has proven very useful in the Pacific Northwest. Be warned that this process takes four to six months to work well, so it might be a little late for a spring garden.

If you want to sharply define the outline of the bed, take string and lay it out.  Then take a sharp shovel (those square bladed ones are great) and dig a small trench four inches wide by four inches deep following the string outline. Throw the excavated material into the future bed.

Cover all the bed area with about one-half inch of newspaper. This will help to suppress perennial weeds, especially grass. Then cover the entire area with eight to twelve inches of compost, manure or mulch mixed with compost or manure. Sprinkle about 10 pounds of lime per 100 square feet into the compost/manure as you are shoveling it onto the future bed.

During the next four to six months, the organic matter will decompose and shrink and the grass underneath will suffer from lack of sun. Some gardeners cover the entire bed with black plastic to speed the process. The compost must be moist, though not saturated, to decompose.

Four months later, you can plant potted perennial plants directly into the bed and top with a layer of nutrient rich compost. Remove the black plastic prior to planting, of course.

For vegetable gardens that you will seed, the entire mass can be tilled in. The grass crowns underneath should be largely dead, though seeds of both grass and broadleaf weeds will return. Add organic or conventional fertilizers to feed the vegetables.

 

Take extra produce you might have to the food bank, senior centers, or community meals programs. Cash donations to buy food are also greatly appreciated.

 

The Extension Service offers its programs and materials equally to all people.

 

Free newsletter

The Oregon State University Extension office in Columbia County publishes a monthly newsletter on gardening and farming topics (called County Living) written/edited by yours truly. All you need to do is ask for it and it will be mailed to you. Call 503 397-3462 to be put on the list. Alternatively, you can find it on the web at

http://extension.oregonstate.edu/columbia/ and click on newsletters.

 

Contact information for the Extension office

Oregon State University Extension Service – Columbia County

505 N. Columbia River Highway (across from the Legacy clinic)

St. Helens, OR 97051

503 397-3462

Email: chip.bubl@oregonstate.edu

Diggin’ in the Dirt: Those Pesky Box Elder Bugs

2014 OSU/Columbia Master Gardener™ Class Will Be Held in Vernonia (again)

After twenty-one years of having the Master Gardener classes in St. Helens, Vernonia hosted the class in 2010. It was a wonderful class. After discussion with a number of people, we have decided to come back to Vernonia for the 2014 class.   The classes will be held at the Vernonia Learning Center each Thursday from about 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM starting March 6th. 2014; there will be about 10 class days on successive weeks. Classes will start in March to avoid the worst weather and will go through early May. Cost of the class series will still be $75. Gardeners from all parts of the county are welcome. The classes will cover vegetable and fruit gardening, soils and fertilizers, insect and disease identification and management, weed identification and management, and lots of other topics of interest to gardeners.

Payback projects (an obligation for all Master Gardeners™) will be focused in the Vernonia area and nearby communities. If you are interested in the Vernonia OSU Master Gardener program, please call Chip Bubl at the OSU Extension office 503 397-3462 to get more information and to get on the mailing/email list. Read More

Diggin’ in the Dirt: On the Wing

By Chip Bubl

Oregon State University Extension Service  

Columbia County

Vernonia “Canning Tomatoes and Salsas” Class 

OSU Extension Service of Columbia Co. is offering a hands-on class on safe methods of preserving tomatoes and salsas at home.  Participants will practice making and canning a recipe in the kitchen.  Space is limited, so call soon to reserve your spot!  Pre-registration is required.  Scholarships are available for those who need financial assistance.

Where:   Vernonia Community Church. 967 State Ave, Vernonia, OR 97064

When: Saturday August 24th, 2013

Time:  9:00 am to 12:00 pm

Cost: $20.00 / person

Contact: OSU Extension Service to Register: 503-397-3462

If you have a physical disability that requires special consideration in order for you to attend, please notify our office by Aug 19th.

Food preservation and food safety

Want to learn how to safely preserve produce from your garden this summer?   The OSU Extension Service in Columbia County offers food preservation information and resources.  Here is a list of services that we provide:

•  Free Printed Publications and Safe Canning Recipes

•  Online Publications and Recipes: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/fch/food-preservation

•  Free Pressure Canner Gauge Testing (call ahead before bringing in your gauge)

•  Food Preservation and Food Safety Hotline from July through October  1-800-354-7319

•  A list of our hands-on canning classes can be found on our website: http://extension.oregonstate.edu/columbia

Jenny Rudolph, MPA

OSU/Columbia County Extension Educator Read More

Diggin’ in the Dirt: Western Tent Caterpillar

Western Tent Caterpillar

As this is being written, parts of Columbia County are inundated with one of the largest Western tent caterpillar populations in the last 20 years. The Rainier/Apiary/ Alston Mayger areas are especially hard hit. These very hungry caterpillars have consumed almost all the leaves from many alder, willow, poplar, and apple family trees and are now looking for other less favorite food. In affected areas, they are dropping by the millions onto lawns, houses, and cars in search of leftover leaves. One caller described her lawn as a wriggling mass of these caterpillars. She was not amused. Some early June weddings had to be moved inside. Soon the caterpillars will stop eating, spin a cocoon, and in about three weeks, emerge as the adult moths. These moth fly around (watch your evening lights), mate, lay eggs on twigs, and then die. It’s a rather short adulthood but that’s the way it is with the Western tent caterpillar. The eggs stay glued to twigs until next spring when they hatch and the caterpillars emerge, determined to feed. Read More

Diggin’ in the Dirt: Improving Clay Soils

Master Gardener Spring Fair coming soon

Columbia County Master Gardeners Spring Garden Fair at St. Helens High School Commons, 2375 Gable Rd, St Helens, OR 97051, on April 27 from 9:00AM – 3:00 PM. Certified Master Gardeners offer 5,000 tomatoes in more than 30 varieties for only $1.50 per plant, tomato and general gardening information, raffle tickets, hourly prizes and displays. Dozens of local vendors will be offering other plants and garden related products. Please carpool. Read More

Diggin’ in the Dirt: Become a Weather Watcher

Be a Weather Watcher – Participate in CoCoRaHS

CoCoRaHS is an acronym for the Community Collaborative Rain, Hail and Snow Network. CoCoRaHS is a unique, non-profit, community-based network of volunteers who measure precipitation in their own backyards. There are volunteers in every state who collect and report data, providing scientists with important data that supplements that which comes from existing weather stations.

As we all know, rainfall patterns can be quite variable. It may rain hard at one location and be completely dry only a few miles away. With more data coming from many locations, scientists can develop better precipitation maps and over the long term, better forecasts.

In Oregon, CoCoRaHS is coordinated by the Oregon Climate Service which is housed in Corvallis at OSU. According to the Oregon Climate Service, more CoCoRaHS volunteers are needed in rural areas, especially in areas with elevation changes. Currently there are only a few active stations in Columbia County. We have had a rain gauge set up at our office since last December and it has been fun and educational. Our record rainfall since then has been 1.52 inches on December 20th! Read More

Diggin’ in the Dirt: The Kindest Cuts

Oregon State University Extension Service 

Columbia County

Planting forests, big or small (and Small Woodlands Assn. tree sale)

Many landowners in Columbia County have a mix of forest and open ground. Often, there are small areas that need to be reforested. There are several ways to acquire the appropriate trees. You can order them from any of several nurseries. Generally, you have to order in bundles of 50-100 seedlings. Call us for contact information for these nurseries.

The Columbia County Small Woodlands Association has an annual tree sale in St. Helens. You can purchase a variety of trees in very small quantities. The sale this year will be on March 9th  at the Lawrence Oil parking lot (845 N. Columbia River Highway) in St. Helens from 8:00 am- 2:00 pm. They sell forest tree seedlings, some native shrubs, and some ornamental tree seedlings. Get there early for the best selection. Read More

Diggin’ in the Dirt: Why Do We Graft Apples?

Grafting workshop in February
The OSU Extension office in St. Helens will be hosting a grafting workshop on February 16th from 9 a.m.-12:00 p.m. Participants will be taught how to graft apple scions on to dwarf apple rootstocks. Each participant will receive 5 rootstocks to work with and supplies to secure the graft. Scion varieties will be available or participants can bring their own varieties they wish to graft. Cost of the workshop is $15. The class is limited to 20 people so early registration will assure a place. To register or for more information, call the Extension office at 503 397-3462.

Why do we graft apples (and other plants)?
New varieties of fruit trees or ornamental woody plants come about from several sources. A farmer or plant breeder might do a controlled cross, moving pollen from the flower of one variety to the female parts of the flower of another variety. This work is done both commercially and in universities to develop new plant types. On the other hand, many varieties arise from chance crossings that get noticed once the seedling matures and shows unique qualities. Sometimes, trees produce spontaneous mutations that might affect only one limb and have desirable characteristics like nicer fruit or disease resistance on that limb only. Read More