Whitman Farms Fieldtrip

The vegetable garden with drip irrigation system was successful this years and it was time to shift my efforts to my landscaping, so I headed out to see Lucille at Whitman Farms. I had heard many great things about her but nothing could have prepared me for my visit.

Whitman Farms is nursery in Salem, Oregon that was started back in 1980 by Lucille Whitman. The goal of my trip was to Continue reading “Whitman Farms Fieldtrip”

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My Favorite Fall Flowers for Pollinators

Fall flowers in the garden are important to pollinators such as honey bees because they need to store up as much pollen and nectar as possible before winter arrives. These stores are necessary to sustain them through the winter because they do not hibernate and they need to eat while keeping the hive warm. The average hive needs fifty to sixty pounds of honey to survive until spring.

Bumblebees on the other hand do not overwinter colonies. The last brood of the year consists of several queens that hibernate. And although her metabolism rate slows allowing her to live for long periods while burning very little fuel, the queen still needs Continue reading “My Favorite Fall Flowers for Pollinators”

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Plant Heathers with Blueberries for Increased Fruit

Blueberries have to be my favorite fruit. Whether I am picking them for a fresh blueberry pie or just grazing, you cannot beat them for flavor and ease of picking. However with our cool Oregon springs, it is sometimes difficult to get a good fruit set on the early blooming varieties. Many pollinators such as honey bees need warmer temperatures to be fully active. However, bumblebees are active at much cooler temperatures and planting heather with your blueberries will attract these hard workers in droves.

There are many insects that pollinate blueberries including honey bees, solitary bees and bumblebees. But as mentioned earlier, the bumblebees work at much lower temperatures. Continue reading “Plant Heathers with Blueberries for Increased Fruit”

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Building a Hibernaculum

In the Willamette Valley, we do not have winters with prolonged deep freezes. So if you want to build your own hibernaculum here in Oregon, most of the plans online will not be appropriate. Our frost line rarely exceeds seven inches and building a hibernaculum six feet deep is a waste of time.

I am in the USDA plant hardiness zone 8b with winter temps down to 10 – 15 degrees Fahrenheit.  Reptiles for the most part only need to be twelve or so inches underground to be safe. So here is my hibernaculum plan:

Picking a Hibernaculum Site

Hibernaculum sites should be sloped Continue reading “Building a Hibernaculum”

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HI-MACS Solid Surface Counter Review

In one word, HI-MACS Solid Surface Counters SUCK and LG Hausys customer service is even worse. Okay, that’s probably the only time you will ever see me use that word here but I have had such problems with them that I am livid.

So why am I reviewing this product on a garden blog. Well I put in huge HI-MACS counters in my farm house kitchen with one purpose – lot’s of room to prep my fruits and vegetables. So I think that qualifies them as a garden tool.

I have spent the last four year’s remodeling the house and getting it ready for my move last June. The counters were the last thing I did inside the house other than the blinds. A while after having the HI-MACS solid surface counters installed I decided to dust them off and noticed they were spider cracking in Continue reading “HI-MACS Solid Surface Counter Review”

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