Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Peony 'Sarah Bernhardt'

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Natural Gardening Resources

Good morning Portland gardeners!
Did you know there is so much great natural gardening information waiting for you on the Metro website. There are brochures, demonstration gardens to visit and workshops. I frequently reference their information on native plants, water-effecient gardening, and consumer guide to lawn & garden products. Check them out today for awesome regionally specific FREE gardening information. Have a happy day! Jolie

Saturday, May 30, 2015

End of May Planting

Good morning gardeners!

I hope you have been enjoying all the Portland spring sunshine. Yesterday Slim & I enjoyed an awesome hike around Hoyt Arboretum. We saw the last of the magnolia and rhododendron blooms, as well as prolific flowers on native rosa, salal and salmonberry. What a treasure is Hoyt Arboretum, every season of the year there is something of interest.

In our home garden we are enjoying the blooms of peonies, spirea, scabiosa, roses, lavender, clematis and our dogwood tree. I am fighting slugs constantly, having planted THREE successions of beans & sunflower seeds to find then sprouted them mowed down overnight. The first raspberries of the season are ripe and I gorge myself on them every time I walk by. Our strawberries and peas both have flowered but not yet produced fruit.

We are enjoying harvesting, cooking & eating from the garden: arugula, basil, chard, green garlic & garlic scales, kale, lettuce, mustard greens, radishes, shallot scapes and spinach.

My herb garden is prolific and I am so enjoying the colorful flowers, foliage texture, fragrance and taste. At least once a day I harvest fresh herbs to incorporate into our meals and make fragrant delicious teas. I am especially enjoying teas from: tangerine sage, lemon-rose scented geranium, lemon verbena, lemon balm, lavender blossoms, thyme, apple mint, peppermint and chocolate mint.

This week we planted tomatoes (7 varieties), several varieties of basil, summer squash, cucumber, and beans. In our limited garden space it is always a fun struggle to determine which tomato varieties will make the cut. This year we decided upon:
Lemon Boy
Orange Strawberry
Great White Pink Stripe
San Marzano
Purple Bumblebee
Sweet Million

The night temperatures have consistently been above 55 degrees and the soil temperature has been consistently at least 60 degrees. If you have not planted yet, don't despair you have not missed out. You can still plant your veggies into the beginning of June to reap a nice harvest. These are the things you can plant now:

Collard Greens
Green Onions
Parsnips (for a fall harvest)
Rutabaga (for a fall harvest)
Salad greens-arugula, mesclun mix, micro greens, orach
Summer Squash
Swiss Chard
Winter Squash

Please don't forget to companion plant some summer annual flowers for the bees, butterflies and beneficial bugs! Try alyssum, calendula, cleome, cosmos, lantana, lobelia, marigolds, petunias, sunflowers and zinnias. The Portland forecast is for rain to return on Monday, so get planting this weekend. Remember on warm sunny days to plant in the morning or evening, not during the heat of the day. And keep your new transplants well watered until they are better established.

Happy gardening! Jolie

Thursday, May 21, 2015

June 7 Container Design Workshop

Hi gardening friends,

You don't want to miss my next container gardening design workshop at Portland Nursery. This class has limited participants and always fills up fast. It is really fun and I hope that you can join me.

Make and Take Summer Interest Containers
with Jolie Donohue
The Gardening Goddess, Jolie Donohue will be here to help you make your own gloriously showy summer container. Jolie will assist in proper selection of plants for great design in sun or shade – your choice. $10 fee + plants you choose. Container and soil included. Please bring your own gloves and hand trowel.

9000 SE DIVISION • Sunday • June 7 • 1:00-2:30pm
Click here to register for this class.

Here are some goodies from my container design portfolio to help get you inspired!

Organic Gardening Workshop Series Update

Hi gardening friends!

Here is an update on the organic gardening series I am teaching at Springwater Studio in May & June. For registration information please contact Springwater Studio. I look forward to seeing you soon in a workshop!

Join Jolie to learn the benefits of companion planting for the healthiest, happiest plants possible. She will discus tips and techniques for great crop combinations and methods of interplanting veggies with flowers and herbs. Learn strategies to make your urban garden a year-round haven for our favorite beneficial winged creatures.

Fragrant, delicious herbs awaken the senses and enliven culinary creations. Jolie introduces a diverse palette of culinary herbs and how to grow them successfully in your garden. An avid kitchen-gardener cook, Jolie is passionate about beautiful delectable edible flowers! Join her as she shares tips on types of edible flowers, their culture and care in the garden, harvesting and recipes.

You have planted your veggie garden and it is not thriving or producing. What now? Jolie will help you identify the most common seasonal pest and disease issues in the Portland veggie garden as well as organic methods for happier, healthier more productive plants.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

It is Tomato Planting Time!

Hello gardening friends!

It is May 19th and the temperatures are finally right for planting tomatoes and other warm season veggies. Tomatoes need soil temperatures of 60 degrees and night temperatures consistently above 55 degrees. In Portland we are holding steady above 50 degrees at night and the next week forecast looks good. This is what we have all been waiting for. Yahoo!

It is now a good time to begin planting:
Summer Squash
Winter Squash

Please see these post for tips on planting tomatoes and cucumbers. Have fun! Jolie

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Growing Cucumbers

Cucumbers are another of our favorite warm season edibles for the home garden. A cucumber harvested at the peak of freshness from the summer garden is hands down better than any cucumber you will ever get from the grocery store. Especially those tasteless green tubes masquerading as cucumbers you find at the grocery store during the winter. Eating seasonally is awesome-not only does it just taste better it is also more sustainable.

Growing cucumbers in Portland is relatively easy if you plant them at the right time. Cucumbers need ground temperature of 60-65 degrees and night air temperature of at least 55 degrees. Typically in Portland this is mid May to late June. If the weather is not warm and dry, cucumber plants will grow slowly and fall prey to disease.

Cucumbers cucumis sativus are a member of the cucurbits family along with zucchini, summer squash, winter squash, pumpkins and melons. Cucumbers require a full sun location with at least 6 hours of sun per day. Cucumbers are rambling vine plants that need to be spaced 3-4 feet apart in all directions. We have successfully grown cucumbers up a trellis in our raised beds. These days there are also patio varieties that don't get as large and are excellent for growing in small spaces including containers. Check out patio snacker!

Cucumbers require very rich well drained soil. They will rot out in the thick clay of native Portland soil. Prepare your planting bed by adding fresh compost and organic matter like coco coir or earthworm castings. Better yet grow cucumbers in a raised bed filled with fresh planting mix.

In Portland you can plant cucumbers by seed or by transplant. Cucumbers are heavy feeders and benefit from an organic granular vegetable fertilizer in the planting hole. Additional applications of organic granular fertilizer are every 4 weeks during the growing season. Once plants have grown to a decent size and are beginning to set flowers and fruit I begin applying an organic liquid bloom fertilizer every 2-3 weeks.

Cucumbers are more than 90% water and are stressed by insufficient watering. Cucumbers want average to moist watering while growing, about 2 inches a week. If it is not raining you will need to provide supplemental water. The frequency and amount will depend on your location and soil. Water stress can be the cause of bitter tasting fruit and odd shaped fruit that is smaller in one end.

Cucumbers and other members of the cucurbits family have separate male and female flowers on the same plant that require pollination for fruit set. If your plants develop flowers and then the subsequent tiny fruits fall off, lack of pollination is the cause. Be sure to plant plenty of flowers in your biodiverse garden to encourage pollinators and keep them safe by growing organically and avoiding the use of sprays.

In Portland it is inevitable for cucumbers to fall prey to the dreaded powdery mildew. The leaves will develop a white residue and then shrivel up with crispy brown edges. Powdery mildew is a fungal disease that flourishes in the summer in Portland. To prevent powdery mildew practice crop rotation, clean up all plant debris in the fall. During the growing season you can prevent powdery mildew by spacing your plants appropriately to provide good air circulation. Water the soil, not the plant, by use of a watering wand, drip irrigation or soaker house. If you use overhead watering the fungal disease easily spreads by splashing from leaf to leaf and soil to leaf.

Some cucumber varieties are for slicing and others are for pickling. In general you can harvest any immature cucumber variety for pickling. Our favorite all purpose variety is 'Muncher.'

Other varieties we have enjoyed growing are:
Homemade Pickles

Visit Territorial Seeds for an excellent selection of cucumber varieties tested for the PNW gardener. Portland Nursery also makes some suggestions for the Portland gardener.

Visit Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds for an incredible selection of heirloom and rare varieties.

More tips on growing cucumbers from our friends at Rodale can be found here.

We've still got a few weeks until its time to plant cucumbers in Portland. I can hardly wait! We love to make sun pickles. I can just taste them.

Happy gardening, Jolie

Friday, May 1, 2015

Happy May Day!

Happy May Day Gardening Friends!

I love all the seasons and all the weather we are blessed with in Portland. However, I am super grateful for the warm spring we are having this year. I am celebrating Mother Nature's abundance on today's May Day/Beltaine. May Day is an ancient spring celebration and most are familiar with the tradition of dancing around a may pole. Beltaine is an ancient fertility festival with Celtic roots held on May 1st, in between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. Wear green on May Day to celebrate nature.

As I walk through my garden I am delighted by elegant velvety bearded iris, orange and red azaleas, red rhododendron, fat purple spanish lavender blossoms, lady and sword ferns unfurling their new fronds, a carpet of fragrant wisteria blossoms littering the path. Native dicentra formosa has sprouted up tiny pink blossoms in every untended patch of the garden. Our beautiful magenta clematis just opened her very first blossom of the year. As the white and pink bleeding heart blossoms fade and drop they are replaced by the fat peony buds so close to bursting open. Our flowering dogwood tree is covered in creamy flowers. Dahlia sprouts spring from the warm soil pushing up their hopeful heads to the sun. Seeds for carrots, radishes, scallions, mesclun mix, runner beans, morning glory, sunflower and amaranth have sprouted. Everywhere I look in the garden it is a sea of green, so full of spring's lush leafy promise.

Butterflies dance, bees buzz and birds flutter in and out, splashing in the bird bath. I am celebrating spring. What better place to celebrate May Day than your own abundant garden? I honor Mother Nature in all of her aspects, and today in her fertile spring self. Enjoy the season friends!

Happy Gardening, Jolie