Get the Real Dirt ~ Become a Master Gardener!

2018 OSU Master Gardener™ Training Registration NOW OPEN!

Register now for the 2018 OSU Extension Service Master Gardener Training! The training includes all aspects of sustainable gardening in a fun and friendly environment.  Science-based curriculum is offered in a combination of in-person, online classes and hands-on workshops that run February through March.  This unique training is followed by volunteer educational outreach.  Classes start soon so register now!

Become a garden educator and help your community to grow from the ground up!  For details go to:

Your Plants and The Snow

Salal_2_ES_Jan_2013Now that the cold winter months are here, we wanted to allay your concerns regarding the safety of your plants whether newly planted or well established in this, and future, snaps of snow.

The effects of the cold weather can be an issue for any plants (potential cell damage on herbaceous plants and if this was a prolonged soil where the soil froze roots uptake can become inhibited) – especially new plants that have been recently through the shock of being replanted, however the snow can actually be more of a benefit when weather dips down below freezing.

The benefit of snow is that it acts as an insulator, protecting plants from the cold and frost, so this snow should help shield our plants from the cold – also when it melts it will help water the newly plants which is very helpful when establishing plantings!

Because bare root plants lack a rooting media that supplies water to the plant (i.e. soil), they must be stored in a dormant state with temperatures slightly above or below freezing, and high (95%) humidity levels.  In other words, these temperatures are ideal for storing the plants before planting so long as they do not freeze, so this may be a benefit…the bigger concern was moisture due the winds.

Generally the biggest concerns we had on planting day was the wind drying out the plant roots and freezing the roots overnight before planting – both of these issues were not a problem since we were able to store the plants in a garage and dip the plants in water before planting and were protected from the high winds by the forest cover.

Juniper garden boxes

West Multnomah SWCD Forest Conservationist Michael Ahr works with local woodland owners, some of whom find it challenging to find a market for small trees that are cut during thinning projects. Build Local Alliance, a partner organization, will assist in this process. Recently, Michael built an 8’ x 4’ raised bed in his backyard out of restoration juniper which is rot resistant.  The wood was milled by “In the Sticks” sawmill in Hines, Oregon and then shipped to a local provider who sells it to Portland homeowners.

Across much of eastern Oregon, juniper encroachment is a problem to native ecosystems.  After years of fire suppression, the tree is much more abundant, and uses a great deal of the scarce soil moisture on our vast range lands.  The situation can damage sage grouse (a candidate for the Endangered Species List) habitat by degrading the local sagebrush resource.  Juniper is often cut, but then left on the ground to decompose since there is not a strong market for the wood.  In the Sticks Sawmill mills juniper that comes almost exclusively from these restoration projects while creating a small market to pay for the restoration.

Check out the Build Local Alliance and visit the website for In the Sticks Sawmill for much more information.