The Land of Awakening

 “Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn.”  Lewis Grizzard

 

Spring will be here soon!
Spring will be here soon!

Being a good gardener, but a wretched typist, I make doubly sure that each of my cold fingers carefully touches my keyboard so I don’t have to go back and make (yet another) correction…yes, it’s very, very cold out, but we’re still planning on opening up tomorrow as we have been getting calls, visits and messages about bulk soil and bark, fruit trees and of course, dormant spray for that last window of opportunity to spray before the buds swell on the fruit trees and shrubs…

It has been a “good” winter here for us at the nursery. All of our outdoor’s over-wintered perennials, shrubs and trees have done so well! Last fall’s temperature’s gradually fell, inducing them into a perfectly cozy dormancy. I can count the losses on one hand. Our newly planted mound fared very well too considering the snow they were under for weeks. Amazingly, the most robust looking plants coming out of the winter were all of the little 4″ lavender plants and one of the wormwood varieties, ‘Powis Castle’ doesn’t even show a hint of stress. However, the viability inside our greenhouse was another story. Plants that should have been protected were not (I simply was not there to help them, due to family health issues), some plants were watered when they should have remained dry (oops, communication error!)  We also had a winter visitor, a cute cottontail “wabbit” who helped (her/himself?) to quite a few clematis vines, groundcover plants and hardy iceplants, so while they are not dead, let’s just say they were pruned within a centimeter of survival. So, we move on!

Red truck coming out of winter
Red truck coming out of winter

When you come visit us during the first week or so, please don’t be surprised to see just a few spring flowering plants. They will be coming in small orders until we get closer to April, and then BOOM! Speaking of orders, we are very happy to find plants for you, and asking us now will certainly increase the odd’s of finding them on someone’s list, so yes, ask away!

Our first event of the season will be ‘Wake up your Garden’ this Sat. March 11th, 11am-12:30pm. Come join us to get a great start in planning out your gardening season with some basic tasks and tips for improving soil, growing ornamental plants, fruits and veggies to THRIVE in our high desert. Your questions are always welcomed! If you are new to our nursery, please come meet us & find out what we do here at Madras Garden Depot. While here, you can’t help but get inspired! This will be a FREE event… Light (warm!!) refreshments served.

Wind Flower, Pulsatilla vulgaris, always laugh's at the cold!
Wind Flower, Pulsatilla vulgaris, always laughs at the cold!

 

Our next class will be: Seed Starting’, Sat. march 18th, 11am-12:30pm …learn about the joys of growing vegetables + flowers from seeds started indoors. This class will cover which types of vegetables grow best in our area, timing seedling starts, when to harden them off and how to plant and care for your seedlings, what seeds are better ‘direct sown’ and much more. We’ll give you tips for growing both vegetable and flower seeds. Using good techniques, you’ll be successful at growing your own produce and blooms from start to finish.This will be a FREE class with a limit of 15 participants. Please RSVP by Fri. March 17th. Warm refreshments served.

Tulips and Daffodils in our demonstration bed
Yes, tulips and daffodils in Madras!

Let’s keep in touch! To keep up to date with the going’s on here at Madras Garden Depot, and in the central Oregon gardening community in general, please consider “liking” us on our Facebook page (link below, or on R sidebar). You can check the Facebook page from time-to-time to see what’s new & wonderful and even send us messages, which we often see sooner than emails sent in to our work address. You can also sign up for our newsletter ( R sidebar.)

Open Garden, Tomato tips & EATs #3 approaching

OPEN GARDEN !

On Friday June 17th from 6:30 -8 pm there will be a free ‘Open Garden’ at John & Irina Cook’s garden co-sponsored by the Madras Garden Depot & the Madras Garden Club . Light refreshments will be served and a short but informative tour will be provided at 7 pm. Come meet fellow plant lovers and enjoy the evening visting John & Irina’s amazing garden. For more information please call the Madras Garden Depot @ 541 475-2068

Photos below are from a few different Jefferson County garden tours

 

Tastier Tomatoes

“Tis the season, and lots of new tomato plants have found homes in the last several weeks.  After all the work of planting, weeding, feeding and pest control, it makes good sense to do all we can to make the most of the lovely, just-picked flavor.

SungoldTomato
‘Sungold’ cherry tomatoes, 1st place at the 2015 Grow & Show!

Until recently, conventional wisdom said to keep tomatoes out of the refrigerator, at all costs.  The theory was that the cold would change volatile compounds that we taste as flavor.  Others said that the cold environment made the texture mealy.  Bland, mealy tomatoes are never a happy result of a summer’s gardening labors.  However, some new testing seems to indicate that very few, if any differences between the room temperature tomatoes and their chilled counterparts.

Unless you’re planning on preserving them, don’t pick (or buy) more tomatoes than you can eat in a day or two.  Whether you do refrigerate them or not, eating them as close to harvest time as possible will always be the best solution.

 

 More High Desert E.A.T.s

Join us in supporting the third farm tour event in the series focusing on agriculture in Jefferson County, the High Desert Food & Farm Alliance  Educational Agricultural Tours (E.A.T.s)

Have you ever wondered how our local libations are produced?

Up on the Agency Plains see organic dairy production at Poland’s Organic Dairy, tour Jefferson County’s only malting facility, Mecca Grade Estate Malt, check out how spirits are made at New Basin Distilling and finally travel down to the south county to learn what makes the high desert soil great for growing grapes at Maragas Winery!

Tickets are $35 with a $1.19 service fee and includes a shuttle service for the first 24 people who sign up. Click here for more info: E.A.T.s

Tour Runs from 8:30am – 1:30pm
Lunch and wine tasting is included.
This tour is recommended for ages 21 and up! 

Tour Starts/Finishes at Maragas Winery.  Free Shuttle departs Maragas Winery at 8:30

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome back to green, (aka spring!)

1-1-20150427_212222On Tuesday March 1st we will re-open for the season, yay! It has been a very mild winter compared to 2014-15 and all of our plants are pushing new growth, some, like our hybrid (safe) Butterfly Bushes even getting a bit carried away with themselves so they’ll have to have a date with our pruners a little sooner than later.

So, how did your garden & landscape fare over the winter? If you haven’t done so already you can still get a dormant spray on those deciduous shrubs and trees – fruiting or ornamental. It’s also a great time to tidy up perennials by cutting back old, dead growth to within 3″-4″ of emerging new growth. If you didn’t apply any compost last fall, here is a perfect opportunity to do it before the foliage on your plants takes off. We have organic compost in bags and by the yard. Our plant based compost sold by the yard is also a perfect topdressing for your lawn. Apply about 1″ over the lawn and rake it in. You’ll be surprised what a difference it can make.Recently the days, and yes, even the nights have been over 50° but it does appear we’re headed back for some more normal mild frosts – yes, it is still February everyone!

eaglewatch1And February in Jefferson County also means it’s time to celebrate the eagles during the annual Eagle Watch Celebration weekend, coming up soon Feb. 27th & 28th from 10-4 at the Round Butte Overlook Park about 10 miles west of Madras. Madras Garden Depot has once again been asked to participate, and we’ll be set up inside a warm yurt prepared to share ideas about how to make the outside environment around your home friendlier to birds in particular and wildlife, (including pollinators) in general. So come say hello, and don’t forget, this is a very kid-friendly event!

1-eaglewatch2  Eagle Watch Celebration   

To get right into the swing of things up at the nursery, our annual seed starting class with Karen will be held on Sat. March 5th at 11 am inside our greenhouse. Learn about the joys of growing vegetables from seeds started indoors or sown directly in your garden. This class will cover which types of vegetables grow best in our area, timing seed sowing for optimum growth, when to harden them off and how to plant-out and care for your seedlings, and much more.
Karen will give you tips for growing both vegetable and flower seeds. Using the proper techniques, you will be successful at growing your own produce and blooms from start to finish.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

…And now for the Wait There’s More” message:  Every attendee who purchases seed propagation equipment or 2 or more packets of seed will receive 2 quarts of ‘Black Gold’ organic seedling mix & a sample packet of Cascade Minerals Soil Re-Mineralizer, absolutely FREE!

A New Year’s inversion diversion!

 

Capture

We acknowledge that even we are getting a bit weary of the gloom outside. It’s been like this for a week or more, argh…

We welcome you to the world of the temperature inversion…So in light of that, (or really due to the lack of light!) if you would like a “diversion from the inversion” please check out this neat-o coloring book from our seed supplier: Botanical Interests Coloring Book

Hope you enjoy the coloring book and if you are thinking of spring and all things seeds, we’ll  have our seeds ready to purchase in our store at the beginning of March. If there is a particular variety you are looking for we can easily get it for you – just send us your wish list.

Stay warm out there!