Category: garden

Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson

We all hear the same advice: eat your fruits and veggies. However, many people don’t realize is that there is a huge variety in the amount of nutrition you get from your food depending on the specific varietal, storage, and way it is prepared. This book is an amazing resource to learn how to maximize the nutritional value of your produce.

Robinson talks about how to choose produce in the store, how to best store it, and how to prepare it to maximize benefits. It is full of little hints that can make a big difference. Some veggies are better consumed raw, some cooked. In general the more intense color a veggie has, the more benefit it will convey.

The history of where our food comes from is endlessly fascinating. For each type of produce, Robinson talks about what it was like when it was wild and how it was changed by humans. Corn, for example, came from a plant called Teosinte which bears little resemblance to the super sweet varieties many people enjoy today. Part of corn’s history involves mutations caused by nuclear reactions. I encourage you to read the whole story.

As a gardener, I quite appreciate that this book lists specific varieties of different plants and which have the highest nutrient content. If we are going to spend time nurturing and growing food plants, why not choose the ones that will give the most back?

Some of my favorite tidbits include: carrots retain more nutrients if you cook them whole and then cut them up to serve after. Potatoes are better for you if you eat them one day after cooking. Red lettuce has more health benefits than green.

All in all, I wanted to share this with you all because I found it very interesting and helpful. I hope you enjoy too!

Home Orchard Society Fruit Propagation Fair

The Home Orchard Society has an annual Propagation Fair at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds. For just $5 (members) or $7 (general) attendees are treated to an amazing collection of cuttings and scions!

I got there right after 10am and there was a line down the block. Entry went pretty quickly once the doors opened. The event was packed! Everywhere you looked people were crowding in to grab the cuttings they wanted. I saw some people with huge bundle-loads that had to have been a foot wide!

Next time I have to remember to bring labels and a permanent marker. Luckily someone nearby was kind enough to share his.

I gathered a small collection, then set them up to start this afternoon. Here’s to hoping they root!

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Some of the things I chose:

three varieties hardy kiwi, including red princess

three male hardy kiwis

grapes: concord, venus, reliance seedless, canadice seedless, Himrod seedless, bronx

cherries: lapin, ostheimer weischel, montmorency, sweetheart

persimmon: jiro, fuyu

plum: italian, mirabelle

fig: desert king, negrone

I’m so very excited to see what happens with these!

Gardening for Pollinators

I teach a class called Gardening for Pollinators. It includes information about honey bees, native bees, butterflies, habitat creation, best plants for forage, and emphasizes organic practices. Please let me know if you would like me to teach it for your organization.

This class relies on a Powerpoint presentation, so we will need to arrange a digital projector.

Please email me at larenleland (at) gmail (dot) com to schedule!

 

Here are some great resources that I’ve collected to share on the topic.

Great organizations and information:

Portland Urban Beekeepers

OSU Extension Master Gardener Metro Area

USDA Forest Service pollinator site

Pollinator Partnership

Xerces Society fact sheets

OSU Extension 12 Plants to entice pollinators to your garden

Wikipedia: list of plants pollinated by bees

Southern Oregon Beekeepers Basics of Pollination

PDF’s with valuable information (plant lists!) that you can print out or read on your computer:

Oregon State University attracting pollinators guide

OSU pamphlet on butterfly gardens

USDA Forest Service pamphlet on attracting pollinators with native plants

Xerces Society pamphlet on conserving bumble bees

Puget Sound Bees pamphlet on bee friendly plants

Seattle Urban Bee project pamphlet on pollinator plants

Pollination Partnership Pacific Northwest lowland selecting plants for pollinators

Sonoma County Beekeepers plant for bees

OSU pamphlet How to Reduce Bee Poisoning for Pesticides

App for your phone:

Bee Smart

Help track bumble bees:

Bumble Bee Watch project

Free milkweed seeds:

Live Monarch project

Documentaries:

Queen of the Sun

Vanishing of the Bees

More than Honey

A few of my favorite books:

A Buzz in the Meadow: The Natural History of a French Farm

A Sting in the Tale: My Adventures with Bumblebees

Victory Gardens for Bees: A DIY Guide to Saving the Bees

100 Plants to Save the Bees: The Best Blooms to Nourish and Sustain Native Bees, Honey Bees, and Other Pollinators

Top Bar Beekeeping

The Hive: A Story of the Honey Bee and Us

Nectar and Pollen Plants of the Pacific Northwest

Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping

Attracting Native Pollinators

Honeybee Democracy

Thank you for your interest in helping pollinators!

Blossomwood Farmstead

I’ve been quite busy with property management lately, the reason being…? My family bought a farm!

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It’s a beautiful 42 acre property in Yachats, Or. (That is between Florence and Newport on the coast.) It includes a small 1916 farmhouse, which was one of the original homesteads in the area. In addition, it has a 2004 guest house, barn, cabin, and wood shed. There are 1,400 feet of river frontage, a pond, a bog, 12 acres of pasture, and 30 acres of forest. The land backs onto the Siuslaw National Forest.

It’s about 7 miles in from the ocean and south-facing, so is perfect for gardening. It’s been keeping me busy with quite a number of projects! (More details to come.)

  1. Refinishing the upstairs floors.
  2. Fixing quite a bit of deferred maintenance.
  3. Figuring out all the systems.
  4. Getting to know the land.
  5. Furnishing both houses.
  6. Planting things!

My short-term goal is to set up both houses as Airbnb rentals. (Keep an eye out for when it is ready if you would like to visit!) Long term goals include creating a bee sanctuary and a permaculture garden.

I’ve learned so much already just in the first three months of being a steward to this land. I absolutely love it and feel very grateful! I can’t wait to get to know it better as the seasons progress.

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Tree School 2016 registration

It’s time to register for 2016’s OSU Extension Tree School!

If you haven’t attended in the past, let me tell you about it. This is an annual one day event chock full of classes. Topics include: business management, forestry, fruit trees, pest management, marketing, water resources, dealing with weeds, wildlife, etc!

The first year I went to mostly honeybee classes. Last year I did quite a number of truffle classes, plus one about plant propagation. This year I’m gravitating toward native plants and forest management. I can’t wait! Hope to see you there!

For more information and to register, please check out the web site.

Oregon Mushroom Show

I went by the Oregon Mushroom Show today. This is a yearly event organized by the Oregon Mycological Society. It was a great source of information for mushroom classification, propagation, and much more.

Did you know that you can dye fabric using mushrooms? Or use mycology inoculations as a way to remediate a brownscape? (Brownscapes are abandoned or underutilized sites, often associated with industry, that contain some degree of real or perceived contamination.)

I got to smell and touch some local mushroom varieties that had been found just today. It was great to see them first hand and get to ask questions of the volunteers, all of whom seemed quite well informed. Comparing edible mushrooms with lookalikes that are poisonous was quite instructive. They were also demonstrating how to do a spore print, which is an excellent technique for identification.

If you want to find out more information about mushrooms in the area, try joining the Facebook groups: Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest and Pacific Northwest Mushroom Identification and Information Forum.

Here are some images from the show today!

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Fruit extravaganza!

Hey everyone! I took a break from blogging this summer, but now I’m back!

Let’s kick off with this great event called the “All About Fruit Show.” It happened today at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds.

If you ever wondered what a particular variety of apple tastes like, this show is your place to find out. They had over 600 different types to sample! It was overwhelming, but I did come away with a list of 10 that I loved.

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Beyond apples, I also got to try my first pawpaw. Did you know they are native to North America? There was also seaberry juice, a whole table of hardy kiwi varieties, quince, pears, and more!

I highly recommend attending! Keep an eye out around this time of year in 2016 for your chance.

Here’s the hardy kiwi table.

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And the grapes! I loved a dark purple variety called “Jupiter.” It tasted like a Concord, but it was seedless!

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Swarm Two 2015

We caught our second swarm today! This one was resting on a potted plant at a house boat. Here’s what it looked like when we arrived. (That’s water behind the plant.) Btw, just click on the photos to see them larger.

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Here’s a video of the first handful going into the box.

When we had most of the bees in the box, these few that were left lined right up and marched in to join their friends.

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Here we are with messed up hair (well, mine) and happy bee-shiny faces!

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We got home just as the sun was setting and got the bees safely into their new hive.

Oregon Orchid Show and Sale 2015

I went by the 26th annual Oregon Orchid Show and Sale yesterday. So many gorgeous flowers! I’m posting about it today because you still have time to see the show for yourself. If you go — make sure to use this coupon for $3 off admission. (I just showed it on my phone.)

I bought two orchids at the sale, both of which are now hanging over one of my aquariums.

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Here are some of the gorgeous blooms I snapped. Truly worth seeing!

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