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Green Tomatoes! Are Your Tomatoes Stunted and Late this Year?

What can you do when your midsummer tomatoes hang green on the vine?
“If weather promises to be uncompromisingly unpredictable in years to come, choose tomato varieties that will be resilient to unexpected weather.”
It’s early August and most of my 15 tomato vines—beefsteaks, paste, and salad types—still have green fruit. Two lean-to-ripen cherry tomatoes are the only yielders, so far.
For loads of the Mid-Atlantic gardeners, […]

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Wine Grape Growing for All Gardeners

There are wine grapes for practically any growing situation!
If you have a sunny patio arbor or pergola, then you have enough room to grow wine grapes. Most wine lovers will recognize the names of standard grape varieties, like ‘Pinot Noir’ and ‘Chardonnay’, but new wine grapes, like ‘Itasca’ and Pixie® Cabernet Franc, are continually being introduced, with desirable traits like cold hardiness and compactness. New wine grape traits such as these make homegrown […]

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Growing Miniature Roses

Pots of miniature roses brighten up a nursery display.
Miniature roses are perfect for small-space gardeners that love the look of classic roses. They come in all colors, and newer varieties are disease resistant and bloom continuously through summer.
There is a cloud of mystery concerning the exact origin of the miniature rose. It is most likely a descendant of the Chinese rose, Rosa chinensis var. minima, and for some unknown reason it made its […]

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Flowering Trees with Edible Fruit

Edible crabapples have pretty spring flowers and edible fruit.
Sometimes in our home yards and gardens, we plant primarily for ornamental purposes, but perhaps we overlook the fact that attractive plants can also provide food. The following flowering trees have both attributes. All are easily grown in western Oregon and Washington and garden-worthy, even without their food value.
Serviceberry
Western serviceberry has delicious summer berries.
Amelanchier alnifolia is not exactly […]

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Best Sauce Tomatoes for Home Gardeners

Serious sauce makers should plant at least eight tomatoes to generate ample tomato harvests. (‘Roma’ tomatoes shown)
All winter long, my family relies on my fresh canned marinara from the garden. Garden-fresh sauce spiked with homegrown basil, oregano, garlic, and peppers tastes nothing like canned commercial sauces. The best sauce starts with great tomatoes. Sauce and paste tomatoes are unique in that they are fleshier, denser, and […]

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Making Space for Gardening: The Portland Community Garden Story

Gardeners in an Oregon community garden harvest late-season vegetables. (Image by Dawn Grunwald)
Throughout the United States, urban community gardens have become a common thread that helps bring communities together, in cities large and small. Most community gardens have similar goals. In addition to supplying families with fresh produce, they encourage physical activity, provide needed green space, and a relaxed way to meet your neighbor.
No matter where […]

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Western Native Evergreen Shrubs for Landscapes

Oregon grape berries in winter
In recent years, I have noticed a substantial increase in the use of native shrubs for the home garden. Many are diverse and beautiful while growing well in local climates, and those with winter interest have the added benefit of year-round beauty. Quite a few native evergreen shrubs from our region have exceptional landscape value.
In my own neighborhood, I have seen an […]

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Cultivate Beneficial Insects in the Garden

Ladybug adults and larvae (orange and black) waging war on black aphids!
 
Your garden is a battlefield with more life and death drama than the Serengeti during wildlife migrations.  Among your beautiful plants and flowers there is that age-old war playing out every day as the insect world fights over who eats what.  Some insects are pests that eat your plants – they are garden prey.  Other […]

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Plant a Cactus Fruit Garden

Prickly pear fruits are tangy and often deep red. (Opuntia ficus-indica shown)
Cactus fruit are a forgotten staple of hot climates where they ripen quickly with a very high sugar content.  Fruits are cooked down into syrups, squeezed into icy drinks, made into jam, or eaten fresh after peeling.  These native fruits of the American Southwest and Mexico are both a staple and a survival food, depending […]

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Five Best Ways to Save Water in the Garden

Roof rainwater trickles into a classic garden rain barrel.
Smart gardeners prepare for summer dry spells and drought. A little water can go a long way, if you plan ahead with effective water conservation techniques. Implement one (or more) of our five ways to save water in the garden, and not only will your plants grow better in dry weather, you will spend less time and money […]

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