Friday, June 29, 2012

Wildfire in Landscapes

As many of you know I have a forest management background and live in the forest near Tumalo Falls.   Wildfire in the landscape is a real danger in Central Oregon.   Several years ago while doing landscape maintenance for a duplex in Redmond I drove past an apartment complex that had burned.   I asked the renters in the duplex what had happened and they told me a cigarette had caused the fire.  I later called the Redmond fire marshal and confirmed the information.   The apartment had large over grown tam junipers around the foundation and someone had dropped a burning cigarette into the juniper and four families lost there homes.  The same thing happened a few years ago on Newport Ave.  A dropped cigarette in a tam juniper this time the condo units were saved but a large pine tree was lost.  The tam junipers are the worst.  I also seen the mulch we put in our landscape beds burn twice at customers homes in Broken top.  Once it was caused by a cigar dropped in the mulch and the second by an unknown cause.  Both times the fires occurred just before the irrigation came on and the irrigation put the fires out.  Burning cigarettes and cigars are not the only cause I am sure.  I have seen people dump there charcoal berquets for the barbecue in the landscape.  OK but make sure they are dead out.  Remember when we were young and Smoky said to put your hand in the fire to make sure it is DEAD out.  A third cause of wild fires in landscapes are holiday fireworks.  Several years ago in City View subdivision I had a customers hedge burn from a bottle rocket landing in the hedge.  It was quite a surprise to the 90 year young home owner and the boys across the street who sent the bottle rocket flying into her hedge. 

Everyone have a safe and great summer


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fall & Winter Gardens

Well seed catalogs are out for fall & winter gardens.  Territorial Seed & Johnny's Seed are my primary sources of seeds and information.  , 
Ellie, I am learning how to do more on Blogger  :)

  Time to order garlic cloves, I am going to plant 50% hard neck and 50% soft neck this year again.  The hard neck has the scipes that are fun to harvest and enjoy this time of the year in the valley.  They do nor keep as well so they are also the first to be used in fall cooking.  I save the soft neck for late winter- summer cooking as they store better.  I am sown to 3 or 4 cloves left from last season now.  I planted two 7 X 4 beds of garlic last fall so I will have lots to cook with this summer and next winter.  I am looking forward to sowing several spinach, kale, cabbage, winter beets, winter carrots in August in the unheated greenhouse.  I will be taking out the old spinach from last season next week in my free time. 
It is interesting, I checked my soil temperature Thursday, it is only 55 degrees now.  One reason things grow so slow here. Check your soil temperature and let me know how you compare.  I have to remember that just a few weeks ago it was snowing off and on and we had 20 degree nights. 

Well time to go. 



Sunday, June 10, 2012

Spring in Central Oregon

It was a pepper
This was a tomato
  It is a hard lesson, spring comes late in Central Oregon.  I was told many years ago not to plant tender annuals until the 2nd week of June.  There are some years even that is too early.  At our elevation on this side of the mountains the temperatures can drop quickly to below freezing.  This was a June 6th with a low about 25 degrees.  That would have been hard to protect even with row covers. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Backflow tests

Well my back flow tester has finally been able to schedule back flow tests for my customers.  George caught up with me last Thursday in Broken top.  George and Pattie do back flow testing for six months and then enjoy the remainder of the year.  I want to stress it is important to have your irrigation back flow tested every year.  The back flow prevents the contaminated irrigation water from entering the house drinking water.  We do not want the bacteria from the landscape to be in your drinking water :(   The back flow device prevents this from happening.  I need to ask George but, if I remember from when I was testing back flow devices it was a 1 in 10 to 1 in 15 failure rate.  What is the health of your family worth?  I am on a private well and not obligated to have my back flow  tested, but I choose to have it tested.  The health of my family is worth the small cost of the test.  Thank you George and Pattie for great work.