Demonstration Garden

Friday, May 28, 2010

Please Help...

We are really short on boxes to send plants home in. If you could bring your own boxes or trays when you come to the garden center, that would very much be appreciated!

Thank you!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Consider Edible Perennials

In our search for ways to make life easier, gardeners should consider planting edibles that return year after year. Most of the edibles we choose to grow are annuals. They are planted in the late spring, grow and produce for us through fall, and then their life cycle ends. Edible perennials and shrubs are plants that endure year after year - some have woody stems that remain through the winter, others die back and are renewed in spring by the warmth and the rain.

Examples of edible perennials and shrubs are: Rhubarb, Asparagus, Artichokes, all of the berries (Raspberries, Strawberries, Blueberries, etc.) and most of the herbs we use to spice up our foods. There's nothing like a fresh picked tomato from the vine outside your door, but planting a blueberry or rhubarb provides years of service, adds interest to any garden bed, and only needs to be planted once.

Here are a few of the perennial edibles we are offering you:
Asparagus 'Purple Passion' and 'Jersey'
Thornless Raspberry, Thornless Boysenberry, Marionberry
5 varieties of Blueberries
Herbs including: Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, and Chives, just to name a few.

Come see us. We are open on Thursday and Saturday this week. 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Peppers - We Have a Global Collection for You!

We have the first round of peppers out. This season we have grown many different kinds of peppers. We also have unusual varieties again, ranging from sweet to hot, HOT, HOT! A friend of Puget Ridge has been donating pepper seeds that he has collected all over the world, so we truly have a "global" collection for you. Thank you, Don!

Some of our favorite varieties are: 'Hungarian Black,' 'Bishop's Cap,' ' Sweet Banana,' 'Tequilla Sunrise,' and 'Healthy.'
5 1/2" containers are $4.69 each.
Peppers, like tomatoes, love the heat. Place in full sun with reflected heat off concrete, fences or the side of your house. Peppers enjoy well drained soil and plenty of water. You can plant them deep down, as they make more roots along their stems. Peppers are loved by aphids, so keep an eye out for those little green bugs. They are easily washed off with peppermint soap and water.

Tomato varieties available this week:
Besides all the varieties listed in previous posts, this week we brought out 'Black Krim,' 'Carbon,' 'Mirabelle,' and 'Yellow Pear.'

Another note...
A customer was in on Saturday and asked if we use any chemicals when growing our plants. We have not needed to use anything except the peppermint soap and water solution, as mentioned above, to wash off aphids. We don't use herbicides. Our potting mix does contain some fertilizer, but other than that, we give our plants good soil, as much sunshine as we get, water and lots of love and attention. They are thriving! She reminded me that our customers would want to know this information.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Open this Thursday and Saturday 11 - 3

To celebrate the sunny weekend, we'll have Variegated Red Twig Dogwood (Cornus alba 'Elegantissima') on sale. You'll love the way this shrubby dogwood brightens up dark corners of the garden. It has a vase-shape and grows to about 6 - 8' tall and 8' wide. The variegated foliage likes part shade/part sun and can take moist to somewhat dry soil. The flowers are white umbells throughout summer, not very showy, which become whitish-blue fruit.

This plant is grown for its foliage, its red twigs in winter and its ability to fill larger spaces. Once established, this plant is somewhat drought tolerant and can be cut back hard in spring to encourage growth of new, red twigs and to keep the size down to about 6' x6'. Come in and take a look at this garden gem.
Was $6.69/gallon - Now $4.69 each.

Pepper update... Last week we were able to bring the peppers outdoors for a bit during the day, but it is still a little too early for them to go into your garden. Night time temperatures need to be closer to 50 degrees. We are hoping to have them ready for you by May 19th. We will keep you posted.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

More Tomatoes!

We're bringing more varieties of tomatoes out of the greenhouse this week. In addition to the list from last week, here's what you will find.

  • Black Cherry
  • Black Krim
  • Brandywine
  • Cream Sausage
  • Gold Nugget
  • Red Alert
  • Red Zebra
  • San Marzano
  • Sweetie
Remember that we have lots of vegetable starts in addition to tomatoes. We have greens, cucumbers, garlic and several kinds of peppers will soon be ready to come out of the greenhouse. We also have herbs and a good selection of berries.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A Virtual Tour of our Facilities

If you have been to our Garden Center, you know there's a lot more here than a retail nursery. If you haven't, we'd like to take this opportunity to show you around.

Puget Ridge Garden Center is one of the educational facilities for the Landscape Horticulture program here at SSCC. As we've described in the sidebar, the garden center gives students hands-on experience with the tasks involved in a retail business.

Along with that, we teach classes in propagation and greenhouse management. Here students learn to produce most of the plant material sold in the garden center.
Many plants, like tomatoes, peppers and basil, are started from seed. Trays are filled with starter soil and seeds are sown into it. Seeds that need extra heat in order to germinate are placed in a sort of incubator "tent," as you see above, with translucent plastic above and a heating pad under the plant trays. When the seedlings have sprouted and grown a bit, students take the trays from the greenhouse to the adjacent "head house," (see below) where the tedious job of transplanting those tiny seedlings into individual pots takes place.
Once they are potted up, the plants return to the greenhouse to grow to a salable size. Here are basil plants in the greenhouse, close to being ready.
Some plants, such as woody shrubs, are propagated by way of cuttings. Others, such as perennials, are propagated by division. All go through a process of growing on in the greenhouse. When plants have reached the right size for sale, it's time to move them to the cold frame (below) so they can "harden off."
The hardening off process involves acclimating plants so that they can survive the cold, wind and direct sun outdoors. The cold frame is unheated, yet protected from the harshest of the elements, providing comfortable transition housing. Once that process is complete, the plants are moved out into the display area.
Students also propagate all of the house plants sold at the garden center. Above you see a healthy grouping of succulents. And below, a stunning orchid.