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About The independent. (Vernonia, Or.) 1986-current | View This Issue
The INDEPENDENT, April 16, 2009
Can You Dig It?
By Schann Nelson
OSU Master Gardener
will get way too hot and scorch everything you’ve worked so hard to grow. This is
not easy to do when the weather is so changeable. If the sun comes out while
you’re in the valley – not good.
Other stuff you can do now:
If you have good sun exposure and well-drained soil, you can start planting the
following as soon as the soil warms consistently above freezing: broccoli, Brussels
sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, endive, peas, Asian greens.
Incorporate organic matter into the soil along with other amendments, as indi-
cated by soil testing, if you can work the ground at all.
Fertilize the lawn now and consider overseeding bare or sparse lawn – turns out
that grass developed for lawns is MUCH better looking, darker and greener, than
the lawn you get when you just mow the yard.
Plant hardy alyssum, phlox and marigold transplants. Hardy gladioli can be set
in the ground.
Control fungal diseases such as black spot as needed, and prune for good air
Bait for slugs!
If you have never had a garden it’s never too late to start growing something to
supplement your food supply or beautify your surroundings. You can grow a nice
crop of lettuce on a porch or deck in pots. Herbs also work well in pots. I’m espe-
cially fond of thyme because it makes a small draping shrub that lasts for years.
And you can just prune and shape it a bit for seasoning a soup or a chicken. Se-
lect your site carefully: you need at least six hours of sun to get a vegetable crop,
more for the sun lovers (tomatoes, corn, eggplant, melons, etc.). Be sure you put
your plants where you can see and enjoy them! Don’t even think about planting any
of these heat lovers before mid-May at the earliest. Be sure to choose a short sea-
son variety and your sunniest location. Good Luck!
Watch for yellow jackets consistently returning to the same place. Those big
slow-moving queens are looking for cracks, crannies and undisturbed (but loose
and light) soil to start their families. If you find the entrance to a nest early, it’s fair-
ly easy to get rid of a whole colony by spraying. The best time of day to do this is
early in the morning before the wasps are out. Be sure to seal the entrance hole if
at all possible. Sprays do not kill larvae still in the nest so you may have treat sev-
eral times as the survivors may clean out the nest and continue merrily along. They
can be quite persistent in places like window sashes and behind exterior wall trim.
Don’t forget! Spring Garden Fair, April 25, 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., St. Helens
High School commons. Free parking! Free Admission! Great deals inside and out
from local vendors of trees, shrubs, garden art, herbs, containers, etc. Raffle tick-
ets for $1.00. Tomatoes, 6,000 of them in 50 varieties for only $1.25 per plant!
Oh my goodness gosh golly gee willickers! I thought that
sunny weekend had lots blooming up here in our valley, but
a brief journey into Orenco had me positively astonished!
Everything is in bloom down there. And since that section of
Hillsboro is professionally landscaped, there are spring flow-
ering trees selected for that purpose everywhere. The road
to the Max station in Orenco was a nasty muddy construction
mess a year ago. Now it’s a residential street in bloom. What
a wonderful change.
Well it’s not exactly winter here anymore, either. I surely
do hope you had a chance, like I did, to sit and soak up the sun since we may not
see it again for weeks. When the wind kicks in it still feels like winter, but tempera-
tures are slowly rising. If you can’t tell, the plants around us certainly can. Last
month it seemed like deep winter would never end and nothing would ever come
back to life. While daffodils were appearing in the valley, ours were trying hard to
simply emerge from the ground – much less bloom.
Now, just a few short weeks later, the daffodils are in full bloom, the daylilies are
a foot high, and the lilac buds are beginning to swell. You could practically watch
things grow on those first few sunny days. Now we have settled in to our normal
cold, wet, ‘spring’ weather. Don’t get too excited about hot weather yet. It will get
warmer and stop freezing every clear night, but the cloud cover and damp usually
last well into May or June. It’s not unusual for the ground to be too wet to sit on to
watch fireworks on Independence Day.
Note on lilac buds: There is a folk saying about planting corn when the lilac buds
are the size of a mouse’s ear. While this may work where the change from deep
winter to warm sunny weather is short and complete, all you will get for your effort
planting corn seed (or squash, cucumbers or even beans) now – is the opportuni-
ty to RE-plant after nothing comes up. It takes much longer for the soil to warm up
sufficiently to encourage growth that is strong enough and fast enough to defeat
the ever-present rotting wetness. Replanting is a waste of time, effort and money.
Lots of storm damage clean up still needs to be done. Every good stiff breeze
seems to bring more of the hanging broken stuff down out of the trees, which is a
good thing. I’m expecting more trees to come down across highways and roads as
trees begin to leaf out and gain mass and before the soil dries out and becomes
more stable. There are a LOT of leaners and partially broken trees that don’t look
like it will take much to bring them down.
There are several ways to warm soil but all require additional effort. The easiest is
probably floating row covers, sold as Frost Blankets. This lightweight material can
stay in place as it allows moisture and light through. It’s also very effective for keep-
ing cats out of your freshly raked and seeded garden and will keep
a variety of insect pests at bay. I’d rather have the bugs and be able
to see my garden than just look at long rows of white. Slugs think
you created a little damp shade just for them and can devastate
young seedlings, so be sure to use vigorous control underneath
N EHALEM V ALLEY B IBLE C HURCH
Gary Taylor, Pastor
Large areas of soil can be warmed by covering the soil with ei-
Grant & North Streets, Vernonia
ther black or clear plastic before working the soil. Clear plastic will
heat the ground more, but you will get a lovely crop of weeds to
Sunday School 10:00 a.m.
deal with. This may not be a bad thing if you are reducing the
Morning Worship 11:00 a.m.
number of weed seeds. Sometimes clear plastic is suggested to
“sterilize” soil before planting, but we have too much moisture and
Wednesday Service 7:00 p.m.
too little sun for this to be effective until high summer. I’m not con-
vinced it’s a good idea, either, because it also kills off beneficial
V ERNONIA F OURSQUARE C HURCH
soil organisms like worms and mushrooms. You could end up with
Carl Pense, Pastor
hard, dry dirt that required a lot of rototilling and amendment with
850 Madison Avenue, Vernonia
organic material to produce a quality growing environment.
I am not a fan of rototilling (partly because the operation of a
Sunday Worship Service: 10:30 a.m.
Children’s Sunday School
tiller is beyond my capacity), but you can work up a large area in
a relatively short amount of time. However, if you continue to ro-
C HURCH OF J ESUS C HRIST
totill the same garden area you can create a hard compacted bar-
OF L ATTER D AY S AINTS
rier at the depth of the tiller. This will prevent or inhibit plant growth
below that depth. Water, nutrients, and beneficial organisms will
Marc Farmer, Branch President
have a hard time penetrating this hardpan. Since our topsoil is
1350 E. Knott Street, Vernonia
generally shallow and sits on top of a hard layer of clay, you don’t
Sacrament Meeting, Sunday 10 a.m.
need to add to the problem.
Sunday School & Primary 11:20 a.m.
Plastic hot caps or tunnels work great and will warm soil signif-
Relief Society, Priesthood and
icantly and keep that heat in. BUT you absolutely must open the
Young Women, Sunday 12:10 p.m.
ends of the tunnel or tip the hot cap when the sun comes out or it
Is it Spring, yet?
S EVENTH D AY A DVENTIST
F IRST B APTIST C HURCH
Gary S. Walter, Pastor
2nd Ave. and Nehalem St., Vernonia
Morning Worship, 11:00 a.m.
Sabbath School 9:30 a.m.
359 “A” Street, Vernonia
Sunday School 9:45 a.m.
Sunday Worship Service 11:00 a.m.
Wednesday Prayer Meeting 7:00 p.m.
A SSEMBLY OF G OD
S T . M ARY ' S C ATHOLIC C HURCH
Wayne and Maureene Marr
662 Jefferson Ave., Vernonia,
Sunday School 9:45 a.m.
Morning Worship 11:00 a.m
Rev. Luan Tran, Administrator
960 Missouri Avenue, Vernonia
Mass Sunday 12:00 Noon
Religious Educ. Sunday 10:30 a.m.
V ERNONIA C HRISTIAN C HURCH
V ERNONIA C OMMUNITY C HURCH
Sam Hough, Evangelist
410 North Street, Vernonia
Sunday School 9:45 a.m.
Morning Worship 11:00 a.m.
Ladies' Bible Study 9:30 a.m.
Ladies’ Worship 10:00 a.m.
Children’s Choir 3:00 p.m.
Family Bible Study 7:00 p.m.
Grant Williams, Pastor
957 State Avenue, Vernonia
Sunday Breakfast 9:00 a.m.
Morning Worship 9:45 a.m.
Children and Nursery 10:00 a.m.
Youth Group 6:00 p.m.
Preschool Mon. & Wed. 9:00 a.m.
Wednesday Prayer 6:00 p.m.
Tues. & Fri. Adult Volleyball 7:00 p.m.