Image provided by: University of Oregon Libraries; Eugene, OR
About The independent. (Vernonia, Or.) 1986-current | View This Issue
The INDEPENDENT, August 19, 2010
Can You Dig It?
By Schann Nelson
Columbia County Master Gardener
Ah, Summer! Days so
pleasant seem to mock the af-
flicted with their glory.
Monday, I had to drive home
through the Willamette Valley,
where temperatures were try-
ing hard to hold at 100 degrees
– that kind of heat is not for me!
I find I’ve suddenly become
grateful for our morning cloud
cover and dependable afternoon breeze. If folks knew
how nice the weather can be, it seems they would
move here in droves. It’s not our choice that only our
really wretched weather makes the news.
Gardens are flourishing, moving quickly (if not al-
ready done) to ripeness and harvest. We will have
Christmas peas from the garden this year. Yea! Te-
dious as was, the OCD peas outperformed every oth-
er pea bed I’ve had in the past – though it does take
time and effort to plant 1-inch apart in rows 6-8 inches
apart and get them at least a bit off the ground ASAP.
It’s best to use water strategically. It’s better for the
garden, less work for you, and definitely better for the
planet. Strategic irrigation has many components in-
cluding timing, amount, method of delivery, and con-
It seems to be common knowledge that watering
when the sun is high is a waste; what may be less
clear is that there are good reasons to water in the
morning, rather than the evening. Primarily, you want
the surface of the ground or the top of your mulch and
ALL of your plants to be dry before nightfall. Some-
times it’s necessary to do a little emergency watering
in the afternoon if you’ve been unable to irrigate for
several days, but it should be limited. Late evening wa-
tering will encourage all kinds of pests and diseases,
particularly slugs, snails and the awful powdery mildew
that seems to explode overnight. If you use overhead
irrigation, i.e. sprinklers, please do so in the morning –
which is exactly what I need to go out and get set up
because we’ve been gone for most of three days.
Another point about timing: It does your garden no
favor to water every day, especially if you don’t use
mulch. Shallow watering will not encourage the deep
root growth that plants need to get to deeper water on
hot, hot days. However, some of our favorite land-
scape plants have very shallow root systems. Rhodo-
dendrons and azaleas in particular get a lot of their wa-
ter from feeder roots just under the surface. Therefore,
it is particularly important that these plants receive a
good 4 inches of bark mulch (to keep the soil surface
cool) and a good soaking at least once a week to en-
sure that water reaches the soil beneath the mulch
(which takes a lot of time by hand). I’ve also found that
an application of light summer oil will help prevent ex-
treme drying and sunburn, I assume, by reducing the
amount of water escaping. The brown patches of sun-
burn will not go away ever, better to water when the
leaves begin to droop. Remember next year’s blooms
are forming now!
I’ve found that most established plants will survive
on less water than I want to put on them. Wandering
around the yard with the wand is one of my most reas-
suring activities, especially if I remember to put the
pruners in my pocket. But I try to restrain myself by re-
membering that I am also paying WOEC to run the
pump to get the water to the garden – my electric bill
is pretty stable from March through November and it’s
sure not heating that we use in summer. My hostas are
looking a little tattered (partly due to experimentation
with scissors by a certain five-year-old) but they bloom
beautifully and fill their spaces with greenness. I’m
sure they would come up and bloom if I didn’t water
them at all, but they’re almost as much fun to water as
rhubarb, with funnel-shaped leaves that take every
drop right into the center of the plant.
However, three categories of plants need special at-
tention: newly planted seeds, trees or shrubs planted
this spring, and potted plants. Seedlings will keel over
Sen. Merkley will be guest speaker at
Public Affairs Forum on August 30th
Senator Jeff Merkley will
kick off the fall season of the
Washington County Public Af-
fairs Forum on Monday, August
30, at 11:30 am. Senator
Merkley will be discussing the
major issues facing Congress
over the next year. He will also
highlight his ideas for a com-
prehensive energy policy that
will put Oregonians back to
work and end our nation’s de-
pendence on foreign oil.
The lunches are open to the
public. The PAF meets from
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the
Old Spaghetti Factory, 18925
NW Tanasbourne Drive, across
from the Evergreen movie the-
aters in Tanasbourne. Lunch is
$13; $8 for soup and salad
only; $4 for iced tea or coffee
only ($2 extra for non-mem-
bers). Seating is limited to 110
people. To reserve a seat,
email 2nd VP Phil Nelson at
es.com or call him at 503-533-
Founded in 1956, the Public
Affairs Forum provides a com-
mon meeting place for the in-
terchange of ideas and to stim-
ulate thinking on civic matters.
Each week the Forum brings
together community leaders,
members and guests who care
about what happens in Wash-
ington County, the metro region
and the state of Oregon.
Speakers from government,
business, science, the arts and
education address the Forum.
Members have the opportunity
to question speakers – which
sometimes is the most interest-
ing part of the program.
and die if their roots are not damp. This means that the
top inch of ground MUST be watered at least every
day, this is often easier to manage in small pots, but if
you want a big crop of carrots or late peas or spinach,
you may be better off to pay special attention to the
seed bed. You also have to be vigilant about weeds,
because they will grow faster than anything you plant,
and they think the water is for them. Get out those scis-
sors. A warning about carrots (also parsley and
parsnips) – these crops are very slow to emerge, will
not emerge through a hard surface (cover seed lightly
with planting soil or something else that won’t bake
solid). A marking row of radishes, which will emerge
and grow like gangbusters, set about a half-inch from
these slow growers will tell you where they are sup-
posed to be.
Trees and shrubs planted this spring have not had
the opportunity to develop a good root system. They
require deep watering at least once a week. There are
commercial products available, but setting the hose or
sprinkler on a very low setting and just letting it run for
and hour or two will work. How often you need to do
this depends on the weather. There is still a surprising
amount of water left in the deep soil so even a single
really deep irrigation can allow a plant to connect with
this deeper level of water and survive.
Potted plants require water every day and some-
times twice a day. This is waterwand time! Pots above
the ground are getting heat through the pot, particular-
ly if it is black, and can look real bad real fast. The dirt
in these pots often pulls away from the sides as it
dries, so water just runs down the sides of the pot, not
doing the plant any good. This is the one time that you
can, and should put a good tray underneath these
plants and water until the tray is full and then some
more. If the extra water from the tray is used through-
out the day and it’s ready for more water by afternoon
you know you’ve hit a good strategy. Watch out for
pots without drainage – these will just fill up and your
plants will rot and be gone as usual.
Please see page 21
V ERNONIA F OURSQUARE C HURCH
S T . M ARY ' S C ATHOLIC C HURCH
P IONEER B APTIST F ELLOWSHIP
Carl Pense, Pastor
850 Madison Avenue, Vernonia
Sunday Worship Service: 10:30 a.m.
Children’s Sunday School
Rev. Luan Tran, Administrator
960 Missouri Avenue, Vernonia
Mass Sunday 12:00 Noon
Religious Educ. Sunday 10:30 a.m.
John Cahill, Pastor
939 Bridge Street, Vernonia
Sunday School 9:45 a.m.
Sunday Morning Worship 11:00 a.m.
Wednesday Prayer 7:00 p.m.
S EVENTH D AY A DVENTIST
V ERNONIA C OMMUNITY C HURCH
Larry Gibson, Pastor
2nd Ave. and Nehalem St., Vernonia
Morning Worship, 11:00 a.m.
Sabbath School 9:30 a.m.
957 State Avenue, Vernonia
Sunday Worship 9:45 a.m.
Children’s Church (Blast!) 10:15 a.m.
Nursery 10:15 a.m.
High School Youth 6:00 p.m.
Wednesday Prayer 6:00 p.m.
Preschool: Open House soon
A SSEMBLY OF G OD
Wayne and Maureene Marr
662 Jefferson Ave., Vernonia,
Sunday School 9:45 a.m.
Morning Worship 11:00 a.m
F IRST B APTIST C HURCH
359 “A” Street, Vernonia
Sunday School 9:45 a.m.
Sunday Worship Service 11:00 a.m.
Wednesday Prayer Meeting 7:00 p.m.
V ERNONIA C HRISTIAN C HURCH
Sam Hough, Minister
410 North Street, Vernonia
Sunday School 9:45 a.m.
Sunday Worship 11:00 a.m.
(meets in Youth & Family Center)
Home Group Meeting throughout
the week at various locations
N EHALEM V ALLEY B IBLE C HURCH
Gary Taylor, Pastor
Grant & North Streets, Vernonia
Sunday School 10:00 a.m.
Morning Worship 11:00 a.m.
Wednesday Service 7:00 p.m.
C HURCH OF J ESUS C HRIST
OF L ATTER D AY S AINTS
Marc Farmer, Branch President
1350 E. Knott Street, Vernonia
Sacrament Meeting, Sunday 10 a.m.
Sunday School & Primary 11:20 a.m.
Relief Society, Priesthood and
Young Women, Sunday 12:10 p.m.