gardening

Mason beeBy Kym Pokorny

For mason bees, the wait for their first meal is a long one, six months if it’s a day.

There’s no TV, no smart phone, not even a book to while away the time as these solitary bees hang out in their tight cocoons waiting for the cool temperatures of early spring to break them out of lethargy, to convene at the floral banquet waiting for them among the branches of fruit trees.

And because honeybees and other pollinators haven’t made an appearance yet, there’s more sweetness for the native mason bees.

OnionsBy Kym Pokorny

Get onions in the ground in spring and avoid heartbreak when it comes time to harvest big, beautiful bulbs this summer.

Plant as soon as the soil is dry enough to work, said Jim Myers, a plant breeder at Oregon State University. March and April are prime times.

Most onions grown in Oregon are long-day onions. They make top, green growth until a critical day length is reached, which triggers bulbing. That generally begins at about 14 hours of light per day.

If you plant onions in early spring, they’ll grow to fairly large plants by the time daylight reaches 14 hours. Large bulbs result. However, if you wait to plant until the end of April when days are already 14 hours long, bulbing will begin immediately and you’ll have small pearl onions.

Stink bugBy Kym Pokorny

When leaves fall and days get shorter, stink bugs go on the move looking for a warm, dry place for winter. Often that means sharing our homes with these prehistoric-looking insects, whether we know it or not.
This year, it’s difficult not to know. Many homeowners have been inundated as the population of brown marmorated stink bugs (Halyomorpha halys) keeps increasing.

Sweet peasBy Tiffany Woods

As fall approaches, consider letting some of your annuals go to seed. If the winter isn't too harsh, they may pop up next spring.

Annual plants are inherently programmed to set seed and die in one year. During the summer, you can keep them blooming and postpone seed development by deadheading and fertilizing them, said Brooke Edmunds, a horticulturist with Oregon State University's Extension Service.

DeadheadingBy Tiffany Woods
Deadheading is a gardening chore that many people find pleasant – by pinching off fading flowers, you can beautify your landscape and keep some plants blooming longer. But is it necessary?

HoneybeeBy Denise Ruttan
Consider adding some flower power to your landscape to bring in the buzz of pollinators to your garden.  
"Floral abundance is one of the strongest ways to promote bee diversity in gardens," said Gail Langellotto, the statewide coordinator for the Oregon State University Extension Service's Master Gardener program.

Mummy berriesBy Denise Ruttan
Watch your blueberries this spring for a type of fungus that has zombie-like qualities.
A fungus called Monilina vaccinii-corymbosi can infect blueberry fruit with a disease called mummy berry. Fruit falls on the ground and withers into shriveled-up berries that seem deceased.

Measuring thatchBy Denise Ruttan
Photo by Alec Kowalewski
Thatch is a common problem in Kentucky bluegrass and creeping bentgrass lawns.

May is an optimum time to aerate and dethatch your lawn.
If your lawn is made up of perennial ryegrass or tall fescue, you likely don't have to worry about thatch, said Alec Kowalewski, a turfgrass expert for the Oregon State University Extension Service.

By Tiffany Woods
CabbagesPhoto by Lynn Ketchum
Too much water can cause cabbage heads to crack.

Are the vegetables in your garden so freakishly crooked that they need a chiropractor? Or maybe they're so immature that they would make a teenager look like a centenarian?

Ross PenhallegonRoss Penhallegon will share his over 40 years of gardening experience and expertise at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Blue River on Saturday, May 4th, at 10 a.m. Everyone is welcome to attend this free event.

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McKenzie River Reflections is the weekly newspaper serving Oregon's McKenzie River Valley. Available by mail for $23/yr in Lane County, $29/yr outside Lane. Digital subscriptions are $23/yr. Subscribe at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/subscriptions-0. Purchase copies online at: http://mckenzieriverreflectionsnewspaper.com/catalog/back-issues-0. Read about area communities including Cedar Flat, Walterville, Camp Creek, Leaburg, Vida, Nimrod, Finn Rock, Blue River, Rainbow and McKenzie Bridge.