Lots of upcoming events:
Native Plant Sale in Scappoose. The Scappoose Bay Watershed Council is holding a native plant sale on Saturday, October 12 from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. at their greenhouse behind Scappoose High School (watch for signs). There is always a great selection of plants and nice prices. Proceeds benefit local restoration efforts.
Big-Leaf Maple Syrup class in St. Helens
There will be a maple syrup-making class on Saturday, October 12. The doors will open at 9 a.m. and the class will start at 9:30 at the Extension office in St. Helens. The class will be led by Joe McGilvra, who has been tapping big leaf maples for their sap for several years. He has a lot to share. The class is free and open to all. Please call 503 397-3462 to register.
All about fruit show in Canby
This is the premier show about fruit growing and tasting. The show will be Saturday, October 19 and Sunday, October 20 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. both days at the Clackamas County Fair-grounds in Canby. Admission charge is $7. It is put on by the Home Orchard Society, a collective effort by people who love to grow fruit. There are lots of classes and demonstrations. Go to their website for more information. http://www. homeorchardsociety.org/
Oregon Mycological Society Fall Mushroom Show in Portland
At the annual fall mushroom show on Sunday, October 27, from noon-5pm you can view beautifully displayed specimens from around the region and talk to mushroom ex-perts. There will be vendors, books for sale, mushroom cooking samples, great speakers, and much more. It is at the World Forestry Center across the parking lot from the Oregon Zoo. Admission, $5 adults, $3 seniors/students. For more information go to https:// www.wildmushrooms.org/
Volunteer work party at Nob Hill Nature Park in St. Helens
Help restore trails and plantings at Nob Hill Nature Park in St Helens, OR. The Scap-poose Bay Watershed Council and Friends of Nob Hill Nature Park invite you to join the semi-annual volunteer work party on Saturday, November 2, from 1 to 4 p.m.. Nob Hill Nature Park is a 6.6-acre oak woodland overlooking the Columbia River. The Friends of NHNP have been doing restoration there since 2004. Dress for the weather, including rain gear if needed. Gloves, tools, water and snacks are provided. This work party takes place rain or shine. Meet at the city’s wastewater treatment plant, 451 Plymouth Street, in St. Helens. All are welcome. Pre-registration is requested by Friday, November 1 by calling Scappoose Bay Watershed Council at 503-397- 7904. Or e-mail to info@scappoosebay-wc. org
Compost, plants, and tough sites
This is a good time to transplant landscape trees and shrubs. Construction activity rarely leaves soils in good shape. At worst, most of the topsoil may have been removed. At best, there is major soil compaction. What are the best ways to improve degraded soils for your garden and landscape?
The answer (and no surprise for many gardeners) is compost. Compost improves water infiltration, loosens soils, stimulates biological activity, and adds nutrients. But what some interesting research done at OSU’s North Willamette Research and Extension Center in Aurora revealed is that it didn’t really matter whether the compost was tilled into the soil or applied to the surface with new plants installed through the compost. The amount was important. Two inches of compost applied over 150 square feet was the best amount. That is equal to one cubic foot for that area. After planting, all plots (tilled in compost, tilled without compost, no-till surface compost, and plain without compost or tilling) were mulched with three inches of fine Douglas fir bark.
The research group tried both standard landscape plants and some drought tolerant ones. Since the planting area was not watered after the fall planting or the following years, the drought tolerant materials fared much better. Ceanothus gloriosus and Rosemary “Blue Spires” were very strong performers. For more information, see Improving Garden Soils with Organic Matter EC 1561 from OSU Extension publications: https://catalog. extension.oregonstate.edu/ ec1561
There is still time to control blackberries. Mowing is an option, but the clumps will return with a vengeance. That said, persistent mowing (8+ times a year), can wear blackberries out. The most common herbicides used to control blackberries are the glyphosate-based products like Roundup™ and triclopyr-mixes like Crossbow™ or Brush-B-Gone. Good leaf coverage is essential. You need at least six hours of dry weather after spraying to en-sure absorption. This time of year, the blackberry leaves might not show any sign of damage but when spring returns, the canes won’t leaf out. You will have a lot of dried up, stickery canes to remove but that should be a pleasure. There may be some weak re-growth. Mow several times and you will eliminate it from the area. Follow all label instructions and restrictions. Don’t spray in the wind.
Take extra produce to the Food Bank this year.
The Oregon State University Extension office in Columbia County publishes a monthly newsletter on gardening and farming topics (called County Living) written/edited by yours truly. All you need to do is ask for it and it will be mailed or emailed to you. Call 503 397-3462 to be put on the list. Alternatively, you can find it on the web at http://extension.oregonstate. edu/columbia/ and click on newsletters.
Many Extension publications available online
Are you putting up salsa, saving seeds, or thinking about planting grapes? OSU has a large number of its publications available for free download. Just go to https://catalog.extension. oregonstate.edu/. Click on publications and start exploring.
The Extension Service offers its programs and materials equally to all people.