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Garden Tips

Seize The Moment and Learn From Other Gardeners

GARDEN TIPS – written by
Marianne C. Ophardt
WSU Extension Faculty
for the Tri-City Herald, Kennewick, WA Written April 30, 2015

One of the wonderful characteristics of many home gardeners is that they thirst for more knowledge about plants and gardening.  Many also enjoy sharing what they know with other gardeners.  There are three upcoming opportunities for local gardeners to chat with each other and learn.

Master Gardener Spring Plant Sale May 2: We mentioned last week that the local WSU Extension Master Gardeners will be holding their Spring Plant Sale this Saturday, May 2 at 1600 S. Union in Kennewick in the parking lot of Highlands Grange Park starting at 9:00 a.m. If you are like me, you may not have room for even one more plant, but you might still want to drop by and talk with the Master Gardeners. The plant sale chair, Dave Hammond, knows all about growing veggies, especially potatoes, sweet potatoes, and tomatoes. Hammond and other Master Gardeners will be on hand to answer your gardening questions. Plus, I bet you can find room for just one more plant!

Compost Workshop May 9: A Composting & Waste Reduction Workshop will be held on Saturday, May 9 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon at the Kennewick Branch of the Mid-Columbia Library at 1620 S. Union. The workshop is free and open to the public, but you must pre-register by calling 735-3551. At the end of class, each participant will receive a compost bin and book on composting. There will also be an opportunity to tour the Compost Demonstration Area (behind the library in the Master Gardener Demonstration Garden) with a Master Gardener.

I will be teaching participants how you can turn yard and kitchen waste into valuable organic matter by composting. Finished compost is sometimes referred to as  “black gold” because it helps improve soil texture when mixed with garden soil. Improved soil texture leads to better drainage and aeration in heavy soils. In sandy soils, like I have in my garden, compost increases the retention of water and nutrients. Composting is a great way to divert yard waste away from the solid waste stream, recycle it, and use it to grow healthier, more productive gardens.

Bring your lunch and enjoy it in the garden after the workshop.

Orchid Show May 9 & 10: When it comes to orchids, my thumb is not as green as I would like. I have a windowsill filled with mini-orchids and I have had fairly good luck with them surviving and even blooming, but occasionally one starts to die. Usually my ailing orchids’ problems are related to the roots and re-potting.

Tom Walker, Orchid Society member,  points out that re-potting is needed when a plant outgrows its pot or the potting mix has decomposed and is not providing adequate drainage and air for the roots. I admit that because I fear re-potting my darling orchids incorrectly and because I can not find a suitable orchid potting mix locally, I procrastinate re-potting.

The South Central Washington Orchid Society is holding its annual Orchid Show on Saturday and Sunday, May 9th (11 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and 10th (10 a.m. to 3 p.m.) at the Tri-Tech Skills Center at 5929 W. Metaline in Kennewick. Admission is only $3.00. I am planning to go so I can get some help for my ailing orchids and purchase a good orchid potting mix. Local orchid society members will have beautiful blooming orchids on display and will be giving seminars on orchid care, in addition to several vendors selling orchids and orchid supplies.

So seize the moment and take advantage of one or all three of these opportunities to learn from other gardeners!

Garden Tips, WSU Extension, Benton County, 5600-E West Canal Drive, Kennewick, WA 99336-1387, 509-735-3551, Contact Us

WSU Extension, Franklin County, 1016 North 4th Ave, Pasco, WA 99301-3706, 509-545-3511, Contact Us
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