Column: What it is advisable learn about winter gardening | Group

Column: What you need to know about winter gardening | Community

contact resource

  • Oregon State University Extension Service – Columbia County
  • 505 N. Columbia River Highway
  • St Helens, OR 97051
  • 503-397-3462 541
  • 541-574-6534 OSU Lincoln County Extension Service

Here are December gardening thoughts

• Peach leaf curl finds its way into the buds of your peach tree this month and January. Prevent the problem by spraying fully and often with sulphur-lime (harder to find today) or copper. Four separate sprays are ideal. When spraying, temperatures should be well above freezing. Two to three hours drying time is ideal. With copper fungicides, use a scatter sticker if the label calls for one. While you’re at it, spritz your apples, cherries, blueberries, and boysen/marionberries. Both sprays are considered “organic”.

• Although there are conflicting opinions on the subject, many gardeners feel that fertilizing rhododendrons and evergreens with a slow-release nitrogen and sulfur product such as B. your “long-lasting” lawn fertilizer, is an advantage. Plant about one pound per 100 square feet of garden bed. By spring you will be rewarded with a deeper green foliage color. You could use some of the organic nitrogen sources that tend to be released slowly by nature.

• While you’re out with the fertilizer, consider applying it to your lawn if you haven’t already applied it in late fall.

• Although there are not many plants that bloom in winter, those that do are greatly appreciated. You could search nurseries for their Hellebore, Hamamelis, and Sarcococca varieties.

• Shrubs and other plants under eaves can dry out in winter. When that happens, they can either spoil directly from lack of moisture or be more susceptible to cold weather damage.

• Give your houseplants regular lukewarm showers throughout the winter. Your plants will really appreciate a holiday under fluorescent lights during those dark winter days.

• Protect potted plants outdoors. Containers do not provide plants with the root protection that regular garden planting provides. Temperatures in the low 20’s can damage the roots of plants that would have done well in the ground. If low temperatures are forecast, group containers close together and wrap pots in old blankets or insulation. Placing the plants under an eaves next to the house can also provide some protection.

• Cut roses to about 18 inches high to avoid being knocked over by wind or snow.

• Fall/Winter weeds have disappeared. While small, annual winter weeds can be hand-pulled, chopped, spot-sprayed, or mulched on dry days. Mulching can be effective for some species, but others will grow through the mulch. Mulch slows the germination of new seeds.

Giant pumpkins have become an obsession for a select group of gardeners. These fanatics hold an annual fair in various locations across North America and Europe to brag about rights as well as significant cash. The Pacific Northwest proving ground has been at Bauman’s Farm near Gervais for the past several years.

A few years ago I was asked to inspect the pumpkins to make sure they were not diseased in any way. If so, the pumpkin was disqualified. That’s not easy when you’re dealing with pumpkins that (back then) weighed over 1,000 pounds. The regional winner that day came from Tenino, Washington. His entry weighed in at 897.5 pounds. The North American winner was Bill Greer of Picton, Ontario, Canada, who spoiled his pumpkin at 1,006 pounds. In fact, the top three finishers were all from Ontario. The speculation has been that the long summer days of this northern latitude combined with the continental heat will give this region an edge over the competition. The Canadians, of course, praised their skill and their beer, not necessarily in that order.

Well times, genetics and techniques have really changed. This year’s giant pumpkin, a world record, came in at 2,656 pounds! She was grown by Ian and Stuart Paton of Lymington, England. A United States breeder from Minnesota had monster number two, weighing in at a by no means paltry 2,560#. The largest Pacific Northwest pumpkin came from Pleasant Hill near Eugene and weighed 2,425 pounds, which was the 8th largest in the 2022 Giant Pumpkin universe.

These insane breeders are quite generous and share most of their techniques and seed sources. They are very talented and experienced in plants. In the end, after the prizes are awarded, most of the pumpkins in NW Oregon go to the zoo, where the elephants look forward to this festival every year. Some of the smaller ones are carved into round boats and used in a race on the Tualatin River.

If you have questions on any of these topics or any other home garden and/or farm questions, please contact Chip Bubl, Oregon State University Extension Office in St. Helens at 503-397-3462 or at chip.bubl@oregonstate. edu. The office is staffed Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Oregon State University Extension Office in Columbia County publishes a monthly newsletter on gardening and farming issues (called County Living) written/edited by you. All you have to do is ask for it and it will be mailed or emailed to you. Call 503-397-3462 to be added to the list. Alternatively, find it online at and click on Newsletters.

Oregon State University Extension Service – Columbia County

505 N. Columbia River Highway St. Helens, OR 97051

541-574-6534 OSU Lincoln County Extension Service