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Soil Tests: Useful for the Home Gardener?

A soil test is the first step to improving your soil and all you have to invest is $25 and a little time. Fall is a good time to test soil because you then have time to add some soil amendments, like lime and compost, in time to improve the…

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Salmonberry Flower


RUBUS! Have you seen our old friend Rubus? Yes, you bet you have. Two familiar members of the genus Rubus we see locally are salmonberry (Rubus spectabilis) and thimbleberry (Rubus parviflorus), both native to western and northern America with fruit frequently called a bramble fruit (an aggregate of droplets). As…

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Taming a Giant Shrub

How many times have you bought a nice-sized shrub – rhododendron, ninebark, flowering currant, mock orange – and had it grow into a behemoth towering over neighboring plants, blocking sun, or just getting way too big for its allotted space? (The tag on a physocarpus coppertina/ninebark said 8 feet at…

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Rare Plant Guide for your smart phone or tablet

Are you someone who likes native plants? The Washington Natural Heritage Program has developed the Rare Plant Guide for your smart phone or tablet. It is currently available for Apple devices and will soon be available for Android devices. It can be downloaded from the Apple App Store (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/washington-rare-plants/id863267358?mt=8). The…

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Lilac (Syringa vulgaris), an ornamental shrub or tree, prompts memories of a flower, a color, a fragrance, or even an occasion and is nearly an emblematic example of pioneer spirit and practicality, even in the state of Washington. This Balkan Peninsula native, where it grows on rocky hillsides, is among…

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New mobile app to help eradicate invasive species

Have you ever been outside and noticed a new fascinating creature or what once was a small patch of plants explode overnight into an endless vista of a single species? If you have, the Washington Invasive Species Council wants to know about it. The council is excited to announce the…

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May 2014 edition of Seeds for Thought

The May 2014 edition of Seeds for Thought, the newsletter from the Master Gardener Foundation of Washington State, is now available by clicking this link: http://mastergardener.wsu.edu/mgfws/newsletter/

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Check night time temperatures before planting tomatoes.

With the temperature predicted to be in the 80’s several days this week, gardeners are tempted to get an early jump on their tomato crop. But according to research done by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, it’s not a good idea. Renee Shepherd, founder and owner of Renee’s Garden Seeds…

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Check out Plant Sale Photos!

The Master Gardener Foundation of Thurston County is having our annual Plant Sale Saturday, May 17th at Yauger Park/Dirt Works Garden, from 9 am to 4 pm. There will be two demonstrations of yard waste composting at 10 am and at 1 pm, and worm composting classes at 11 am…

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Tom Wagner: Washington Plant Breeder Extraordinaire

Here’s an excellent article from Grow Northwest about Everett, WA plant breeder Tom Wagner. He bred one of my favorite tomatoes, the “Green Zebra.” He’s also a passionate breeder of potatoes and is responsible for varieties like “Skagit Valley Gold”: “Most commercial varieties are not deep-rooted or disease resistant, requiring…

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