Signs of spring appearing on store shelves

February 01, 2012 04:17 pm

Local retailers are beginning to gear up for the not-too-distant gardening season and it is refreshing to see the shelves being transformed from winter goods to spring themes. This time can also bring a dizzying display of choices leaving one to wonder if one product is really better than another.  One local retailer is, once again, offering what I believe to be a superior choice for seeds.

D&B supply, while carrying several different selections for garden seeds, has the local display for Ed Hume seeds ( In the past several years, I have held mini-trials of flowering and vegetable seed types in my gardens, both the one with awesome soil in Alicel, and the one here on the rock pile in south La Grande. Germination rates for Hume seeds far exceeded other top brands, and the seed packets were more generously filled, giving me overall more plants. I also trialed seeds I’ve never grown before after assuming they would be too difficult for our less-than-perfect weather. They not only sprouted in record time but thrived. Hume seed prices are competitive with other brands and D&B has a full range of varieties. In the upcoming months, I’ll also highlight all other local nurseries and vendors here in the Grande Ronde valley as I’ve done for the past several years.

If you have fruit trees and have not sprayed them, now is the perfect time to accomplish this before bud break. Check with our local Oregon State Extension service, on north McAllister/Hunter lane in Island City, or go online to for a wonderful amount of information on all gardening avenues, including when and what to spray. Many types of organic compounds are available that are highly effective.  Just remember to use standard precautions when spraying, protect yourself by wearing a long-sleeved shirt, a mask and safety goggles. Even if you are spraying organic compounds, they aren’t meant to be taken into our lungs or eyes! Also remember to spray only in the early morning hours and when there is no wind. Yes, there will be days of no wind, but early morning is usually best for less wind as well.

The “Reader’s Digest Garden Problem Solver” recommends growing dill and sunflowers to attract the delicate-looking insect called lacewing to our gardens. Lacewing larvae are also called aphid wolves as they can willingly consume large amounts of the pesky insect. They also eat mealy bugs and scale, both of which can be a problem in our area. Please refrain from growing sunflower plants that do not have pollen, normally clearly labeled as such, while the nursery industry tries to push pollen-free plants for bouquets. Once the industry realizes we prefer honey bees and other beneficial pollinators over the lack of natural pollen, perhaps they will understand that our desire for enhancing all things living is more important that eliminating a slight dusting on the table top. One can only hope.

Until next time, enjoy perusing the aisles of seeds and seed-starting supplies. I know I have.


Jennie can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it