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Saturday, December 7, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Gardening: After fall garden chores are wrapped up, check out the SCC poinsettia sale Nov. 14-15

Tyler Beasley, the manager for the greenhouse program at Spokane Community College looks over a new variety, “Tapestry” that will be for sale at next week’s annual poinsettia sale at the college. Funds from the sale support the program’s ability to offer cutting edge opportunities for students who are going into a variety of horticultural fields. (Pat Munts / The Spokesman-Review)
Tyler Beasley, the manager for the greenhouse program at Spokane Community College looks over a new variety, “Tapestry” that will be for sale at next week’s annual poinsettia sale at the college. Funds from the sale support the program’s ability to offer cutting edge opportunities for students who are going into a variety of horticultural fields. (Pat Munts / The Spokesman-Review)

I’m not sure what to say about the weather we’ve been having or what November will turn out to be. I do know the ground is starting to freeze and that means we’d better wrap up any planting we have left to do.

Fall bulbs, garlic and peonies should be planted as soon as possible even if that means breaking up the not-so-thick frozen soil with a pickax. The icy crust isn’t more than an inch deep so it shouldn’t be hard. The deeper soil is still warm enough to stimulate root growth.

If you don’t get the fall bulbs in before the ground really freezes, they can be planted in 8- to 12-inch containers filled with potting soil. Plant them 4 inches deep and an inch apart. Water them well and then set them in your garage until late March. Once they have bloomed and the foliage has faded, plant them out in a garden bed.

If you have stored potatoes, carrots or apples in your garage, be prepared to bring them inside if we get some more of those 18-degree nights. I moved a whole wheelbarrow of potatoes into my basement last week when it got down to 11 degrees at my house three mornings in a row. It was 32 in the garage.

Speaking of vegetables and fruit, the Spokane Edible Tree Project’s gleaning efforts have wrapped up for the year. The group hasn’t announced its final totals, but I do know gleaners picked over 5,500 pounds of apples from the Resurrection Episcopal Church’s orchard.

Another success story in the vegetable donation area was out at the Geiger Corrections Facility’s vegetable garden. I wrote about the men’s efforts to grow vegetables behind the chain link fence in late August. At that time, they were hoping to donate 4,500 pounds to the Union Gospel Mission. I got word this week that they donated 6,100 pounds. That breaks down to 24,400 servings of fresh produce worth approximately $10,675. Job well done, guys.

Thanksgiving is late this year but that doesn’t mean that Spokane Community College’s Greenhouse Program’s annual poinsettia open house and sale is. On Nov. 14 and 15, the sale will offer 22 different varieties including old favorites and some new introductions. In the last few years, poinsettia breeders have been busy creating smaller-sized plants with new uniquely colored bracts that will go with every holiday décor. This year, there will be plants in shades of hot pink, some with variegated leaves and red-golden and green-white bracts with the usual reds, whites and pinks.

The poinsettias are grown and managed by students in the greenhouse program as part of their coursework. The money generated from the poinsettia sale goes back into the program to buy more plants and upgrade equipment. A recent addition was a hydroponic growing system that is allowing the students to learn about cutting-edge technologies. Tyler Beasley, the environmental sciences greenhouse manager already has his shopping list ready so the program can continue to provide the students with solid learning opportunities.

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