Monday, October 16, 2017

Go Hug a Tree by Carrie Garczynski

Photo by Carrie Garczynski

Trees around Colorado are abundant, and we love them! We love them for their beauty, their shade, and their ability hold that wooden swing with the long rope handles that we adore in the summer. Trees are necessary for life, and not just ours. Animals rely on trees for food, shelter from predators, and as a jungle gym; the soil depends on them to reduce erosion, hold it in place and to pass nutrients; plants use trees as a food source, shade from the sun, protection from the wind, and a trellis to climb upon. And this is just to name a few benefits.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Fall is the Time to Manage Dandelions by Rebecca Anderson

 
Everyone recognizes a dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) by its bright yellow flower that transitions to a white puff ball in a matter of days. Most homeowners consider the dandelion an enemy of the perfect lawn.   A single plant can produce 15,000 seeds and those seeds can travel 100 miles with the proper gust of wind.  The plant is a perennial, meaning it will come back year after year once it is established.  This can make controlling dandelions a difficult task.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Become a Colorado Master Gardener in Jefferson County Colorado by Bruce Ide

Colorado Master Gardeners at Farmers' Market
Colorado State University and Jefferson County CSU Extension will be offering Colorado Master Gardener and Colorado Gardener Certificate classes starting January 2018.
If you have an interest in increasing your gardening knowledge and in helping your friends and neighbors become better gardeners and in protecting the environment, one of these programs might be for you.
The Colorado Master Gardener Program is for people who have the interest and time available to provide research based information to the community through volunteer service with the Jefferson County Extension. 
The Colorado Gardener Certificate is for people who want to learn to be better gardeners, protect the environment and share information with their friends and neighbors without the volunteer requirement of the Colorado Master Gardenersm  program.
Jefferson County CSU Extension is taking applications for the Colorado Master Gardenersm or Colorado Gardener Certificate programs.  More information and applications can be found at: http://jeffco.extension.colostate.edu/horticulture/
Deadline for applying to the Colorado Master Gardener program is Gardener Applications October 27, 2017. Deadline for Garden Certificates is December 8, 2017.  For additional information please call 303-271-6620.


Spiders in the House by Donna Duffy

Photo courtesy notyourhomepage.com
You’ve probably noticed an increase in spiders in the house. I know I have – I’m greeted most mornings by a spider trapped on the shower floor or in the sink. Spiders start wandering indoors in the early fall when cooler outdoor temperatures force them to find shelter. Before you panic, remember that most Colorado spiders are harmless.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Five Tips for Fall Lawn Care by Donna Duffy


Autumn is definitely in the air and you know what that means – winter is just around the corner. Here are five actions you can take to get your lawn in top shape for spring.

Monday, October 2, 2017

When Frost Threatens – Take Action by Patti O'Neal

Frost can signal that the end of the gardening season is near – but not necessarily over.
I have a good friend who recently said “I am sick of the garden – I just want it to be over.”  If this is you, then when frost threatens, by all means do a final harvest of the tenders and call it done.  If it’s not you, there are many measures you can take to protect your crops from a killing frost incident, as more times than not, such an incident is followed here by an Indian Summer and at least another month of flower and vegetable enjoyment and harvest.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Harvesting and Storing Vegetables by Donna Duffy


The seasons are certainly changing in Jefferson County, Colorado. It's time to harvest the  vegetables still growing in your garden.  Following are several tips to prolong your harvest of root crops, squash, pumpkins, cabbage, celery, kale and collard greens.

Harvesting
  • Root Crops can remain where they are grown until there is a danger of soil freezing. Postpone harvesting by hilling the soil over the shoulders of carrots and beets to protect from freezing. If straw and soil are piled over the row as insulation, harvest may be delayed even longer.
  • Harvest onions soon after the tops fall over. Pull the onions, remove the tops, and cure the onions in mesh bags or crates where they have good air circulation until the necks dry down. When they rustle upon handling, they are ready to move to a cool, dry storage area.
  • Do not harvest winter squash and pumpkins until the vines are frost-killed and the skin is hard to the thumbnail. Leave stems on the fruit to protect against disease invasion.
  • Celery and late cabbage may be harvested after the frost has stopped their growth. Pull celery with its roots attached. Cut cabbage and remove the loose outer leaves.
  • Kale and collards can be left in the garden long after the first fall frost. Harvest as needed until the foliage finally succumbs to cold weather.

Monday, September 25, 2017

Fall Vegetable Garden Cleanup by Audrey Stokes

Photo by Audrey Stokes
You and your fall garden benefit when you give your plants the same TLC in fall as you do in spring and summer. A vegetable garden left unattended through winter provides a cover for pests and disease. 
Plant disease agents such as bacteria, fungi and viruses all remain alive, though dormant, during the winter months. By recognizing the places where these organisms hide, gardeners can often destroy them and prevent disease outbreaks the following spring. Many fungi spend the winter on or in old leaves, fruit and other garden refuse. These fungi often form spores or other reproductive structures that remain alive even after the host plant has died. Cucumber and squash vines, cabbages, and the dried remains of tomato and bean plants are all likely to harbor fungi if left in the garden over the winter.
Insects, too, survive quite nicely over the winter months. Cucumber beetle, Colorado potato beetle and Mexican bean beetle all overwinter as adults. In spring they migrate to young plants where they feed and lay eggs for a new generation. Insects and plant pathogens survive on weeds as well as on garden plants. Many weeds serve as alternate hosts for insects and fungi, helping them to complete their life cycle. Destruction of these weeds removes a source of future troubles.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Planting and Growing Fall Bulbs by Carol King

owtdoor.com
The gardening season is winding down but remember how beautiful those tulips and daffodils were in April and May? Fall bulb planting is an easy way to jump-start the spring gardening season. September and October are the best months for planting those spring blooming bulbs. Planting now will allow ample time for the bulbs to become well rooted before the ground freezes.

Here are a few simple tips for successful bulb planting:
  • Plant the bulbs at a depth consistent with the level indicated on the planting chart. As a general rule, this depth is four times the height of the bulb between the soil surface and the tip of the bulb. 
  • Plant the bulbs with the growing tip up.
  • After the ground freezes, cover the bed with a 3-inch mulch to prevent alternate freezing and thawing that breaks roots and damages bulbs
  • Purchase bulbs in early for best selection and variety. Choose bulbs that are large and free from disease or decay. To ensure higher quality, pick out bulbs individually.
  • Select a variety of bulbs that will provide a long-lasting show in spring. Many suppliers will indicate the bloom time (early, mid or late) and mature height. Choose bulbs of varying heights for each bloom time to prolong color and add interest to the spring garden.
Planting now will ensure your  spring garden is beautiful!  Here is further information:

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Why Leaves Change Colors and the Autumnal Equinox by Carol King

Photo by Carol King
The Autumnal Equinox in Denver is Friday, September 22, 2017 at 2:02 p.m. MDT.  So just what is the equinox? There are two equinoxes every year (September and March) when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal. It occurs the moment the Sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from north to south. This happens either on September 22, 23, or 24 every year. 

Days are becoming “shorter”and the leaves are  “changing colors”.    According to Plantalk Colorado in actuality, leaves don’t change color, they just quit producing chlorophyll, the substance that makes them green.

This happens for a variety of reasons: shorter days, falling temperatures, available water.  These are all signals to the plant to go into energy saving mode and quit producing chlorophyll:  Winter is coming!

When chlorophyll breaks down, what’s left is the color that was already there:  Yellow/ carotenoids, and red /anthocyanin. These pigments are masked by chlorophyll but help protect the leaves from sunlight. After the equinox shorter and shorter days become the norm. The chlorophyll will totally disappear leaving us with beautiful colors for a short while and then dead leaves to deal with!

As you watch the leaves slowly change color and fall from the trees, you know the equinox is partly to blame.

Happy Autumnal Equinox and Happy Leaf Peeping!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

A Visit from the Painted Ladies By Joyce D’Agostino

Photo by Joyce D'Agostino
Recently I noticed a large group of colorful butterflies on my fall aster plants. These butterflies are Vanessa cardui more commonly known as the Painted Ladies.
Due to favorable spring conditions in California, which helped these butterflies find the right host plants to lay their eggs, and then favorable weather and host plant conditions during the summer to aid in their nutrition, these colorful insects are numerous this year.  

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Browning Evergreen Needles Normal by Mary Small

Photo by Carol King
Are your evergreens showing some browning and losing needles? Never fear! This is normal evergreen behavior.  It is not unusual for conifers to shed interior needles beginning in late summer and continuing well into fall.   In fact, all conifers (“evergreens”) including spruce, pine, fir, juniper and arborvitae lose their oldest needles every year. Contrary to what the name implies, “evergreens” are not really green forever. Their needles generally have a 2–4 year life span, although spruce trees live about 5-7 years. 

While needle loss occurs every year, the process is usually gradual, over a period of several weeks or even months, depending on species and weather. It’s so gradual, that you might not even notice the needle drop. Some species can shed needles in a fairly short period of time, making it look as though they’re in serious trouble. There is no need to treat evergreens for the condition.  

This fall and winter, ensure all evergreens are irrigated monthly in the absence of rain or snowmelt. Apply water so it reaches the absorbing roots.  For established plants, these are located a distance of two to three times the height of the plant away from it. For newly planted trees, apply water to the planting hole and just outside it. Always irrigate when the soil is unfrozen and able to absorb the water.  Studies show that fall-applied water has great benefit.  Roots are still active and can absorb water as long as soil temperatures stay above 40 degrees Fahrenheit.  

For more information about winter evergreen care check here.