Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Gardening Power to the People (Video): Starting Seeds Outdoors by Audrey Stokes

It's time to sow cool season vegetable seeds in your garden, along the Front Range! Colorado Master Gardener Audrey explains early crop seed starting in this short video.  The Garden Notes she refers to can be found here:



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Monday, March 27, 2017

Controlling Mullein in Your Landscape By Joyce D’Agostino

Common Mullein, photo courtesy Common Sense Homesteading
Last year I was surprised to find a plant volunteering in one of my raised beds that had some unusual features, including a tall spire that had small yellow flowers. In addition it had thick and very soft fuzzy leaves. I learned that this plant is the Mullein, Verbascum thapsus. This plant goes by several common names including flannel leaf and can be found in fields, pastures, along roadsides and even in your garden. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

Pre-Emergent Herbicides by Donna Duffy

Dandelion, photo courtesy extension.usu.edu
March is the time of year to consider the application of pre-emergent herbicides. Planttalk Colorado provides the following information and guidance. 

A pre-emergent herbicide does not prevent weed seed germination or kill the seed. Instead, the root system development of a young weed seedling is severely limited by the action of the pre-emergent herbicide, killing it before it “emerges” preventing the weed from establishing. Pre-emergents will not control existing weeds, but will, if applied before germination, control seedlings of annual or perennial weeds.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Planting Pansies and Violas by Carol King

It's not too early to start adding color to your yard.  Plant pansies and violas now. They are hardy little flowers and don't mind a late snow! The video talks about planting in the fall, but the same techniques apply for spring planting.

Sunday, March 19, 2017

The Spring or Vernal Equinox by Carol King

Photo www.almanac.com
The first day of Spring brings joy to every gardener’s heart marking the beginning of the spring season in the Northern Hemisphere. 

It is the unofficial opening of the new gardening season and regardless of the weather, we’re ready! Spring arrives here along the Front Range of Colorado on Monday, March 20, 2017 at 4:29 am MDT .

There are two equinoxes every year –  March and September – when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length night and day are nearly equal.  (These are not to be confused with the soltice which also occurs twice each year in June and December when the sun is at its closest or furtherest point from the equator.)  The March equinox marks the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from south to north. This happens on March 19, 20 or 21 every year.
This  is called an “equinox”, from Latin (aequinoctium), meaning "equal night” and vernal (vernalis), meaning “spring”.  In reality equinoxes don't have exactly 12 hours of daylight, but close enough.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Get Your Soil Test Before You Start Planting by Donna Duffy


Most of us take our soil for granted, and don’t give too much thought about it until it’s time to plant. Even then, it’s easy to dump a bag of compost on the planting site and walk away thinking that we’ve done our soil a big favor. Not so! Soil is a dynamic living substance in which complex biological and chemical reactions take place every day. Taking time to learn about the soil in your yard is one of the best things you can do to maximize the success of your landscaping efforts.

Before planting that new garden, get a soil test! Photo by Donna Duffy

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Photo courtesy dotcomwomen.com

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

History of the Irish Shamrock by Carol King

Photo courtesy CSU
The Irish shamrock (Irish: seamrog) is the most recognized symbol of the Irish. It has been symbolic of many things through the years. It was considered to be a sacred plant to the Druids of Ireland because its leaves formed a triad, and three is a mystical number in Celtic religion as well as many other religions. Supposedly, St. Patrick used it to illustrate the Holy Trinity to help convert Irish peoples to Christianity. 

In Ireland, all shamrocks are considered lucky and are worn and given as gifts on St. Patrick's Day. However, there is some disagreement among the Irish as to the exact plant, but most Irish growers will tell you that Trifolium repens, White Clover, is the plant most commonly known as a shamrock.   What we consider to be a common lawn weed, is a native of Ireland.  In Colorado, this Irish shamrock grows in our lawns, in prairies, pastures and foothills. If you enjoy clover honey, you can thank this lovely little plant.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Choosing the Best Seed for Your Vegetable and Flower Garden by Joyce D’Agostino

Early Tomato "Glacier",  photo courtesy territorialseed.com

By now many of you have been receiving seed and plant catalogues in the mail and the retail stores have racks of seeds beaconing you to bring them home.

Before you make your purchases, here are a few tips to help you choose the best seed for your garden for best results.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Get A Head Start on Yellowjacket Control by Carol King

Yellowjacket photo by Whitney Cranshaw
I noticed wasps are waking up from their winter naps, which made me think of that old meanie, the yellowjacket.  Yellowjackets can be controlled to some extent if we start early, rather than waiting until they are buzzing around our barbecues. The traps will catch the queens before they can find a place to nest.

Whitney Cranshaw, Entomology Professor and Extension Specialist from CSU tells us that the western yellowjacket (V. pensylvanica) is, by far, the most important stinging insect in Colorado. Late in the season, when colonies may include up to 200 individuals, they become serious nuisance pests around outdoor sources of food or garbage. The western yellowjacket is estimated to cause at least 90 percent of the “bee stings” in the state. Yellowjackets (Vespula spp.) are banded yellow or orange and black and are commonly mistaken for honey bees, but they lack the hairy body and are more intensely colored. Yellowjackets typically nest underground using existing hollows. Occasionally nests can be found in dark, enclosed areas of a building, such as crawl spaces or wall voids.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Not So Fast! Gardening Tips for Late Winter by Donna Duffy

Pulsatilla patens (Pasque flower) 

Yes, it does feel a bit like Spring outside. And yes, there are signs of life in your yard and garden. As tempting as it is, don’t go full-force into your gardening mode quite yet. Following are some gardening chores you can start right now, and others that you’ll need to wait to begin.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Create Your Own Apple Tree by Mari Hackbarth

1909 Illustration of a "Colorado Orange" Apple,  USDA

What kind of apple trees do you think Johnny Appleseed planted as he sowed swaths of seeds to establish orchards across the Midwest?  It turns out that every seed he planted grew into a unique apple tree!  Planted apple seeds will not produce a tree or fruit exactly like the original fruit or tree the seed was collected from.  If you grow an apple tree from a Macintosh apple seed, you will have an apple tree, but not a Macintosh apple tree.  Apples are an example of a plant that can only be reproduced exactly by a technique known as “grafting”.  Grafting is the process of joining two plants together.  The upper part of the graft (the scion) becomes the top of the resulting plant, and the lower part provides the root system.