Thursday, August 27, 2015

Fall Landscape Cleanup Tips – Chapter I: The Vegetable Garden by Peter Drake

Photo courtesy CSU Extension
Whether you have made a vegetable garden in a raised bed, an in-ground bed, or a container, now is a very good time to plan for how you can clean up your garden, and put it in order for the winter months to better ensure that, come next year’s planting, your garden will possess good health and balanced nutrition.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

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.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

It's Time to Divide Your Bearded Iris by Donna Duffy

Photo by Carol King
Iris are one of the superstars of the spring garden. Keeping them blooming year after year requires some work. Do you have bearded iris that you want to move, or that aren't flowering as well as they did a few years ago? It’s probably time to dig and divide them.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Common Garden Diseases and Solutions by Mary Small

POWDERY MILDEW- White or gray, flour-like substance on leaves, stems, flowers. Thin plant if growth is dense. Keep water out of plant canopy or apply it when it will dry fast. Apply sulfur or potassium bicarbonate or horticultural oils at first sign of mildew.

EARLY BLIGHT(tomato)- Lower leaves yellow; spots of concentric rings found on lower leaves. Keep water off foliage, or apply when it will dry fast. Chlorothalanil fungicide may be applied at first sign of infection.

FIREBLIGHT(crabapple)- Stem tips brown, bend over like shepherd’s crook and shrivel. Drops of bacterial ooze on branches. Prune branch 6-12 inches below visible signs of infection. Treat pruning tool between cuts with 1:9 bleach mixture or rubbing alcohol. (Clean tools when done.) Thin tree branches. Avoid over-fertilization.

CYSTOSPORA CANKER(aspen, cottonwood)-Sunken discolored areas on trunk and/or branches. Dark “pimples” found in cankered area. Branch dieback. Prune out affected branches below visible signs of infection. Keep tree healthy.

LEAF SCORTCH-Leaves brown on edges and in between veins. Often found in hot dry weather. Apply water to plant’s root zone during hot dry weather or when scorch appears.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Transpiration-Vegetables Wilting in the Sun by Joyce D'Agostino

Photo by Carol King

Have you ever hurried home after work, looking forward to some quality gardening time only to find some of your pumpkins and squash look like they have died?
If the wilt is not caused by insects, then chances are what you are observing is called Transpiration. This process is normal and your plants will likely bounce back later to their former healthy appearance once the temperatures cool down. 
Transpiration is the loss of water vapor through the stomata of the leaves. The stomata is the outer layer of the leaf’s outer “skin” layer. 
Plants that often show dramatic transpiration are ones like pumpkins, squash and gourds which may develop very large leaves. Transpiration actually is a very effective process for the plant to move minerals up from the root, to help cool the plant and for the “turgor pressure” which helps non-woody plants have their form and shape. 
Help your plants handle their transpiration efficiently by keeping them well hydrated, watering in the cool time of the morning. Once your hot day cools down, you can recheck your plant and the soil area. Chances are that your plant has sprung back up to its normal shape and will continue on with healthy growth and production. If your area seems especially hot and dry, using some light shade cloth may help protect your plant from sunburn as well.
For more information on transpiration and other related processes, refer to this GardenNotes publication:

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Noises of August by Donna Duffy

Cicada, photo courtesy CSU Extension

You’ve probably noticed that it's a noisy place out in the backyard with all that insect racket going on. Interestingly, only a few groups of insects communicate by rubbing their body parts together. What you are hearing are most likely cicadas, crickets and katydids. As you might suspect, it’s the males making all that commotion!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Aphids on Shade Trees By Joyce D’Agostino

Aphids photo by Joyce D'agostina
This summer I noticed some distinctive leaf curling on one of our shade trees. In checking it confirmed that there were aphids (lots of them) infesting this tree. The leaf curling in one sign of the damage that these insects can do. It is not only unsightly but left unchecked it can do damage to your tree.
Fortunately there are some solutions to reducing or ridding these insects from your plants. Aphids are very small, soft bodied insects. Using your hose on a hard stream, you can target the areas with a strong blast of water. This is very effective and if used regularly will reduce the population of these insects on your trees and plants. Check an area first with the water hose setting to ensure that you don’t damage the plant.  I noticed when I used this method that it did help remove a lot of the aphids from the curled leaves.  
Ladybeetles and Green Lacewings are also great natural predators of aphids. If you see these insects in your garden, moving them to the aphid area is very helpful.  Both of these insects are known to be able to eat a large amount of aphids, so make them a great non chemical use to help with aphid control.
Refer to these bulletins for more information on identifying and controlling the aphids.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Top Ten Reasons Everyone Should Plant a Fall Vegetable Garden – And the Time Is Now! by Patti O'Neal

This year we had a scorching June and many people are just beginning to see production on their tomatoes.  So it may be hard to think about what you will eat in October and November when your tomatoes are gone, but now is the time to think about that.  Colorado is well suited to fall gardening and winter harvest and it can be done successfully almost anywhere.  If you’ve never tried it, here’s 10 reasons why you should.
Winter Hardy Rainbow Swiss Chard

1.  Gardens can be any size – So anybody can do it.
Fall crops are primarily greens and root crops, so they are very well adapted to container gardening, table top raised beds, raised beds of all kinds.  They are also well suited for intensive planting, so you really can get a big bang in a small space.  So even if you start with one container of spinach this year – do it.  You’ll catch the bug and increase it next year.
2.  There are many vegetables that thrive in fall front range gardens and can be planted NOW!
Beets, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, kale and chard can all be planted now.  August is the best time to plant arugula, cabbage, endive, spinach, cilantro and September you can plant bush peas, radishes, Chinese greens, more spinach and lettuce and the list goes on.
Where it gets really interesting is in the varieties of each crop that is possible to try.  My fall garden has no fewer than 5 varieties of spinach, 10 varieties of lettuce and 4 Chinese vegetables, like Pac Choi and Bok Choi  and 3 kales to name a few.  Salads and stir fries are never the same. 
September or October is the time to plant garlic.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Five Things to Know For a Successful Fall Vegetable Garden by Patti O’Neal

Plant Lettuce now for Fall Harvest photo CSU Extension
Front Range weather has been especially challenging to gardeners this season.  After a fairly dry winter, spring presented with cold nights, freak snow storms, scorching heat and pounding rain and hail – and all of a sudden it’s mid July and we have had scorching heat!  But take heart.  One of the nicest growing seasons is yet to come; fall. 

There are many vegetables that will happily germinate from seed in the warm summer soil and thrive in the cooler temperatures of fall once they mature, and even taste better after a cold snap. This includes about 20 varieties of leaf and head lettuce, Swiss chard, radishes, kale, about 6 varieties of spinach, many oriental greens, onions, cilantro, peas, beets, turnips, arugula, carrots, kohlrabi and collards.  Even better news is that thinnings of all of these vegetables can be used in salads or soups.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Blossom End Rot in Tomatoes by Carol King

Photo by Carol King

It seems that all the tomato conversation lately has been about blossom end rot. The Plant Clinic reports that numerous examples have come in concerning it in tomatoes, squash, eggplant, and peppers. The gardening hotline at the Extension Office is buzzing with rot questions. There’s obviously a lot of rot going around.

So what is this nasty sounding ailment? It starts at the end where the blossom was and begins turning tan, then a dry sunken decay sets in. The lesion enlarges, turns to dark brown to black and becomes leathery. Thus the blossom end begins to rot.

It shows up especially in the first fruit of the season and after the fruit is well on its way to development. In severe cases, it may completely cover the lower half of the fruit. Both green and red fruit develop it. It’s not a pest, parasite or disease process but is a physiological problem caused by a low level of calcium in the fruit itself. In other words, dear gardener, IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Summer Rose Care by Donna Duffy

All around town the roses are finally in bloom! It's been a rough year for roses with an early fall freeze and a late spring freeze. Not all roses were able to survive the extreme weather. For those roses that made it, here are some tips to keep them healthy during the heat of summer. An excellent resource is “Growing Roses in Colorado” published by the Denver Rose Society.  There is a wealth of information on their website as well as a calendar of events.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Dividing Perennials by Donna Duffy

If your garden looks like mine, you probably have lots of overgrown perennials. The abundance of rain during the past couple of months has encouraged lots of plant growth. Take a walk around your garden and make note of plants that are ready to be divided.