Monday, February 18, 2019

New to Colorado? Five Gardening Tips for Success

Photo courtesy Colorado Dept. of Tourism

Welcome to Colorado! Regardless where you came from, you are likely to find gardening in Colorado different than it was in your home state - both rewarding and challenging. It's not too early to start thinking about your Colorado landscape. Following are five tips to help you get started on the right foot. 

Friday, February 15, 2019

Check Soil Temperature Before Planting Vegetable Seeds

Photo courtesy vegetable

More important than moon signs and more predictable than weather is another variable which drastically affects how seeds and transplants grow - soil temperature. Soil temperature is a factor which few of us consider important enough to check before planting yet it is probably the most important factor affecting seed germination, stand establishment and seedling growth. The following guidelines are provided by Dr. Jerry Parsons, Extension Horticulturist at Texas Agricultural Extension Service.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Happy Valentine's Day! by Carol King

Photo courtesy
Legends and lore abound on why we celebrate Valentine’s day by giving flowers to our loved ones.  Here’s one of my favorites. This one involves the lore of forbidden love and has been favored over other stories by hopeless romantics.

Emperor Claudius II issued an edict forbidding marriage because he felt that married men did not make good, loyal soldiers to fight in his army. They were weak because of the attachment to their wives and family. St. Valentine was a priest who defied Claudius and married couples secretly because he believed so deeply in love. Valentine was found out, put in prison, and later executed.

The law of irony then came into play, as St. Valentine fell in love with the daughter of the Emperor. Prior to his beheading, St. Valentine handed the lady a written note and a single red rose - the very first valentine and the very first fresh flower.  From this, the gifting of flowers for Valentine's day began.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Gardening Trends for 2019

Photo by Donna Duffy

February is a good time to start thinking seriously about your landscape and gardening wishes for the coming season.  Every year, top gardening trends are listed from a number of sources. Following are five that might be interesting for Jefferson County gardeners. Check out the linked resources for more information and ideas.

Friday, February 8, 2019

How to Make a Cold Frame for Early Seed Start by Carol King

A cold frame is a simple structure that uses the sun's energy and insulation to create a microclimate within your garden. You can harvest and eat a salad in March! Cold frames allow starting plants as much as six weeks before planting-out time.

S.E. Newman, Colorado State University Extension greenhouse crop specialist has this to say:

Cold Frames
For an early start, sow seed in a cold frame and transplant it into the garden later. Seed may be started as much as six weeks earlier than outdoors. Locate the cold frame on the south side of a garage or dwelling. If built with a tight-fitting lid, the cold frame will hold sufficient heat from the sun to keep seed and seedlings warm at night. On warm, sunny days (50F or warmer), prop the lid open to prevent buildup of excessive heat. Close the lid in the late afternoon to trap enough heat for cold evenings.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Pruning the Trees in Your Landscape by Peter Drake

Photo courtesy
Accustomed, as we are, to regard trees as an integral part of our home landscape, we would do well to remember that the trees we commonly enjoy usually need our help to continue their life here.

Beyond the willows and cottonwoods that have found homes along the rivers, streams and irrigation ditches, our Colorado Front Range foothills region is not generally hospitable to the varieties of shade and ornamental trees we’ve come to enjoy so much.  This broader climate zone still wants to be what it was before Euro-American colonization and settlement: a high plains desert, covered with durable grasses and low shrubs, and intensely vulnerable to climatic extremes which can split bark and easily kill top-growth, both new and old.

Saturday, February 2, 2019

What is a Heirloom Plant?

Heirloom tomatoes, photo courtesy

The following information was excerpted from What are Heirlooms, University of Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County, Sarah Browning, UNL Extension Educator.

Most gardeners are aware of the increasing interest heirloom vegetables have received in recent years. Just visit your local farmer's market in the summer and you're likely to find a wide variety of heirloom vegetables available with many unique shapes and colorations. But exactly what are heirloom plants?

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

The Impact of Wind Chill on Plants

Photo by Donna Duffy
Excerpted from Wind Chill Doesn’t Really Matter to a Plant, Mark Longstroth, Michigan State University Extension

In a typical Colorado winter, it isn’t uncommon to experience several days with wind chill between -10 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit. But what exactly is wind chill? Wind chill measures a combination of wind speed and temperature. In calm conditions, there is a fine layer of air called the boundary layer that insulates us from the cold. As the wind blows, it blows away this boundary layer and the cold wind can carry away heat from our bodies faster because there is no air insulating us. The faster the wind blows the more heat it can carry away. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

What to do with a Tree Stump?

Several years ago, I had a huge elm tree removed from a corner of my yard. I was left with a tree stump about 2 feet tall, sprouting like crazy. I wasn't sure what to do with this stump, so I turned to CSU Extension for information. 

Saturday, January 26, 2019

January Word of the Month: Winter Quiescence

Photo courtesy Donna Duffy
Have you ever wondered what's going on with your tree roots underneath all that winter snow? Michael Snyder, Chittenden (Vermont) County Forester, explains the concept of winter quiescence - a state in which tree roots are resting, but ready.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Does Your Landscape Have Winter Interest?

Red hips on Rosa glauca (Redleaf Rose)

It's pretty easy to have an interesting garden from May through October while flowers, trees and shrubs are growing and colorful. Winter? That's a different challenge. If your winter interest consists of some outdoor lighting and evergreens, you can do better! The American Society of Landscape Architects offers these suggestions to add interest to your winter garden.

Sunday, January 20, 2019

How Honeybees Survive Winter by Audrey Stokes

Photo courtesy
When winter rolls around, bears hibernate and birds fly south, but what about the bees? Like every other creature on earth, bees have their own unique ways of coping with cold temperatures during the winter season. One way bees prepare for the winter is by gathering a winter reserve of honey.