Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Zucchinis Take Over The World by Gardener Janet

(Note: I wrote this article just before the terrible storm that so devastated gardens in central Jeffco. I’m so sorry for those who have lost their gardens for the year. For those of you who missed the devastation, read on. For those who lost your veggies, like all gardeners everywhere, I am happy to share.)

Every year we plant them….every year we give them away by the shopping bag….What to do with all those zucchinis. Belonging to the species Cucurbita pepo, the prolific zucchini is wonderful sautéed in olive oil with onions, tomatoes, oregano and a little parmesan cheese.

While we were away on vacation, my very thoughtful neighbors have been harvesting in our absence and now, magically, there are loaves of zucchini bread in the freezer and still plenty of zucchinis left to enjoy.

So when you are tired of a side of sautéed zucchini on your plate every night, and the freezer is packed with enough zucchini bread (chocolate or otherwise) to last through the winter (and beyond) and the zucchinis are still producing, try zucchini pancakes. Pancakes easily use a large quantity of zucchini in a single recipe and are a great idea for when those zuchs get just a bit on the large size while hiding under a giant leaf.

Zucchini Pancakes

(this is a very adaptable recipe…double it, triple it, halve it depending on how much zucchini you have)

3 cups of grated zucchini (one large…but not gigantic zucchini)
1/2 onion, chopped
2-3 TBSP minced fresh rosemary leaves (adjust depending on your preference)
1 cup flour
½ cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp baking powder
2 eggs
Salt and pepper to taste

I use a food processor to first chop the onion, then change to a grating blade and grate the zucchini.

Mix the flour and baking powder in a separate bowl. Whisk the eggs. Add beaten eggs to the zucchini and onions and rosemary. Then add the flour and baking powder mixture. Stir until well blended. Let stand while heating a pancake griddle (or frying pan). Grease griddle or pan with several teaspoons of olive oil.

Mixture will initially seem quite stiff, but the moisture in the zucchini will then increase while you are waiting for the griddle/pan to heat and the mixture will become more pancake batter like.

Stir again, then spoon out mixture and cook until browned and crisp on both sides.

These are always a big hit at our house, and we typically have extra mouths at the table when they are served!

Press the Comment link at the bottom of this article to leave YOUR favorite zucchini recipe for other bloggers to enjoy!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Garden Tour of Yellow Flowers

I was noticing that my garden is heavily weighted toward yellow flowers. Partly because, I have let the rudbekia bully go wherever it wants; and partly because I let sunflowers pop up wherever the birds drop them. I did some research to see what is the most prevalent color for flowers in the world thinking it might be yellow and discovered that there is no real answer. No one knows or has actually studied the subject. There is speculation that green may actually be the most common flower color. There are many plants, including most trees, that bear flowers mostly green in color.

I did some research about the color thinking that it might give me some insight into my psyche. You know, what kind of person gardens 'yellow'?

Yellow is the easiest color to see; people who are blind to other colors can usually see yellow. Yellow is full of creative and intellectual energy. Yellow symbolizes wisdom. Yellow means joy and happiness. People of high intellect favor yellow. Yellow daffodils are a symbol of unrequited love. Yellow is a bright that is often described as cheery and warm. Yellow can also increase the metabolism.

Yellow is also the most fatiguing to the eye due to the high amount of light that is reflected. Using yellow as a background on paper or computer monitors can lead to eyestrain or vision loss in extreme cases. Yellow can also create feelings of frustration and anger. While it is considered a cheerful color, people are more likely to lose their tempers in yellow rooms and babies tend to cry more in yellow rooms.

Since yellow is the most visible color, it is also the most attention-getting color. Yellow can be used in small amounts to draw notice, such as on traffic sign or advertisements.

So there you have it: I am an attention-getting, jumpy, smart alec who causes babies to cry and neighbors to fight and go blind while my garden can be seen from Google Earth's satellite.

If that's not enough for you about the color yellow, go here

Enjoy my yellow but please don't cry!

Rudbeckia hirta augustifolia

Rudbeckia hirta 'Indian Summer'

Rudbeckia hirta 'Irish Eyes'

Rudbeckia hirta 'Goldilocks'


Helenium autumnale 'sneezeweed'


I still have pansies, sad though they are!


Tomato Blossom


Thursday, July 23, 2009


Dear Gardeners,

We were visited by a terrible thunderstorm on Monday night which hit Arvada, Golden, Lakewood, and Wheat Ridge in Jefferson County Colorado especially hard. The storm devastated the gardens of many Jeffco Colorado Master Gardeners. Here are some of their accounts. As you will read, we are an optimistic bunch; we know life has cycles and while we mourn our losses, we also count our blessings.

Jerry Peterson:
I too was hit by the wind and hail storm. The bad news: my veggie garden was devastated, shredded, and cut to ribbons. My wild flower garden looks like a Humvee ran over it (my wife had just picked a bouquet the day of the storm), my perennials are in need of some major cleanup and cutback.
The good news: both of our cars were safe in the garage, we had no broken windows or other damage to the house.
Although I'm upset about losing most of my plants of various kinds and I feel sorry for all the Master Gardeners who were affected by the storm, I also feel very fortunate when I drive down 38th Avenue in Wheatridge or down 44th Ave. Just this evening we saw a huge tree that had fallen right on a house and completely demolished the second story. Everywhere we look, there are broken windows and downed trees. My rhubarb will grow back, my perennials will, I think, survive, I can plant another veggie garden next year, and look at all the fresh air and exercise I'll get in cleaning up the yard.
Bottom line: What do I have to gripe about?????

Loay Boggess:
We live NE of Jewell and Pierce. Damage here about is not as severe. The open space's trees are all OK, they are mostly venerable cottonwoods. [Don't get me started about what Lakewood's trail project has done to the open space; that's a story for another time]
We heard the warning sirens last night and headed for the basement. As you said, we couldn't see anything because of the hail and the amazing amounts of rain. The roaring sound was weird, tho'it was hard to tell if it was a tornado or the raging flood in the easement behind our yard. Both, no doubt.
I awoke this morning to 6 inch 'icebergs' behind the backyard where the hail had washed up against the retaining wall. I have a badly damaged front yard veggie garden. The eggplants are no longer lush and beautiful, and may not recover, the peppers probably will. The tomatoes took a beating, but the basil (surprise) shows no damage. The back yard veggies faired better, and the tomatoes and squash will be OK. In general our perennials and trees are OK, though there is a lot of compost-able materials left on the ground.
The plants that faired better were sheltered a bit by fences, bushes or trees to the NW, so I am guessing that's where the wind came from. If the hail hadn't been horizontal, they would have been damaged too.
I went to Kaiser on Alameda this morning, and noticed that the damage was much worse west of Wadsworth. Kaiser lost 5 trees along the street, and the men with the tree grinding equipment told me they were broken by the hail. (Yeah, right) A tree on Pierce was hit by lightning and split in half. I saw, near Alameda and Balsam, and tonight, around Jewell and Balsam—trees that were denuded at the tops; old trees twisted, broken off and leafless. Kendrick Lake's xeric garden is mostly shredded to a pulp. Heart sickening. However, the xeric plantings along Jewell east of Wadsworth are not badly damaged.
My daughter called to tell us that she had gotten an automated call from a local TV station weather reporter who said that there was tornado around, so she and others in her apartment house went to the basement. She lives at Allison and Mississippi.
I am so sorry for your losses. Those helpless hurt feelings are hard to deal with.

Joyce D'Agostino:
I live in Wheat Ridge, not far from what they said was the center of it all. My garden is also pretty much gone. Some of the plants were hit so hard they literally vanished into a pile of shreds.
Only things that survived was a hot pepper plant in a pot that I happened to put a wall of water around the day before. The wall of water was damaged a little and the top of the plant but most of it remains. Also have one tiny brandywine tomato, also in a wall of water, that survived.
A few herbs are also standing - lemon thyme, mint, oregano.
But everything else was literally shredded. Our house had torn screens and on the North side, the siding was riddled with holes. Had never heard a storm like that, and I grew up in Kansas. It sounded like someone throwing rocks at the house. Had some broken trees in our yard too.
I did some pruning this afternoon in case anything still was capable of surviving. A few of the plants had intact stems and some new leaf growth close to the stems, so I pruned away the damaged parts and we will see. Pretty much all of my heirloom tomatoes were lost, along with everything else. Even if some of them do survive, I wonder if the growing season will be long enough to allow them to set fruit and then have it ripen.
Sorry to all of you who have lost their gardens. I certainly feel your pain!

Peter Bockenthien:
My garden is gone. I'm sure many others lost theirs tonight as well. I'm holding a funeral at my place tomorrow and then walking over to Kendrick Lake to survey the damage.
Our permanent gardens and perennials are gone as well. I've never seen
an Agave leaf split in two. Some look like someone took scissors to
I'm going to need counseling after this. What to do? I'm stunned into
disbelief. I've never seen anything like that. I was certain it was a
tornado because it was coming down sideways and nothing but an
extremely loud roar.
On the positive side it sure smells nice. That's because it's crushed
veggie and herb leafs galore. And hey, no more weeds! I'm going to
cry myself to sleep over the loss of my heirloom squash. Another
positive note: the compost pile is going to be fantastic. Here is a link to my personal devastation.

Dave Moland:
My sincere sympathy to those who lost gardens in Monday night’s storm. I was lucky to escape this time, but have had several similar experiences in past years with wind and hail. However, I have never had big trees uprooted, as happened several places in this storm.
I drove along Kipling from Jewell up to just north of I-70 this morning, took a few side trips, and saw much damage. Some nurseries along the way, including Echter’s and O’Toole’s, had experienced considerable damage but had mostly cleaned up the aftermath and were open for business. Life goes on!
My wife and I both come from farm families, where hailstorms can mean not only smashed gardens and crops, but also loss of income. Gathering clouds and the ominous sound of the first hailstones have always brought us running to the windows and doors, as if there were something we could do to prevent it.
The weather people are saying that most of the damage was probably caused by a “microburst” event. These generally result in straight winds that topple trees in one direction, and wind gusts may in some cases exceed tornado wind speeds. I have seen the results in other states. Visit this site for more details.

My thoughts in the aftermath of the storm are expressed in this Haiku poem:

Requiem for a Garden

Wind, hail, smash gardens
Time will heal, but now we mourn
Mother Nature rules

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Help For Hail Damaged Gardens

Many of you lost your gardens Monday evening and want to know if there is anything at all to to do to mitigate the hail damage. Jefferson County Extension Agent Heather Mariel Hodgen gives this information from PlantTalk Colorado:

"Successful first aid for a hail-damaged Garden depends on the type of crop, plant maturity and recovery time left in the season.

Early in the season, vegetable root Crops with destroyed leaves are only good for the compost pile. Allow leafy Crops at least a week to recuperate after a hailstorm, then replant if you see no signs of regrowth.

Late in the season, root Crops may be mature enough to survive and be harvested. Remove damaged parts of leafy Crops and hope for some recuperation and continued growth. Replace plants lost to hail with fall cold Crops.

Flowering annuals with no leaves may not recover. Plants, such as petunias, that normally require dead-heading, may survive if some leaves remain on the plant after a hailstorm. Clean-up and a light application of fertilizer may help them recover.

Herbaceous perennials stripped of leaves need to have good root and top growth for winter hardiness and spring vigor. To achieve this, remove all flower stalks, cut back to viable leaves, lightly cultivate the soil, and apply a light dressing of low-nitrogen fertilizer. Remove flower stalks, because they use energy that plants need to overwinter and grow vigorously the following season. Allow biennials with buds, such as foxglove, to bloom, and enjoy them, because they won't return next year.

Inspect woody plants for bark wounds and exposed live tissue. If severe wounds exist, you may want to treat the plant with a fungicide to help prevent canker diseases. Application should occur within 24 hours. If wounds are less severe, allow natural callusing to occur."

Monday, July 20, 2009

July in Tallgrass Toni's Garden

Thanks to the frequent rain showers and my ability to use irrigation water, flowers are popping in my garden. Let's take a little tour.

I planted this Jade Sunflower inside the house in April. I later found out you should directly seed sunflowers into the garden. It survived being transplanted in May. (See Rob Proctor's latest book, Gardening on a Shoestring.)

Looking back into my garden journal, I discovered that these three daylilies, Bittersweet Holiday, Egyptian Elf, and Chorus Line were planted in 1986. After they bloom, they should be divided.

I got this sweet mini rose at the Master Gardener Sale in 2008. I think it is Himalayan something or other. Can someone help me out with this one, please?

I purloined the seed from this Hollyhock Black Knight from a neighbor's garden.

This Evening Sun Sunflower is a volunteer from last year and is around eight feet tall.

Now if I can get the bindweed and quack grass under control, I would be a happy camper.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Spring Aphids and Lady Beetles By Whitney Cranshaw

From Pictures
In parts of eastern Colorado extremely large numbers of lady beetles are being observed. Their numbers even prompted a June 18 note on the front page of the Pueblo Chieftain, and the southeastern counties appear to presently (June 19) have the highest numbers of lady beetles.

This is the result of previously high aphid populations on a wide variety of plants. The lady beetles develop feeding on the aphids. Aphid populations often spike in springs when there is a prolonged period of cool, wet weather. Some reasons for this include: Succulent new plant growth, promoted by rains and favorable temperatures, provides host plant conditions on which many kinds of aphids thrive;Rainfalls wash off the honeydew that aphids excrete, which is used by lady beetles as a supplementary food and a means to locate their aphid prey.

Heavy rain falls may also dislodge some of the predators.Cool temperature retard the develop of predators in relation to the aphids. Although all insects are "cold-blooded" and develop in relation to temperature, the predatory insects usually have a higher base temperature requirement for activity. That means that cool temperatures slow down the predators quite a bit more than their aphid prey, allowing the aphid populations to largely escape predation and their numbers quickly soar. Aphids can occur on a very wide variety of plants - indeed it is hard to find any plant species that does not support one or more of the 350+ species of aphids that occur in Colorado. Oaks, lindens, walnuts, poplars, Norway maple, and most stone fruits are among the trees that often support large numbers of aphids. Spirea, roses, and many flowers can be common aphid hosts in spring. Weeds may now have large numbers of aphids, such as Canada thistle.

Furthermore there are a great many native plants where aphids may be abundant; sage is currently supporting tremendous numbers of aphids - and developing lady beetles - in southeastern Colorado. Ultimately, the predators do catch up. And because large numbers of aphids are present, large numbers of lady beetles are then produced. In the case of many areas this year, truly extraordinarily large numbers of lady beetles. The most common species of lady beetle presently associated with the spring aphid bloom, by far, is the convergent lady beetle (Hippodamia convergens). A distant second is the sevenspotted lady beetle (Coccinella septempunctata).

Green lacewings are also common predators consuming aphids at this time. What will happen next? Lady beetles are general predators, although aphids are their preferred host. With the large numbers of lady beetles present they should largely annihilate most every aphid over the next few weeks.They will also incidentally consume some mites, scale insects and perhaps some eggs and young stages of caterpillars and leaf beetles. These types of insects may also be suppressed.

But soon there will not be enough food for the lady beetles to continue to sustain themselves and reproduce. So they will then likely "check out" out for the year. At some point every season lady beetles go into a condition known as diapause where they stop reproduction and slow metabolism. It is in this diapause condition that the insects survive winter. So most of the lady beetles, at least most of the convergent lady beetles, may decide to call it quits for the season and go into their winter dormancy earlier than normal, perhaps by mid July.

From Pictures

The convergent lady beetle is the species that does migrate to the high country for the "off-season". Hikers may see masses of these lady beetles near prominent points in the foothills and mountains along the Front Range during summer and early fall. Of course, if the predators largely vacate, that may again open up a late season opportunity for the aphids to rebound. But so much can occur between now and then for this to be very predictable.

Two fact sheets that may be useful references are Lady Beetles and Aphids on Shade Trees and Ornamentals

Friday, July 17, 2009

Common Garden Insects and Solutions by Mary Small

Small, soft-bodied pear-shaped. Usually congregate on tender tissue. May cause leaf and stem distortion.
Wait for ladybug, lacewing and syrphid fly predators; hose off with water; apply insecticidal soap or horticultural oils. Follow label directions.

Small insects that jump when disturbed. Make shothole shaped holes in leaves of cabbage, tomato, many weeds and flowering plants. Cover vegetable crops with floating row covers during establishment period. Apply diatomaceous earth or neem insecticides or horticultural oils or bifenthrin or permethrin. Follow label directions.

Tiny spider-like insect relatives. Leaves have pale-colored flecks. Leaves may yellow, bronze and drop. Webbing may be visible. Keep plants adequately watered to deter mites. (They are attracted to and proliferate on drought-stressed plants.) Dislodge with spray of water. Apply insecticidal soaps or horticultural oils. Follow label directions.

Small ¼ inch brown or gray oystershell-shaped insects. Heavy infestations kill branches, cause wilting or yellowing. Gently scrub off overwintering adults on woody plants during dormant period. Apply horticultural oils, insecticidal soaps or contact sprays during the scale hatch period (late May-early June). Follow label directions.

INSECT:LILAC-ASH BORER Cream-colored grubs tunnel under bark, weaken tree or shrub; interfere with sap flow. Look for round exit holes, branch dieback. Attracted to stressed plants, so keep plants healthy. Avoid pruning when adults fly, April through June. Apply permethrin or carbaryl on trunks. During adult flight period. Follow label directions.

Mary Small
Extension Agent, Urban IPM
Colorado State University Extension
Jefferson County

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Gardeners-To-Be at the Farmer’s Market

From Golden Farmers Market
On a cool Saturday in morning, three Jeffco Master Gardeners had the opportunity to interact with some budding young gardeners at the Golden Farmers' Market. We provided peat pots, soil, sunflower seeds and water. The young gardeners provided enthusiasm, laughter and a sense of wonder. At the end of the day, the youngsters walked away with a tiny pot holding the possibility of a giant sunflower. The Master Gardeners left with dirty hands and fond memories of the magic of planting our first seeds.
From Golden Farmers Market

From Golden Farmers Market

From Golden Farmers Market

From Golden Farmers Market

From Golden Farmers Market

From Golden Farmers Market

From Golden Farmers Market