Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Growing Hops for a "Native Lager" by Duane Davidson

Jeffco and other area gardeners who enjoy a cold brew on a warm day must have been intrigued by an article in the Denver Post recently. The headline and sub-head: "People's beer: AC Golden asks customers to grow hops and contribute them to its Colorado Native Lager, and 373 fans jump on board." Read it at http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_16851639 .

The article explains that AC Golden Brewing Co., a small-batch unit of MillerCoors, brews a beer called Colorado Native Lager, "ostensibly made with all Colorado ingredients." But in truth it is only 99.89 percent local. Missing is enough locally-grown hops, which gives the beer its bitter taste.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Watering for Christmas in Jefferson County by Carol King

Lakewood, Colorado, December 26, 2010, 5480 feet above sea level: the day was spent watering my garden.  Yes, I am watering my garden in December and you must also. We have received less than one inch of precipitation since October making this one of the driest falls on record.

You must water if you value your landscape! It's not just me haranguing you, dear gardener, Carol O'Meara says so in the Denver Post.  The folks at Denver Water say so.  Our very own Donna Duffy says so.


Here's a guide to tree watering in the winter in Colorado.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas

Wishing You a Merry Christmas and Lots of Garden Presents!!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

What Does Our Favorite Christmas Flower and the Smithsonian Have in Common?

They were both "discovered" by the same person! Joel Roberts Poinsett.

The history of the poinsettia is fascinating. It was originally called cuetlaxochitl by the Aztecs who discovered  all sorts of wonderful uses for it including fever medicine.
Read all about it here!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Gifts For Gardeners!

From Hermes garden gloves and tools to the more reasonably priced packets of Heirloom seeds; see what Garden Design Magazine editors recommend as gifts to gardeners!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Become a Citizen Scientist and Count Birds

This sounds like a fun event for the whole family: counting birds for the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count.  It's the 111th annual count!

Look here for complete information.Cedar Waxwing eating berries

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Fall and Winter Watering by Donna Duffy

We are on track for one of the warmer autumns on record. In addition, we know that Colorado winters can have long spells of dry, warm and windy weather. During the cold weather seasons, pay special attention to weather and soil conditions and provide supplemental water to keep the root systems of trees, shrubs, lawns and perennials alive and healthy. Here are some tips to help them survive the winter.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Your Lawn: Don't Mow It. Eat It!

Very green thumb: Gardener Rosalind Creasy's work has helped underscore the beauty of vegetables as ornamentals.

Author, photographer, landscape designer and environmentalist, Rosalind Creasy has widely influenced the course of domestic gardening over the past 30 years. She kept the then barely flickering flame burning in her best-selling 1982 book, "Edible Landscaping." Newly reissued and substantially reworked, the book introduced a new style of vegetable gardening while rejecting the prevailing model of the garden as a male-dominated holdover from the farm, with discrete crops in rows.

Read the whole story here!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Late Autumn - Up Close by Donna Duffy

Typha latifolia, commonly known as Cattail
Take advantage of the last warm(ish) days of Autumn by taking a hike in the foothills. On a recent morning on North Table Mountain outside of Golden, it was so quiet that all I could hear was the dry grasses rustling in the wind and birds in the distance. The morning light made everything golden. But don't delay - soon this will be a wintry scene!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Squanto, the First Thanksgiving Gardener

Enjoy this story about Squanto, who helped provide the Pilgrims with their first Thanksgiving feast.

Happy Thanksgiving From the Jeffcogardener Crew!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Holiday Plant Care

You are bound to get them, dear gardener.  Blooming house plants are a favorite to get and give this time of year.

Carol O'Meara from Boulder County Extension gives us these tips for caring for those holiday plants. Make them last!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Eagle vs. Turkey: America's First Bird Controversy

Eagle vs Turkey

Did you know that the favorite bird of choice for Thanksgiving dinner was almost our National Symbol?  Would we be eating bald eagles instead had it been chosen?  Here's a great article about the controversy between Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, and Benjamin Franklin about just what bird would hold this esteemed place in our history.

Read about it here.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Gardens of Recovery and Defiance; Thoughts on This Veterans' Day by Elaine Lockey

Photo courtesy of National Guard Magazine
In the winter of 1916, poet Wilfred Owen wrote the poem “Exposure” while freezing in a trench during WWI. While in such a horrific place his mind sought out visions of nature and warmth.

“We cringe in holes, back on forgotten dreams, and stare, snow-dazed,
Deep into grassier ditches. So we drowse, sun-dozed,
Littered with blossoms trickling where the blackbird fusses,
-Is that why we are dying?”

Owen was killed in 1918 after suffering extreme “shell shock” on the Western Front. Combat stress reaction (CSR), in the past known as shell-shock, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can sometimes be treated through special gardens that give patients a place to feel safe and relaxed.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Fresh or Canned This Year? by Mary Small

In the early years of our marriage this was always the question about the yearly pumpkin pie.  My husband had fond memories of fresh pumpkin pies his mother made.  I did not share them; the one pie my mother made fresh was, in her words, “a disaster.”  So if I made a pie, it was always from canned pumpkin.

This year, my colleague, Carol O’Meara, of Boulder County Extension, asked me to help judge pies made from several different types of pumpkins that grow in Colorado.  I love pumpkin pie, so this was an easy “yes”.  Then I thought back to Mom’s “disaster” and greeted the event somewhat apprehensively.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cotoneaster Gives Color Through the Fall by Heirloom Fan

When we moved into our home, we found a low growing woody shrub in the back yard that provided color and interest for several seasons. If you have not tried a Cotoneaster in your landscape, you might want to consider it.

Cotoneaster is from the Rosaceae family, which includes apples, peaches, plums, crabapples and 250 other common landscape plants. There are several varieties of Cotoneaster, including those that are deciduous and evergreen types. Some of these are even used in bonsai applications.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Big City Trees Discourage Crime!

Yet another reason to plant trees!

Along with energy conservation and storm-water reduction, scientists may
soon be adding crime-fighting to the list of benefits that urban trees

Read the whole story here!

Friday, November 5, 2010

What to do with all those leaves? by Donna Duffy

We have had weeks to enjoy the beautiful fall foliage, and now we have to figure out what to do with all those leaves carpeting the lawn and yard. It’s best not to leave a thick layer of leaves on the grass for several reasons. A thick layer can block sunlight, reducing turf growth because of the shading effect. That thick layer will also hold moisture, increasing the potential for turf disease. Here area some options for managing all those leaves and keeping them out of the landfills.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Preparing Your Sprinkler System for Winter

We had our first light frost in the metro area.  That means it's time.  Time to prepare your sprinkler system for winter:

Quick Facts....

  • Prepare your sprinkler system for winter by expelling all the water from the irrigation system and equipment.
  • Do not trust manual or automatic drain valves. The system should be blown
    out with pressurized air.
  • To determine the best sized compressor for your system, know the gallons
    per minute (GPM) that flow through each zone.
  • If your irrigation system is attached to domestic water, it is required to
    have a backflow prevention device.
Read the rest here!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Ruth Stout's Garden

Her methods are unconventional but they work!  Wonder what our Extension agents would say??


Friday, October 29, 2010

Don't Move Firewood by Carol King

It’s the time of year to curl up by the fire,  great book in hand,  a glass of your favorite wine by your side.  It’s also time to ask yourself “Where’s my firewood from?”  Did you move your firewood from another state or another area of the state?  Many agricultural and natural resources professionals believe that the movement of firewood is probably the biggest threat to our tree populations. So many people burn wood and so many people move wood without thinking. Many states have prohibitions against moving firewood from one county to another and federal regulations prohibit moving any ash logs out of quarantined areas. (Colorado does not have a prohibition.)
Our most recent tree tragedy directly related to firewood movement is thousand cankers disease that has devastated much of our black walnut population. In 2010, the disease swept east to black walnuts in North Park Hill and Washington Park and south to Harvey Park affecting at least twenty neighborhoods. It has devastated many walnuts in Jefferson County.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Growing and Harvesting Lavender by Heirloom Fan

I am a big fan of growing herbs, and love the scent of lavender but found many of the products made with Lavender very pricey. So my next step was to find a Lavender plant well suited for our climate that would provide my own harvest of Lavender each year.
Lavender is a native of the Mediterranean region but the good news is that you will find some types very easy to grow here in Colorado. It is a semi-woody perennial shrub plant, so once it is established, will return year after year to produce the wonderfully fragrant blossoms.
Pruning encourages Lavender to have continual and healthy growth and to keep blossoms producing throughout the season. The plants also are  attractive to bees which is a great side benefit because as we all know, bees are so important with any landscape and garden.
Here are a couple of great publications that will help you choose the best variety of Lavender for your garden and what growing conditions that will produce the most favorable results: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/garden/07245.pdf and http://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1015.html.

Hope you try this wonderful herbal shrub and enjoy the results!

Monday, October 25, 2010

What do Beer and Slugs Have in Common? By Elaine Lockey

Hosta with Slug Damage

Beer and slugs is a partnership that gardeners have been promoting for ages. For some amazing reason, put out beer and slugs will come calling. Once they fall into the beer they won’t get back out - an effective and simple means to control what can be a very frustrating garden pest.

Beer in Lamium
A fellow gardener was having problems with something eating her hostas and lamium. In fact, the lamium was being destroyed and our best guess on the culprit was slugs due to the tell-tale sign of slime trails on the leaves and stems. We also found that smaller leaves were sometimes entirely consumed on the lamium. The hosta leaves had irregular chew holes on them. She happened to have some cheap tasteless beer in the fridge so we decided to donate it to science. I was somewhat skeptical of this practice because I had never tried it but was morbidly eager to check out the cups the next morning.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Harvesting Chili Peppers by Heirloom Fan

This time of year, you can find many of the Farmer’s Markets and farm stores roasting chili peppers. The fragrance of these peppers is irresistible.
Chili Peppers are fairly easy to grow. They are a member of the nightshade family, which includes tomatoes and eggplant, so some of the same growing conditions as well as the diseases for that family apply. I found good luck in growing peppers in containers – it not only helps contain the plant but the pots generally can give additional warmth to the roots that peppers like.

White House Fall 2010 Kitchen Garden Harvest

I've been watching for news about the White House garden and here is the latest. Sweet potatoes, herbs, tomatoes and pumpkins were part of the fall harvest.
The First Lady Marvels at the Harvested Vegetables in the White House Garden

Read the whole story here!

Friday, October 22, 2010

2010 World Record Giant Pumpkin

If you were considering trying to grow the world's biggest pumpkin next gardening season,  here's your competition!!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Jefferson County Master Gardeners Seed Swap by Duane Davidson

Patti Explains Seed Saving

Picnic Lunch
About 20 Jeffco Master Gardeners and family members braved a chilly wind last Saturday, October 9, to learn about saving seeds from their gardens and then swap some seeds already collected.

The gathering was at Kendrick Lake Park, near Kipling and Jewell, in Lakewood. (This park is known for its innovative xeric garden and has been featured in previous blog postings.) The program began with Patti O'Neal of Jeffco Extension's horticulture staff talking about seeds, including the importance of efforts around the world to collect and preserve seeds. She offered tips to help home gardeners collect and store their favorite varieties of vegetables and flowers.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Put Your Garden to Bed and Tend the Soil!

"Autumn is always bittersweet for gardeners: We celebrate the end of weeding while simultaneously mourning the end of the harvest."

Joel Reich, CSU Extension Agent tells us how to put our gardens to bed.  And in the process, we can make a more fertile garden.  Read this!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Appreciating Pyracantha by Elaine Lockey

Firethorn, Pyracantha coccinea, is one of our showiest fall shrubs.  The first time I saw one I did one of those drive-by double takes, turning my car around so I could get a closer look.  Then I said to myself, “I have to have this plant.”

Ask gardeners who have Firethorn in their gardens and you’ll get a wide range of opinions as to its usefulness.  The biggest complaint has to do with it’s ½ - ¾” long thorns, hence the common name Firethorn.  This is a plant that you want to put in a place where it can grow to its full potential without much pruning.  Depending on the cultivar, it can range from 3’-10’+ ft height and spread. It is not advised to shear it and pruning should only be done occasionally to maintain its natural beautiful shape.  Believe me, the less you have to prune this the more your arms will thank you. The one exception to this is that Firethorn makes a beautiful espalier! Due to its thorns you would want to avoid putting it right next to sidewalks or other traffic areas unless you want to keep people and animals out of a certain area. Great to keep those pesky neighbor kids from short-cutting across your garden!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Applications Open for 2011 Master Gardener Class

CSU Jefferson County Extension is accepting applications now for the 2011 Master Gardener class.  If you are interested in joining a group of totally engaged citizen gardeners or just interested in taking your gardening education to new levels, this would be a great opportunity for you.  There are two options.  You can go through the interview application process to become a volunteer master gardener or you can pay the tuition and enjoy the class with no further commitment to volunteer and receive a Colorado Gardening Certificate upon completion.  Either way, the classes, taught by CSU faculty,  begin in January and run through April on Thursdays.  Volunteer master gardeners educate the public on various areas of gardening such as community gardens, small space vegetable garden production, waterwise landscaping and weed control  and lawn problems to name a few.  We do this by teaching community gardeners right in their gardens, meeting people at farmers markets or being available by phone to answer questions.  It’s exciting and challenging work.  If you would like more information, please contact the Jeffco Extension Office at 303-271-6620 for assistance or an application.  The deadline for volunteer applications is Friday, October 15.  We will accept certificate applications on a first come first served basis through November until the class fills.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Enjoy Your Leafy Greens This Fall by Heirloom Fan

Many of you know that growing leafy greens such as lettuce and spinach is very easy and provides wonderfully flavorful vegetables for your salads.  Other greens, such as Kale, Chard and Collard greens also provide great flavor and are packed with nutrition as well and should be considered as an important addition to your garden.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Top 10 Rookie Gardening Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

 I am hardly a rookie gardener and yet I continue to commit many of these mistakes.  I'm "turning over a new leaf".  I promise!!

Top 10 Rookie Gardening Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them) - Planet Green

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Raspberry Comeback! by Gardener Cumax

Raspberry canes 2 days after the July 21, 2009 tornado
Over the past week the raspberry canes have been going nuts. It’s very heartening to see because last year the canes were stripped and damaged by the weather even that shall not be named. They didn’t look any better in the Spring.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Thirteenth Annual Tomato-Tasting and Cider-Pressing Party by Duane Davidson

Guests tasted and rated more than 25 varieties of tomatoes at Char and Tom Gottlieb's 13th annual tomato-tasting and cider-pressing party the other weekend.  Char, a Jefferson County CSU Extension Master Gardener, grew most of the tomatoes evaluated, but several guests brought samples of their favorites, too.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Asters Bring Jewel Tones to Your Fall Garden by Heirloom Fan

As the summer days wane, some of our annual flowers will be fading as well. While it is hard to see garden favorites like petunias leave for the season, we still have time to enjoy some wonderful flowers that bloom at this time of year through October.

Asters provide a wonderful array of deep purple and lavender tones to liven up those last days of the growing season. They are very drought tolerant and love the Colorado climate. They are perennial flowers, which mean that you plant them in your garden, and with very little care, they will come again year after year to display their beauty.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Preparing Roses for Winter by Donna Duffy

It's October!  Ready or not, winter really will be here soon. Among all of your other fall garden chores, be sure to plan some time to get your roses “tucked in” and ready to brave whatever winter may bring. According to the Denver Rose Society’s publication “Growing Roses in Colorado,” there are five basic steps to remember.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Saving Seeds

In this CSU Extension fact sheet, we learn how to save seeds for planting next season. This is a great way to not only save money but to perpetuate the best of your produce.

"The art of saving seed has been practiced by Gardeners long before there were commercial seed producers. In fact, most of the vegetables and flowers we have today owe their existence to the fact that these early Gardeners, with an eye for quality, saved the seed of their best plants, sowed them the next year, and in this way improved the species.
In recent years, the responsibility for maintaining and improving vegetable seed has been assumed by seed companies; however, it is still possible for home Gardeners to save their own seed. To do so successfully, they must be familiar with the basics."

Read here for the basics.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Gnome- Gnapping? by Gardener Dave

A recent article in the Denver Post about kidnapped lawn gnomes prompted me to dabble a bit more into “Gnome Incidents” in other places and at other times.  Apparently they are popular – it’s almost a cult thing!   Stolen or not, they really are hot!  According to the Post article, one home in Arvada had nearly 150 gnomes stolen in late July of this year!  A couple of other links to gnome information and incidents are included below.

Hmmmmmm…  Scientists have done a lot of work sequencing the human genome – I wonder if anyone is working on the gnome genome?  It should be interesting – and strange!
Hey out there!  Do any of you bloggers have more “Gnome Capers” to share with us? 


Friday, September 24, 2010

Peaches and Squirrels by Heirloom Fan

I know this sounds like an odd combination, but this year I had an unusual “crop” of persistent squirrels visiting my trees and garden. Some people consider them cute and some are annoyed by them but however you feel about them, squirrels can do significant damage to your landscape and garden.
While squirrels are all part of our ecosystem, knowing how to safely control them is a must. Last year, my big challenge was that I had major damage to my garden due to the July hailstorm of 2009. This year I was looking forward to a big recovery and I was very happy to see that we had abundant peaches and apples, and that my vegetable garden was also doing well with producing tomatoes and other favorites. But it seemed as soon as the plants and trees became full of ripe fruit and vegetables, the number of visits to my yard by the squirrels also became “abundant”.