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: and

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.