We are Colorado Master Gardeners volunteering at the Jefferson County CSU Extension Office. We hope you will enjoy our writings and learn something about gardening along the Front Range in Colorado. If you have questions, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Early spring, before bud burst, is the perfect time to assess any small trees on your property. A couple of things to think about as you walk around your yard: Are your pruners in shape? If not, its time to either invest in a good set of by-pass pruners or head to your nearest gardening center to have them sharpened. By pass pruners give you the clean cut you need when pruning. Do you spot any co-dominate trunks? Now is the time to choose your leader and either remove or shorten the other branches vying for the top spot. As hard as it is to pick, it will save you a lot of heartache in the future- especially when we have heavy wet spring storms! Most limb failure in Colorado comes from unattended co-dominant branches….
Specialized plant groups can be valuable resources to gardeners who want to explore subdivisions of the gardening world. Here in Colorado there are a host of organizations with special focus, from African violets and orchids to daylilies and dahlias, from water gardening to carnivorous plants. In these groups one can tap into a wealth of information, practical experience, and passion for particular plants and styles of gardening. Most of them are also a source of plants.
This weekend took me to the Colorado Cactus and Succulent Society's show and plant sale at the Denver Botanic Gardens. I'm planning a non-irrigated ornamental plot in my backyard and expect cacti and succulents to play a prominent role. So this seemed a good chance to get started.
If you have never attended one of the Home and Garden shows, you must give yourself a treat next year and plan to attend. The garden displays are well planned and give inspiration to those who want suggestions or help in choosing the right plant for their location.
This year, I volunteered as a Master Gardener at the CSU Extension Service booth. There were four of us as volunteers, and we were all kept busy for the entire 4 hour shift, answering questions and providing Garden Notes and Fact sheets for the many people who came to our table. It was fun to meet so many enthusiastic gardeners who want to improve the beauty of their home and yard with Colorado tested plants, trees, shrubs and lawns.
After the roof and side walls were up, we got snow again. I put my remote thermometer out in the greenhouse and it was no warmer than the outside. It made me think I made a wrong choice of roof material, but I brushed that concern aside and got busy with filling in that ridiculously ugly gap between the RBA and sill plate. I filled that gaping maw with a combination of insulation foam and spray foam. It's uglier than ever because the foam expands over several hours. That's a good thing because every single little crack needs to go bye bye.
Before I could even do the work I had to treat the lumber. Monday found me at Natural Interiors on Wadsworth purchasing a gallon of linseed oil based wood treatment. Tuesday-Thursday was spent oil each piece of 2x6x16' and 2x6x20' lumber with the oil. By treating the lumber this way I would ensure it doesn't rot. Water can cause rot, yes, but having the wood in contact with dirt is how soil organisms start slowly chomping away on your wood - which they view as food. Food, Wood, Whatever.
Editor’s Note: In September, 2009, Peter Bockenthien (aka Gardener Cumax) began construction of a straw bale greenhouse and shared his initial work on this blog. The next three blog postings will chronicle his successes and challenges in completing the project.
I'm happy to report that my greenhouse is 97% complete. I would be happier if we had some actual sun to warm it up but I don't control the weather. Let me explain what has transpired since November 2009.
In November I didn't get the stucco done because it was turning too cold. As a result the stucco I did complete cracked here and there. But that's normal for stucco that is drying in a freezing climate. I covered the entire greenhouse's lower straw bale walls in a large tarp I found on craigslist. Heavier snow dumped into the greenhouse interior onto the dirt. Not wanting the exposed strawbales to attract any moisture, I covered the entire wall system with black plastic. That's where I left off.