Monday, August 29, 2011

2011 Master Gardener Garden Tour: Home Grown by Georgina Kokinda

Photo by Janet Shangraw
It was the last day of July, a perfect commonly sunny summer day with temperatures hovering close to the century mark, when the Jefferson County (Jeffco) Colorado Master Gardeners (CMG’s) held the HOMEGROWN TOUR. The event, which focused on home/community food production, was organized and orchestrated by a team of Jeffco CMG’s led by Janet Shangraw. Featured were six luscious gardens, including: a community garden in Golden; the home garden of CSU Extension Research Associate, Curtis Utley; three home gardens of Jeffco CMG’s; and the Horticulture Research and Demonstration Garden at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Kim Bone, 2011 Plant Select Photo Winner!

Our very own Jefferson County CSU Colorado Master Gardener, Kim Bone, has won the 2011 Plant Select Photo Contest in the Great Groupings Category!

See all the winners here.

Congratulations Kim.  It is a great photo!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mountain Pine Beetle Spreads to Front Range

Photo Courtesy of University of Wyoming
The Denver Post reports that the mountain pine beetle has spread to Colorado's Front Range cities, but forestry experts and city arborists do not expect losses on the scale seen in Rocky Mountain forests.

Read the whole story here!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Herbicide Imprelis Recalled by the EPA

After reviewing thousands of complaints of damage to evergreens and other trees, the Enviornmental Protection Agency has ordered a recall of DuPont's new herbicide Imprelis.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Garden Weed Management: Using Pulled Weeds for Mulch

Pile of Bindweed. Use as Mulch? Think Again!
Andrea Cummins, Extension Agent at neighboring CSU Douglas County Extension, has this to say about using your weeds as mulch.  Be careful. You might be making your weed problem worse!

“Afternoon July thunderstorms have brought an onslaught of weeds in gardens and open space all along the Front Range. Soils too dry for seed germination this spring now have enough moisture to sprout weeds. Weeding practices may actually worsen the problem. Leaving pulled weeds on the soil surface is advocated by some as a way of mulching. Weeds dry out and die and the debris forms a mulch.

It is important to identify the weeds pulled for mulch. Some weeds can be pulled prior to setting seed and left in place with no danger of returning.Examples include: salsify, annual sowthistle, groundsel, and prickly lettuce.

Weeds such as bindweed, purslane, prostrate spurge and prostrate knotweed can root from a very small piece of stem or root. Gardeners should not leave these weeds on the soil for mulch, instead dispose of them in the trash.”

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Herbicide Carryover: From Digestive Tract to Your Garden

Herbicide Carryover Injury
Considering getting manure from your local farmer for your garden?  Dear gardener, you might want to be cautious about this!

Dr. Tony Koski, CSU Extension Turf Specialist, recently informed staff about an excellent publication from North Carolina on the topic of herbicide carryover. 

North Carolina State University received reports from organic farmers and home gardeners of damage to vegetables following application of aged and composted horse and cattle manure to the soil. The symptoms exhibited on the crops are twisted, cupped, and elongated leaves; misshapen fruit; reduced yield; death of young plants; and poor seed germination. They found that one source of this crop injury is the presence of certain herbicides in manure and compost. With so many folks using composts and manures to improve soil, there have been increasing cases of contaminated amendments.  Unfortunately certain herbicides can pass through the digestive tract of grazing animals and into their manure.  Some straw products can contain herbicide residues used to manage weeds growing in the crop. 

Read more about the problem, recommendations and how to conduct a bioassay – a test for determining if that manure you’re going to buy from a local farmer is such a good idea!  Read the report here: Herbicide Carryover Injury

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

2011 Annual Flower Trials at CSU

Salvia 'Summer Jewel Red'
Dr. James E. Klett,  CSU professor and Extension Landscape Horticulture Specialist,  invites us to come view the 2011 Annual Flower Trials conducted by the Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture in Fort Collins. The trial garden consists of approximately 1100 varieties of annual bedding plants, both in the ground and in containers. Twenty-five plant and seed companies are participating in the 2011 trials.  The site, located at 1401 Remington Street, in Ft. Collins, Colorado, is also an official All American Selection Test and Display Garden.

Compare many new bedding plant varieties against some of the standards. The best viewing time is now through mid-September or first killing frost. Visit the website for photos of last year’s winners and other updates:

Here's the 2011 AAS Winners.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Violets and Ground Ivy in the Lawn by Elaine Lockey

Common blue violet
 Is it a flower or a weed?  Well that answer is truly in the eye of the beholder. The common blue violet, Viola species, seems to be such an innocent little plant when first appearing in your lawn but can become a very difficult plant to control if allowed to spread.  It can make a stunning ground cover with its pretty blooms in early spring and heart-shaped green leaves. It is generally found in woodlands and enjoys shady to partly sunny moist areas. However, it can also adapt to dry areas once established.

Ground ivy, also known as creeping Charlie, Glechoma hederacea, offers lush dark green leaves that are rounded with toothed edges and small funnel-shaped purplish-blue flowers in the spring.  This perennial belongs to the mint family and has square stems and a pungent odor when the leaves are crushed.  Ground ivy and wild violets can sometimes be confused when flowers are not present.

Both plants spread via seed from blossoms, branching rhizomes, and creeping roots.  With so many options to expand their range, it’s easy to see how they do so very easily.  These plants will simply spread out of your landscape beds and into your lawn.  Removal of them is a little more complicated.  Hand-pulling often just results in a lot of time and effort and broken off plants as they have extensive root systems.  Herbicides are usually recommended.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Blossom End Rot in Tomatoes by Stan Ames

Are some or all of your recently set tomatoes, squash, watermelons, peppers or eggplant developing dark, leathery features on their bottoms?

With the abnormal amounts of rain we have enjoyed we need to be alert to this condition and take steps to prevent its onset.  Once a fruit has been damaged it cannot be cured!

The technical term for this condition is “Blossom End Rot” and in some areas it is just referred to as “BER”. This condition is a result of the plant’s need for calcium not being satisfied.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Become a Citizen Scientist by Shelly Taylor

Gardening appeals to people for various reasons.  Some like the idea of producing their own food, some appreciate the beauty of flowers and well-planned landscapes, some find it relaxing.  Because gardening necessarily involves watching plants grow, well or not so well, and observing the weather (and who isn't interested in the weather, especially recently), many gardeners sooner or later become interested in the underlying science of botany, and/or  horticulture, or meteorology.  That is one of the reasons some people become master gardeners, who receive training and can then share what they have learned.  Others begin to read about science on their own, or take classes, or research on the Internet.