Thursday, June 28, 2012

Crops in Pots: Lessons from the Demonstration Garden by Patti O'Neal

Space – or the lack of it – often prevents people from even considering growing their own food.  But that need not be the case.  What you may perceive as a lack of space may be an opportunity to “think outside of the box” and enable you to grow at the very least, your two or three favorite edibles to use in your kitchen.  And it is not too late to begin even this year!

Container gardening with edibles is not only easy, but brings gardening to apartment dwellers, or those living in patio homes, condos or on small lots or even in community living situations.  About the only limiting factor is the orientation to the sun.  Vegetables, with very few exceptions, require minimum of 6 hours of full sun a day.  Obviously, some will plants will perform better with the optimum 8 hours, but 6 are doable and spring and fall crops of greens can even perform well with 4.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Grafted Tomatoes – REALLY? by Barb Klett

So why graft a plant that has only one season?  Isn’t that a lot of work for a little pay off? And expensive to boot?  Huh?
Grafted Tomatoes

REALLY, there are reasons for grafting tomatoes – the same reasons we graft other plants.  The rootstock is sturdy, disease resistant, stress tolerant, and/or they increase productivity.  The grafted part is said to have better qualities than the original rootstock, such as flavor or size.

Tomato grafting has been used in Asia and Europe for some time (since the 1960s) and is currently used in Mediterranean areas, while it is gaining popularity in the US too.  There are several reasons the grafted tomatoes are becoming so popular.  The rootstock is chosen to help deal with many kinds of abiotic issues including salinity, drought/flood and temperature extremes.  The rootstock selection can be effective against many fungus, bacteria, virus, and even nematodes and may help reduce use of soil fumigants.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Beckon the Butterflies! by Donna Duffy

A couple of days ago, I was standing in the yard with my 6-year old neighbor, watching a butterfly flit around the garden. She was thoroughly entranced until the butterfly flew away. With a heavy sigh, she shook her head and said, “I just wish they would stay a little longer.”

It’s true, butterflies often seem to be just passing through our yards. You can prolong their visit by changing some of your gardening practices to provide them the food and shelter they are seeking.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Water Vegetables Properly by Carol King

Drip Systems are best for watering vegetables. Photo courtesy of University of Mississippi
As if growing vegetables in Colorado weren't hard enough, did you know each vegetable has different water needs?  Watering your vegetables properly during the growing season is directly related to produce quality and yields.  Most vegetables use around quarter-inch of water per day during typical summer weather.  If the garden is watered every four days, apply one inch of water per irrigation.  Hot, windy weather will increase water demand significantly.   Many vegetables become strong-flavored or stringy with water stress.

CSU provides this list of  some critical watering needs for selected vegetables:
  • Asparagus needs water most critically during spear production and fern (foliage) development.  Less water is needed after ferns reach full size.

  • Cole crops (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, collards, Brussels sprouts, kale, and kohlrabi) need consistent moisture during their entire life span.  The quality of cole crops is significantly reduced if the plants get dry anytime during the growing season. Water use is highest and most critical during head development.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Buffalo Grass Lawn by Carol King
Have you been considering a buffalo grass lawn? As drought rears its ugly head again and again  and water costs increase, more individuals and businesses are looking for alternatives to water-guzzling turf. Bouteloua dactyloides (buffalograss) is an attractive, fine-textured, low-water-use native grass that grows throughout the Great Plains from Minnesota to Montana and south into Mexico. This warm-season perennial establishes itself as a short (three to six inches tall) sod grass and spreads by means of runners called stolons. The runners form a turf that is solid, yet can accommodate wildflowers and native bunch grasses. Buffalograss is exceptionally cold- and drought-tolerant, and has no known disease or insect problems. It is ideal for large landscaped areas such as businesses, parks, and schools. (University of Texas at Austin)

Here's the complete how to for planting an attractive buffalo grass lawn.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Water, Accurately Applied When and Where You Want It by Dave Moland

Let’s face it folks – the era of our trying to simulate summer rainstorms when we water our landscapes is over. The “New Age of Aquarius” is upon us, and I’m not referring to astrological eras or meanings here. Aquarius in mythology was “the cup-bearer to the gods”, or the sign of the “water carrier”. We don’t have to water our gardens by carrying water in cups, but now it’s time for us all to apply our water much more wisely and accurately!

Having experienced a very dry March, and seeing the TV news regarding the relatively low mountain snow pack in our watershed areas, coupled with the fast spring melt and a very possible hot, dry summer, I believe that all forms of Water Wise Gardening – including drip watering, use of soaker hoses and minimizing our turf areas, will soon be “mandatory” in many areas of Colorado. Our prolific use of city-system water for overhead sprinkling of large lawns and gardens may soon be priced out of most of our budgets, even if not severely rationed.