Monday, April 29, 2013

Spring 2013: Recent Cold Causes Some Plant Damage by Mary Small

Last week the weather looked and felt more like winter than spring and the cold temperatures have many wondering how it affected or will affect trees and shrubs.
We found freeze injury (dead flower buds and a few tiny dead leaves) on ornamental pears and some crab apples at the Jefferson County fairgrounds. Plant damage on your property will depend upon where they are located in the landscape, how low temperatures were for how long and plant developmental stage.

Photo by Mary Small
You can check your plants for freeze injury by first examining flower leaf buds. If they are brown and crispy, they are dead.  The tree or shrub will not produce more this year. You can break off a couple leaf buds and look for green interiors to tell you they are still alive. Crispy brown leaves should be replaced by new ones as the season progresses. If there is stem or twig damage, it may not appear until a bit later in the season.  Look for branch/twig buds that don’t open, typically from the branch tips inward toward the trunk. Sometimes buds will open but fail to grow or grow only a short time because tissues supplying water needs were damaged or destroyed, too.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Rose Care in the Spring by Donna Duffy

Proper spring rose care helps ensure summer blooms!
It's finally beginning to feel like spring! Your roses are probably showing signs of life again with canes turning green and buds starting to form. But this is Colorado, and we’re not out of freeze danger yet. With that in mind, the following are steps you can take in the next few weeks to help your roses get off to a good start.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Thirsty Lawns and Gardens; Watering Responsibly During Drought by Steve Sherwood

As we all know, Colorado is a dry state, averaging only 15 inches of precipitation a year.  According to Denver Water, the average single family household uses approximately 130,320 gallons of water per year.  Of this total, approximately 55 percent or 65,000 gallons is used to water lawns and gardens, and for other outside needs.
With the continuing drought, water restrictions have already been announced so how and when you water your lawn and garden is very important.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Tomato Grafting: My First Experiment by Duane Davidson

One of My Grafted Plants
In June, 2012,  Barb Klett wrote here on the subject of grafting tomato plants in an article "Grafted Tomatoes -- REALLY?" This is a follow-up, reporting my own experiences trying out this technique.

Early this year I was startled to see a familiar seedhouse catalog offering grafted tomato plants. I start a few tomato plants from seed each year, hoping to enjoy home-grown tomatoes mid- to late summer. But I had never heard of grafting tomato plants. I researched the subject and found the procedure intriguing.

We know that tomato plants, particularly the tasty old-fashioned varieties, are susceptible to a number of diseases that limit tomato fruit production and often kill the plant, once it is infected. We are taught to not grow tomatoes in the same spot each year and to remove and destroy any plant showing symptoms of disease before it spreads to other plants. I have not experienced any serious disease outbreak, but often have had a plant or two show leaf wilt in mid-summer or bear undersize fruit or fruit streaked with yellow.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Carpet Beetles and Other Home Invaders of the Creepy Crawly Kind by Patti O'Neal

Ah Spring!  The weather is changing, nature is applying a little moisture, things are just starting to green up and garden bulbs are threatening to break bud.  But while nature is moving and shaking outside, a bit of it is “happening” indoors as well. 

Insects begin hatching and seeking warm, food rich environments, or in the case of some, moist environments bringing them indoors; some doing damage, some not.  Knowing when or even if you should panic is important. Most are benign and can be handled easily even if an infestation occurs.

Adult Carpet Beetle photo by Joseph Berger,
One of the most common insects found in Colorado homes is the Carpet Beetle.  These insects have extremely diverse feeding habits. Some species prefer high protein materials of animal origin, so will feed on dead skin, hair, feathers of animal or humans or insect parts.   Other species will develop and feed on seeds, grains, herbs and other materials of plant origin. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Garden Preparation in Spring by C J Clawson

Photo CSU
In the Spring, a gardener’s fancy turns to planting beds, soil tests and amendments, and vegetable varieties.  No one wants to think about the pests and diseases that may come later – right now, life is a vision of a beautiful, bountiful vegetable garden.  But setting ourselves up for success includes giving consideration early in the season to the types of problems we might face later in the gardening year.  We must be pro active and vigilant from the very beginning of the season to protect our precious vegetable garden.  So . . . .

If you didn’t do a great job of garden clean up last fall, do a thorough job of it now: before you plant!  Viruses like tomato spotted wilt and fungi like early blight can overwinter on infected plant material and perennial weeds.  Insects like thrips and flea beetles can overwinter on infested plants too.  It is important to remove dead plant material completely from your garden area prior to planting this year in order to give your vegetable plants the best chance at a healthy life in 2013.  If you grew vegetables in pots last year, thoroughly clean and disinfect the pots before using them again.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Seed Starting by Sally Berriman

Photo by Carol King
Starting your summer vegetables from seed instead of buying plants at the nursery can save you money and be a very satisfying gardening experience.  It is not difficult to start plants from seed if you follow these tips.

Research your seed choices.  In the Denver area we have an average growing season of about 120 days.  Choose veggies that you can harvest at 75 – 90 days.  The number of days to harvest is on the back of the seed packet.  You can have a longer growing season if you use season extenders at the beginning and /or the end of the season.
Photo courtesy Athens County Ohio