Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Colorado State University's Annual Flower Trial Garden's List of Winning Flowers for 2013

Dahlia "Hildago"

The garden, which spans nearly three acres on the east side of the Fort Collins campus, is a Northern Colorado showpiece with a focused research purpose:  Each year, the Annual Flower Trial Garden tests and analyzes the performance of more than 1,000 varieties of annual bedding plants in Colorado’s harsh growing conditions.
Helping gardeners: Dozens of expert evaluators rate the plants for vigor, growth pattern, bloom and other characteristics. The trial results help home gardeners identify annual bedding plants that are most likely to succeed.  Here is a list of what flowers to plant during the 2013 growing season, a list of great possibilities.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

What to Harvest Now (or soon!): Spinach - by Barbara LaRowe

This time of year makes everyone yearn for fresh veggies, homegrown goodies from the garden.  Since we live in Colorado we are still getting vestiges of winter, so the idea of having your garden in full growth is still around the corner. 

For those people who are anxious for the taste of fresh vegetables, spinach is a great early crop that can be started in a container, and protected when necessary. 

Monday, May 13, 2013

Pruning Roses by Stan Ames

Photo CSU Extension
Just yesterday I was asked when to prune rose bushes by a friend of mine.  I quickly realized I had no idea, there is not a rose bush anywhere near my garden, so I went on line to www.ext.colostate.edu and typed “pruning roses” in the search window and several articles came up! Wow, I can trick my friend into thinking I know what I’m doing!  Planttalk Colorado provides this information:

“Winter takes its toll on Colorado roses. The canes die back, leaving dead growth to prune in the spring. Untimely pruning can leave roses vulnerable to killing frosts. Wait until two weeks before the last average hard frost to prune.
Pruning varies with different rose types, but plan on cutting back hybrid teas and grandifloras every year.
Remove dead or diseased canes first, and then focus on shape. Always make a 30 to 45-degree cut one-quarter-inch above a live bud.
Prune the cane back one-half-inch into green live wood. In severe winters, there may be only a few inches of green on the canes.
Live wood on older canes or roses with bronze stems may look brown instead of green. Clip from the top down, checking for live growth with each small portion removed. Where possible, prune to an outward facing bud to direct growth away from the center of the plant. This allows light and air penetration, minimizing disease.
Miniatures, floribundas, and polyanthas are hardier plants that don't always suffer winter damage but check yearly.
Climbing roses have intertwined canes, making them more difficult to prune.”

Check out these other articles on “Roses Basics”, “Roses – Winter Care” and “Selecting and Planting Roses”! 

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Noxious Weeds Problems in Jefferson County Colorado by Gina Kokinda

Myrtle Spurge (Euphorbia myrsinites) photo courtesy CSU
Do you have a noxious weed problem? I do. The snow is melting, and so again begins my battle with the dreaded knapweed (and thistle -- among others) that persistently aim to diminish our little slice of homestead heaven. When we purchased the place in Evergreen years ago, I didn't even know what knapweed was. These days, it is the bane of my summer gardening fun. I have disposed of countless bags of it (at the local landfill), yet it persists with vigor each passing year. In fact, I'm realizing that if we want home grown vegetables this season, we'll definitely need the help of a contractor to control the weeds.

It is important to be aware of the weeds on  your county's noxious weed list. Noxious weeds threaten biodiversity and ecosystem stability with their aggressive behavior, stealing precious moisture, sunlight and nutrients from the surrounding native species, upon which our pollinators depend! If left unmanaged, they will literally take over a property and invade others in the neighborhood.