Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Herbicide Carry-over Damage by Mary Small

Damage on Ash leaves at the Jeffco Fairgrounds

When I worked in an extension office in another state, a few gardeners reported that their vegetables and flowers started crashing quickly. They also had distorted, stunted growth.  As it turned out, the gardeners applied manure to their gardens earlier in the year.  Unfortunately it was contaminated with an agricultural herbicide. The product was used on pastures where the cattle later grazed. It passed right through the animals’ digestive tract into the manure. Because of the particular product used, gardeners would not be able to grow plants for a while in the areas where the manure was applied.

I was reminded of this incident while attending a class on herbicides (weed killers) last week, because herbicide carry-over and contamination are still happening.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Fresh Summer Pesto By Chef Elizabeth Buckingham

Basil Photo by Elizabeth Buckingham

The current abundance of basil (even in our painfully dry climate!) makes fresh pesto a quintessential summer staple. Most recipes utilize the basics: basil, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper, with cheese as an additional option. This delicious combo is classic for a reason, but is more of a loose concept rather than a precise recipe. The idea is simple: pulverize fresh herbs or greens (pesto refers to the pestle traditionally used to prepare it) and using the basic formula of nuts, seasoning and a little oil, adjust the recipe to suit your tastes and whatever might currently be in season in your own garden.

Genovese basil is named for the Italian port town of Genoa, in Italy’s Liguria region, and the fresh, light cuisine found here allows pesto to really shine - especially when combined with handmade pasta and incredible summer tomatoes. You can make vegan pesto by omitting the cheese, but if you do add cheese please avoid the horrifying green can of processed sawdust at all costs. True Parmigiano costs a fortune, but you’ll only use a bit and the flavor will shine through. Pecorino-Romano, an aged sheep’s-milk cheese, may also be used. Your final dish will only be as good as the ingredients you put in, and since pesto is so utterly simple it is absolutely worth your time and money to seek out the best.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ascochyta in the Lawn: A Fungus Among Us by Cynthia Cox

Ascochyta Leaf Blight in Lawn.  Photo CSU Extension

Does your lawn have dry brown spots and look like it is dying? Many lawns are suffering from a fungus called Ascochyta, caused by irrigation irregularities and drought stress. Current Lawn disease products will not help remedy this fungus. The good news is, your lawn is not dead, the crown and roots are alive. Look at your grass blade, the blade will be brown from the top down.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Iron Chlorosis by Mary Small

Do your plants have “the yellows”? I’m referring to the sickly yellow-green or bright yellow leaf color that plants sometimes develop. The problem is called chlorosis, the loss of the green pigment, chlorophyll.  In our climate and soil, the most common chlorosis is iron chlorosis, caused by the lack of available iron in the soil or a plant’s inability to absorb it.  Deciduous plants develop pale green or yellow leaves with green veins. As the problem progresses, newly developing leaves are smaller than usual.  Angular brown spots form between the veins and leaf margins can turn brown and crispy. Branch tips may die as well as the entire plant, if left untreated. Evergreens and lawns may have an overall yellow cast.  Lawns may also have scattered bright yellow patches.
Iron chlorosis on maple leaves

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Keep Those Summer Blooms Coming! by Carol King and Donna Duffy

Late June and early July are rewarding times in the garden. The results of all the hard labor in the spring are beginning to be evident: a variety of blooms make their first appearance. Those beautiful blooming plants will need some attention to keep the blooms coming back. Most perennials and annuals will benefit from deadheading, pinching, cutting back, and disbudding. It’s not as traumatic as it sounds, and you’ll be rewarded with a longer blooming season.