Monday, August 19, 2013

Harvesting Fall Squash By Joyce D’Agostino

Photo by Joyce D'Agostino

It goes without saying that Colorado gardeners find that squash is one of the easiest garden vegetables to grow. In fact, about this time many gardeners are wondering what to do with their prolific summer squash that keeps producing and are running out of creative zucchini recipes.
But another squash that deserves some garden space are winter squash. They are called Winter or Fall squash not because they grow during these seasons, but they take all of the summer to grow and mature and have a long shelf life well into the fall and winter. 
Examples of winter squash are Acorn, Butternut and Hubbard. These squash have deep colors and flavorful flesh which make them a great choice for cooking and baking and are full of vitamins, minerals and beta carotene with low or no fat or sugars. 
If you have an abundance of fall squash, you can cook and mash the pulp and freeze as you may do for pumpkins, or you can store them whole in a cool dry location and enjoy them well into the fall and winter. Imagine your own home grown winter squash as a side dish at your Thanksgiving dinner!
Here are a few helpful fact sheets that give you more information about growing, harvesting and storing these beneficial vegetables:
Photo by Joyce D'Agostino

Friday, August 16, 2013

Be Careful with Insecticides in Your Garden by Cynthia Cox

Bumble Bee photo courtesy Whitney Cranshaw
You think your flowers are getting buggy, so out comes the insecticide. Beware, you may be harming the bugs that are helping keep your flowers beautiful. Get to know the friends of flower gardens. Here are a few.

The Bumble Bee: Large, fuzzy, with yellow, orange or black bands; may be carrying pollen baskets on its legs; very noisy.  Loves rosemary, clover, and sunflowers (all kinds of sunflowers).
The Native Bee: varies by species as to looks; a non-picky flower lover, loves all kinds of flowers, especially natives!
The Pollen Wasp: has a club antennae; loves western wildflowers (scorpionweed, beard-tongue).This wasp is a vegetarian, feeds on pollen instead of spiders and insects.
The Monarch Butterfly: orange-brown with black veins, lined in black with white spots. Did you know the Monarch feeds on milkweed to make it unpalatable to birds? 
The European Honeybee: smaller than a bumblebee and fuzzy; loves penstemon and  flowers in general.
 The Hoverfly: looks like a yellow jacket, flies like a dart, very quick; loves yarrow and feverfew.  Its larvae is very helpful in that it preys on aphids .
The Bee Fly: looks like a bee only with two wings instead of four; loves desert and alpine flora.
 The Drone Fly: looks like a honeybee but with one set of wings; loves cosmos, Queen Anne’s Lace, and lupine and just like a bee goes from flower to flower. 
So please be careful with that bug spray. A good substitute is Neem Oil found at garden centers and doesn’t harm these friends of flowers.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Impatiens Downy Mildew; New Disease to Colorado by Mary Small

Photo courtesy

 Two Plant Diagnostic Clinics in Colorado have recently received samples of impatiens downy mildew. This was a large problem last year in many eastern states but not here.
Early symptoms include leaf chlorosis and a stippled appearance similar to spider mite feeding. Leaves may curl under slightly at the edges. Eventually leaves drop and “plants” are merely a grouping of stems. Finally, the stems die too. You will find a dense white sporulation on the leaf undersides.
High plant density, overhead watering (especially at night) and high humidity all contribute to the development of the disease. Once plants are infected, they should be pulled out. There is no rescue treatment fungicide, only preventatives. It will overwinter in our cli- mate, unfortunately.
July rainfall and humid periods (think July 12-15) contributed to the development of the disease. If conditions are dry and air circulation is good, the disease doesn’t develop.
The disease does not seem to develop on impatiens grown from seed, but does on impatiens grown out from cuttings.
Tamla Blunt at the Colorado State University Plant Diagnostic Clinic is tracking the disease’s locations and spread in Colorado. For more information, see this web page: controlling-downy-mildew-on-impatiens.html
Photo courtesy Palm Beach County Extension

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Best Garden Tool! by Donna Duffy

When I retired several years ago, a fellow gardener gave me a Hori Hori knife as a retirement gift. It’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever received. The Hori Hori was originally used for excavating bonsai in the mountains of Japan. Because the tool is small, it’s less destructive than a shovel and can be worked around fragile bonsai roots during excavation. I’ve heard that it’s also called a “diggy diggy.”

Monday, August 5, 2013

The Aster Yellows Blues by Carol King

My latest indignity in the garden, (does it never end) is what appears to be a case of aster yellows in a cone flower, Echinacea purpurea. I’ve been watching the plant all summer and thought it was starting to look pretty good. It’s only three years old and while not really large, it is adequate in size with about a dozen flower blossoms.
Several weeks ago I noticed a Dr. Seussian blossom with funny shaped green things coming out of the flower. My research led me to this condition called aster yellows.
It is a disease carried by the aster leafhopper (Macrosteles quadrillineatus). Aster leafhoppers overwinter in northern Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Come spring, they want to get out of that heat and humidity and so they hitch a ride on the wind and end up in Colorado (and Kansas, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.) The leafhopper is infected with this bacteria-like creature and transmits it to susceptible plants. It is also called witches broom, purple top, apical leaf roll, blue stem, bunch top, haywire, late breaking, purple dwarf, and yellow top (English) and is found all over the world.