Friday, April 25, 2014

Be a Habitat Hero! by Donna Duffy


Does your garden supply habitat for songbirds and pollinators? If so, you can apply for Habitat Hero designation. A Habitat Hero garden meets these five objectives:
  • Creates diverse layers, plus shelter and nesting opportunities for wildlife
  • Is waterwise, energy-efficient, and uses few or no pesticides
  • Provides natural food in different seasons, based at least partly on native plants
  • Offers water for drinking and bathing
  • Controls invasive species

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Two Foothill Gardening Experiences in 2013 by Ed Powers


In 2013 I started the year where I left off in 2012. In 2012 I had just moved to Evergreen from Detroit, Michigan and was able to start seeds in late April. Almost too late for this area. I planted a few tomatoes, squash, peppers, marigolds, Icelandic poppies and zinnias. Of course I brought the seed from Detroit. Everything sprouted and grew.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Winter Damage in Colorado Evergreens by Mary Small


Many conifers aren’t looking too great right now. Much of the problem is related to dry fall and winter weather over the last couple of years.  Fall and winter months are typically dry, but these past couple of years have been especially dry.  How does that affect these plants?
Although trees and shrubs “go dormant” in the fall, the root systems of these plants still function as long as soil temperatures hover around 40 degrees.  Roots need water  to function properly and their source for that is either Mother Nature or irrigation that we provide.  No water during this period stresses or kills roots through dehydration. 
Evergreen leaves can continue to transpire, that is, lose moisture to the surrounding environment, on warm sunny days, even in the winter.  This is a normal leaf function, designed to keep the leaves from overheating, kind of like our perspiration. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Lilac Ash Borer Does Not Equal Emerald Ash Borer by Mary Small

 
Lilac Ash Borer Damage in Ash
I was recently sent this photo and asked if I thought this could be emerald ash borer damage. Apparently a lot of ash trees in the neighborhood have similar injury.
Note D-shaped holes
One hole looks like a D, which could indicate a flatheaded borer such as emerald ash borer. (But flatheaded apple tree borers can also infest stressed ash.) Consider too, that lilac ash borer creates irregularly round exit holes and the rest of the holes in the picture are round-ish. The D shaped hole also is ragged around the edge, which is not typical of the flatheaded borers mentioned above.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Using Potato Grow Bags in Colorado by Ellen Goodnight

Photo amazon.com

I will be the first to confess that I am not an expert potato grower. Further, I will admit that I have tried to grow a variety of potatoes, in all sorts of conditions and places in my gardens, with varying degrees of success. Moving to another house set a new challenge as I wanted to grow my beloved potatoes along with every thing else in a rather limited space. Potato plants can easily take over a garden.

I began to to look at alternatives and read about using large fabric bags. Would these really support large potato plants and would I get the kind of yield the advertisements promised? Did I really need to buy the special soil mix and fertilizer the catalog recommended? My potatoes had always grown in well-composted garden soil and done very well. I was  starting to have my doubts about the expense of growing in bags but  I decided to take a gamble.

I bought two large fabric bags, and one bag of the special soil mix and fertilizer. I wanted to compare the yield results of using the soil/fertilizer mix  in one bag and using garden soil mixed with my own compost in the other. I planted Red Norland, Russett and Yukon Gold seed potatoes in the bags in early April.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Growing Blueberries in Colorado by Carol King

Photo by Carol King
Who doesn't love a blueberry?  They are one of the super foods, filled with antioxidents.  These tiny, round blue-purple berries have long been attributed to the longevity and wellness of indigenous natives.  Blueberries are very low in calories. A cup of fresh berries provide only 57 calories.  Some research studies suggest that these berries help lower blood sugar levels and control blood-glucose levels in type-II diabetes.  Super food indeed. Why not grow them in the Colorado Front Range home garden?

Blueberries will not grow in Colorado soil. Blueberries need acidic soil (and a lot of it).  Our native soils are alkaline; the opposite of what a blueberry needs! Every year at this time, I see the blueberry plants lined up in the big box stores just waiting for some unsuspecting gardener to purchase and take home to complete failure.