Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Growing Bromeliads by Donna Duffy

Photo courtesy recycledh2o.net

The bromeliad is a member of a large plant family native to the warmer climates of America. Bromeliads grow in trees, attach themselves to rocks, and live on the forest floor. They vary in size from one inch to 35-feet high. In Colorado, they are easy-to-grow flowering houseplants. Planttalk Colorado offers the following tips for growing Bromeliads successfully.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Norfolk Island Pine as a Holiday Tree by Donna Duffy

Photo courtesy thedirtdiaries.com
You may be seeing Norfolk Island pines in the garden centers and big box stores, marketed as an alternative to a typical Christmas tree. Planttalk Colorado offers the following tips for keeping your Norfolk Island pine alive and healthy during the holiday season and beyond.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Providing for Birds in the Winter by Donna Duffy

Black-capped Chickadee, photo courtesy birds gallery.net

Many different kinds of birds make their home along the Front Range of Colorado, and it doesn't take much cost or effort to attract and feed them. Joe Julian, CSU Horticulture, offers the following tips for winter feeding of birds in Colorado.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Poinsettias Bring Holiday Color and Cheer By Joyce D’Agostino

Photo CSU Co-Hort
Outside of the Christmas tree, there are few other plants that are recognized as part of the holiday season than the bright Poinsettias.
These cheerful plants originated with the Aztecs in Mexico and are now loved worldwide for bringing bright color to the dark days of winter.  At one time, only the red and some pink colors were primarily available but now due to extensive experimentation and breeding, you can find poinsettias in many sizes and colors.  Their botanical name is Euphorbia pulcherrima.a p
What is often called the petals are actually “bracts” which are actually leaves with a bright pigment.  The true flowers on the poinsettias are found in the center of the bracts. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Caring for Your Christmas Tree by Donna Duffy

Photo courtesy nj.com
What’s your vision of a perfect Christmas tree? Some would say it needs to be full and symmetrical. Others look for well-spaced limbs strong enough to support lots of lights and ornaments. Some like natural trees, others like artificial trees. Me? I tend to gravitate toward the “Charlie Brown” trees hiding at the edges of the lot. Regardless of your preference, caring for your tree properly will keep it healthy and fresh for the longest possible time after purchase.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Protecting Trees From Heavy Snow by Donna Duffy

Photo courtesy tree boss.net
Winter weather has arrived and the snow is falling! Take precautions to avoid this kind of tree damage.  Here are some suggestions on protecting your trees from the weight of heavy snow from Curtis Utley, Jefferson County CSU Extension Research Associate.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

My Houseplants Have the Winter Yellows by Rebecca Anderson

Peace Lily, Spathiphyllum sp., with a yellow sun leaf

I take most of my houseplants outside every summer.  They seem to enjoy a few months on the patio, growing a multitude of lush leaves in the more direct sunlight.  Then in the fall as the nights cool off, I bring them back in the house.  After the transition, I notice several of the leaves become yellow and dry up.  I'd like to think they're mourning the passing of another summer, but really they are going through a normal physiologic process to streamline their metabolism for the lower light conditions inside the house.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Wayward Weeds or Red Root Pig Weed by Ann Moore

Amaranths retroflorus photo from Wikipedia.org
       The term weed is sometimes slang for marijuana but since that chapter is not finished yet, we will just accept Merriam Webster’s definition:  a weed is a plant not valued in the place is is growing and is usually of vigorous growth, especially one that tends to choke out more desirable plants.

This covers lots and lots of plant growth (a lovely little petunia in an onion patch?).  But the one we really should hope to find a good use for soon is Red Root Pigweed, scientific name Amaranths retroflexus.

Amaranth is a lovely nourishing seed that has been around for literally hundreds of years.  There are recipes for all kinds of delicious sounding things made with amaranth seeds.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Gardening Power to the People:Wrapping Trees for Winter Protection Video

It's time to wrap your newly planted and young trees to prevent sun scald and to keep that valuable tree healthy through the winter.  Here's how:

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Sow Native Plant Seeds Now! By Donna Duffy

You still have time to sow native plant seeds in your garden. Mid to late fall is a good time to sow native seeds because subsequent winter cold and snow will promote seed germination next spring. If you are unsure where to purchase native plant seeds, check out the Colorado Native Plant Society’s publication: Native Plant Vendor List.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween!!

Jefferson County CSU Extension Master Gardener bloggers wish you all a very Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Gardening Power to the People: Insect Puddles Video

Here is the third in our series about attracting pollinators into the garden, produced by our JeffCo Gardener Video Team.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Gardening Power to the People: Insect Hotels Video Part 2

Here is the second in the series about bringing pollinators into your garden presented by the JeffCo Gardener Video Team.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Gardening Power to the People: Insect Hotels Video Part 1

Here is the first in a series of three new videos from our JeffCo Gardener Video Team about making your garden pollinator friendly.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Plant Amaryllis Now for Holiday Blooms by Donna Duffy

Amaryllis is one of the easiest bulbs to grow and will generally bloom 6-10 weeks after planting. Bloom time varies a bit among varieties, so be sure to check the label on the bulb you are considering. If you want a blooming Amaryllis for the holidays, now is the time to plant!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Recording Your Yearly Garden Notes By Joyce D’Agostino

Photo Joyce D'Agostino
You don’t have to be a skilled writer to benefit from the practice of keeping good garden notes. I found that recording important information about your garden each year helps a great deal to learn which varieties are ones you enjoy to grow and work best in your garden. 
Start in the spring and begin recording basic information such as the weather, which seeds you are starting, which seeds emerged first and then eventually which plants were the hardiest and produced the best. Make it a point to regularly go to your journal and add notes as the season goes on. You can also print out articles or blogs that contain information that you want to try next year too.
If this is your first year to record notes and you didn’t start in the spring, there is still time to record your notes. Begin now and add as you think of other information to add so you have recorded as much important information as possible.
If you enjoy computer programs, there are also programs designed just for your garden note information. If you keep your notes on your computer, be sure to print out a copy from time to time or save it to disc so you have a backed up copy in the event of a computer problem. You don’t want to spend hours recording important data and then have it lost. You can also buy a bound journal or even a spiral notebook and record your information as you go along. 

You will find that doing this is a great practice to help you remember both the successes and the things you want to change for your next seasonal garden. I also keep dated pictures of much of what I grow each year. Not only is it fun to view the pictures, but it also can help you get an idea of when a fruit or vegetable is likely to be ready for harvest.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Fall Cleanup Tips – Chapter III – Perennials – Trees, Woody Shrubs and Tender Plantings by Peter Drake

To both the dedicated perennial landscape gardener, and the more casual observer of trees, shrubs and groundcovers, it has shown itself to be a very hard, strange season for perennial plantings here in Colorado.
First, there was the November, 2014 freeze that struck at our Front Range landscapes before trees and shrubs had a chance to harden off fully for the winter.  Following this, another sudden freeze on Mother’s Day, 2015 interrupted the budding stages of a number of plants; and then, there was a cooler, wetter-than-normal spring period.  This was followed by a period of intense, dry heat through July and most of August.
These climatic factors conduce to intense plant stress.  Whole trees, woody shrubs and tender perennials, or significant sections of them, have shown signs of withering and browning much earlier in the season than usual—or have not leafed out, or otherwise bloomed, at all, presenting bare patches along the borders of house lots, and in the trees lining local streets.
The good news is that all of this can be managed proactively, and gradually repaired.  

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Roasting Sunflower Seeds by Donna Duffy

All around town the sunflower heads are nodding, heavy with seeds ready to harvest. If you've managed to rescue your seeds from the birds and squirrels, here's a recipe for roasting seeds in the shell from the National Sunflower Association.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Native Asters for Early Fall Color by Joyce D'Agostino

Now that fall is here, the flowers that can tolerate the cooler weather and shorter days may be few. But if you want to continue to enjoy flowers and color for a few more weeks asters make a great choice. 
Like chrysanthemums, asters bloom in late summer into early fall and have been a seasonal favorite for decades. They are a welcome addition of color when the annual flowers that need the warmth and more sun are winding down. Asters are great cut flowers for bouquets as well. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Preventing Animal Damage in your Garden By Joyce D’Agostino

Squirrel damage photo Missouri Botanical Gardens
Few things are as disappointing to a gardener as to find a vegetable or fruit you were looking forward to harvesting has been destroyed by an animal. 
Depending on your area, the animals that can invade your garden can be as large as deer or small like voles, chipmunks and small rabbits. All of these animals are used to foraging plants and welcome any readily accessible source of edibles. These edibles often include many of your favorite plants including lettuce, greens, fruit and even tomatoes.
I first noticed few weeks ago that the squirrels seemed to be nipping off the heads of the sunflowers. Then shortly after, I found some tomatoes and peppers that had been pulled from the plants, a bite or two taken out of it and then left to rot.  This was especially disappointing when these animals seemed to be doing this on a regular basis and actually starting to thin out the fruit on the plants.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Bumblebees in Your Late Summer Garden By Joyce D’Agostino

Bombus huntii photo bugGuide.net
There have been many articles written about the plight of the honeybees and the decline in their numbers. This is definitely a concern for all of us who love to see these bees active in our garden and pollinating the plants.
I read a recent article that stated now Bumblebees may be on the decline. Learning more about any pollinator will help us all have a more inviting and supportive environment for them to grow and thrive may help reverse this trend.
Bumblebees are very active pollinators and move fast through any plant where they are foraging.  It was difficult to snap a picture quickly enough to capture them in action because these bees can move fast in their effort to get the nectar and pollen before another competitor comes along. Like honeybees, they are social bees. Bumblebees have annual nests and they do make wax but they don’t produce honey and their value as a pollinator is still very important. 
You can hear a bumblebee active at work because they actually do make a noticeable buzz sound. They feed on nectar and gather pollen like other bees, but they are “buzz pollinators” and use their strong jaws to vibrate plants that other bees and pollinators may not be able to manage.  They are larger and fuzzier than honeybees and stand out with their yellow and black stripes and some have colorful markings. Colorado is home to a number of native bumblebees.
The attached articles give some great tips on which plants that certain pollinators like Bumblebees will be attracted to and ones that are not. By adding just a few more of these plants each year to your landscape, you can make a significant difference in the number of pollinators that visit your garden. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Pruning Tomatoes Does Help Ripening! By Joyce D’Agostino

As noted in the recent article on this blog   Need to Ripen Green Tomatoes? Let's Party! by Carol King” dated 9/10/15,  the methods suggested are excellent ones to help you speed some last minute ripening.  

After a cool spring which slowed down the tomatoes and other warm weather vegetables, and then very hot and dry weather, the tomatoes ib my garden seemed to be taking their time ripening. I had heard about pruning your tomatoes to give the plants a break from trying to keep producing and turn their energy into ripening.
I did some light pruning, mostly to the tops of the tomatoes where there was new growth, blooms and some tiny tomatoes. Knowing that these little tomatoes would probably not reach maturity at this point in the season, I pruned them off along with the blossoms and some of the stems and hoped that this would help focus this energy into the ripening process.
It took about 10 days – 2 weeks, but I was surprised and happy to find that the full sized tomatoes, which seemed to be turning color all too slowly, finally ripening much faster. The daytime weather staying warm helped as well even though the nights are beginning to cool. 

It’s hard to see an end to summer and the tomato season, but when you do get well into August and you have full sized tomatoes that are taking their time to ripen, doing some pruning really does help to speed the process. My attached pictures showing the plants just two weeks apart show that it works and I can recommend this process to anyone who wants some last minute tomatoes from their garden. 

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Need to Ripen Green Tomatoes? Let's Party! by Carol King

Perhaps, dear gardener, you have a plethora of unripe tomatoes in your garden. I do not. I got perhaps 50 tomatoes from my “Sweet 100s” (thinking of changing its name to “Sweet Tens”), exactly two “roma” tomatoes, and four “early girls”. I have one plant that did not set one single tomato. That is it; failure of great magnitude. If you were more successful than I, here are a few tips on dealing with green tomatoes.

To speed-ripen on the vine try these:
• Stop watering. This encourages ripening.
• Root prune the plant. Dig into the soil 6-8” deep and cut around a circle 12” from the stem. Shake the plant but don’t dig it up. This will stress the plant and the fruit will ripen faster.
• Pinch off any flowers, small fruit, new shoots, and suckers. It’s too late for them to become anything. Do this now and all the plants energy will go toward ripening.

When frost is expected, try these:
• Cover the plant completely and anchor so the wind doesn’t blow it off. Use old blankets, thick plastic, or anything similar and make sure it goes all the way to the ground providing the plant with trapped warmth.
• Harvest the tomatoes by pulling the plant from the ground and hanging it upside down in a garage or other shelter. Check often for ripe ones.
• Pick the pink ones and put them on the counter to ripen
• Pick the green tomatoes and store them in a shallow tray lined with newspaper. They need 60-70 degrees and no light. The warmth ripens them not light.    For more information, try these Fact Sheets:  http://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1832.htmlhttp://www.colostate.edu/Dept/CoopExt/4dmg/VegFruit/ripening.htmhttp://www.ext.colostate.edu/ptlk/1831.html

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Fall Cleanup Tips – Chapter II: The Annuals Ornamental Garden by Peter Drake

Photo courtesy colorthegarden.com
Beautiful to look at through the summer season, whether as a border to your house or walkway, or as an island on your lawn space, there is no need to despair when your annual ornamentals start wilting, browning and showing other signs of setting seeds and finishing out their life cycle.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Common Garden Diseases and Solutions by Mary Small

POWDERY MILDEW- White or gray, flour-like substance on leaves, stems, flowers. Thin plant if growth is dense. Keep water out of plant canopy or apply it when it will dry fast. Apply sulfur or potassium bicarbonate or horticultural oils at first sign of mildew.

EARLY BLIGHT(tomato)- Lower leaves yellow; spots of concentric rings found on lower leaves. Keep water off foliage, or apply when it will dry fast. Chlorothalanil fungicide may be applied at first sign of infection.

FIREBLIGHT(crabapple)- Stem tips brown, bend over like shepherd’s crook and shrivel. Drops of bacterial ooze on branches. Prune branch 6-12 inches below visible signs of infection. Treat pruning tool between cuts with 1:9 bleach mixture or rubbing alcohol. (Clean tools when done.) Thin tree branches. Avoid over-fertilization.

CYSTOSPORA CANKER(aspen, cottonwood)-Sunken discolored areas on trunk and/or branches. Dark “pimples” found in cankered area. Branch dieback. Prune out affected branches below visible signs of infection. Keep tree healthy.

LEAF SCORTCH-Leaves brown on edges and in between veins. Often found in hot dry weather. Apply water to plant’s root zone during hot dry weather or when scorch appears.

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Noises of August by Donna Duffy

Cicada, photo courtesy CSU Extension

You’ve probably noticed that it's a noisy place out in the backyard with all that insect racket going on. Interestingly, only a few groups of insects communicate by rubbing their body parts together. What you are hearing are most likely cicadas, crickets and katydids. As you might suspect, it’s the males making all that commotion!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Aphids on Shade Trees By Joyce D’Agostino

Aphids photo by Joyce D'agostina
This summer I noticed some distinctive leaf curling on one of our shade trees. In checking it confirmed that there were aphids (lots of them) infesting this tree. The leaf curling in one sign of the damage that these insects can do. It is not only unsightly but left unchecked it can do damage to your tree.
Fortunately there are some solutions to reducing or ridding these insects from your plants. Aphids are very small, soft bodied insects. Using your hose on a hard stream, you can target the areas with a strong blast of water. This is very effective and if used regularly will reduce the population of these insects on your trees and plants. Check an area first with the water hose setting to ensure that you don’t damage the plant.  I noticed when I used this method that it did help remove a lot of the aphids from the curled leaves.  
Ladybeetles and Green Lacewings are also great natural predators of aphids. If you see these insects in your garden, moving them to the aphid area is very helpful.  Both of these insects are known to be able to eat a large amount of aphids, so make them a great non chemical use to help with aphid control.
Refer to these bulletins for more information on identifying and controlling the aphids.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Dividing Perennials by Donna Duffy

If your garden looks like mine, you probably have lots of overgrown perennials. The abundance of rain during the past couple of months has encouraged lots of plant growth. Take a walk around your garden and make note of plants that are ready to be divided.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Aphids Abound by Carol King


Aphid Honeydew on Ivy

 Sitting in my backyard has become an unpleasant experience.  I have lots of deciduous  trees and they all seem to have a large crop of aphids.  One evening as I looked toward the sun, I could see the aphid “honeydew”  (poop actually) pouring down like a gentle rain! When I come in from outside, I feel as if I am covered with aphids!  Is there a variety that feeds on humans?

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ascochyta Leaf Blight Damages Lawns by Mary Small

Aascochyta Leaf Blight in Bluegrass
Cool moist weather followed by hot dry weather often spells Ascochyta leaf blight on turf. The fungal disease kills leaf blades, creating irregular patches of straw colored turf. Fortunately, Ascochyta does not kill the crowns or roots of plants, so they will eventually recover within a couple of weeks.

To manage the disease, mow lawns 3 inches tall, making sure mower blades are sharp. (Dull mower blades create ragged tips on grass plants, providing the fungus more entry points.)

Keep the turf evenly moist. Check sprinkler heads to make sure they are working correctly, are not clogged, tipped or broken. It's better to water deeply and infrequently. Shallow watering encourages shallow rooting which makes plants more susceptible to drying out. Too much water in poorly drained soils can increase disease development. For more information about Ascochyta, see this CSU Extension fact sheet.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Leafcutter Bees by Joyce D’Agostino

Leaf cutter bee injury
Have you noticed curious semicircular cut outs in the leaves of some of your plants? This might mean that the busy Leaf Cutter bees are at work. 
Recently I noticed these cut out shapes on the leaves of some of my Alpine Strawberry plants. In researching more about them, I found that these bees are a beneficial insect, even though they may be doing some damage to your plants.
Leafcutter bees (Megachile spp.) are considered one of the important native insects here in the Western United States. They are solitary bees, meaning that they don’t live in a hives as do the social honeybees, but they are still very valued as a pollinator. 
When they make the cut and remove the leaf from your plant, it is not for a food source but used to build their nest cells. When they form their cell home, they then line each leaf cell with a mixture of nectar and pollen. The female bee lays an egg into the cell and seals it shut, which produces a secure environment for the eggs to develop. Leafcutter bees make their nests in soft rotted wood but they don’t cause damage to homes or other wooden structures. 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy Fourth of July!

Plant fireworks from scribal.com
Happy Fourth of July to all our favorite gardeners!  Here's a link to some amazing plant fireworks.


Thursday, July 2, 2015

Identifying Poison-Hemlock by Audrey Stokes

Poison-Hemlock (Conium maculatum).
Scientists recommend that you learn to identify and avoid plants that produce dangerous toxins. Your life may depend on it! Each year dozens of people die or are sickened by weeds they didn’t know would cause them harm. Gardeners and outdoor enthusiasts need to be well-informed in order to stay safe. Recently in Larimer County, a dog died from ingesting water hemlock. http://kdvr.com/2015/06/30/dog-eats-poisonous-plant-dies-within-1-hour/

Why are some weeds poisonous?  Most plants produce their own naturally occurring pesticide to deter predators so they won’t be eaten. No plant could survive without producing some defense mechanism. Most lists of Colorado’s toxic weed species that I researched were topped by the very dangerous Poison-hemlock (Conium maculatum). I found this especially alarming due to the fact that I have this weed growing on my property!  Originally imported from Europe as an ornamental plant, it has spread rampantly across North America.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Downy Mildew on Sunflowers by Donna Duffy

I always grow a few sunflowers at the edge of my yard every summer. They are a great conversation piece and a delight to the neighborhood kids and birds. Because of the rain, I got the seeds started late this year and they are up about 3" this week. I was checking them out and noticed a white fuzzy substance on the bottom of the leaves on two plants. After some research, I discovered this is Downy Mildew.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Snakes in the Garden by Donna Duffy

Every summer, I am greeted by garter snakes in my garden. I really do like having them there, I just don’t like to be surprised by them. Last year I was on hands and knees, reaching deep into some overgrown perennials, pulling out dead leaves and stems. When I pulled my hand out of the darkness, I discovered my fingers were wrapped around a snake. It wasn’t pretty for either of us: the snake went flying through the air and I ended up on my back. 

It was one of Colorado’s most common snakes, Thanmophis elegans, or the Western Terrestrial Garter Snake. Here are a few facts about this harmless snake from Colorado Herping.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Gardening Power to the People: Trellis / Vertical Gardening by Ed Powers

Watch this 4-minute video by Ed Powers, Jefferson County Master Gardener, about ideas for trellising and vertical gardening. Thanks, Ed!

Friday, June 12, 2015

Open Garden Day at CSU Horticulture Demonstration Garden by Patti O'Neal

CSU Master Gardeners of Jefferson County will be available for questions and tours of the gardens on Saturday, June 20th, from 8:00am until 1:00pm at the Horticulture Demonstration and Research Garden located at the Jeffco Fairgrounds.  

Master Gardeners tend this garden and build structures, demonstrate different planting styles and experiment with plants to show how to manage and increase harvest of produce in front range gardens.  They will be working in the garden this day and invite you to come and ask questions and take photos for ideas and learn about good gardening practices.  

Adjacent to this garden is our Plant Select garden where the public can see some really durable ornamental plants for Colorado.  We do not amend or water this garden other than what Mother Nature provides, so you can be sure these plants do incredibly well here.  

Come and bring questions, cameras or samples of plant problems from your gardens and Master Gardeners will help you to understand what’s happening this year and how you can help your plants to thrive. 

Please join us!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

June Lawn Care by James Johnston

This spring we have had an abundance of moisture and our lawns and gardens are benefiting from it. With its deep green color, Kentucky Bluegrass is in its glory…for now. Leap forward to late June/July with the watering restriction and take into consideration how to maintain your lawn. Whether your turf is a bluegrass, ryegrass, or fescue, proper watering techniques can promote a healthy lawn.

Kentucky Bluegrass or ryegrass lawns need anywhere from 1” in shady areas to 2.25” of water per week in full sun. This may be difficult to do with the restrictions but the following information may help you get the best results for your lawn.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Growing Sunflowers by Billi Mavromatis-Jacobson

Sunflowers, bright and brash, they’re beacons for butterflies and bees in your garden. Sunflowers are a New World native that exists throughout the whole of North America down to Central America.  They can be found at archeological sites dating back to 3,000 BC.

  For those of us who have placed our faces or cameras close to a sunflower in bloom, we know that the sunflower head is not a single flower as the name implies but is made up of over 1,000  individual flowers joined at a common receptacle. It is commonly believed that the sunflowers turn their heads to follow the sun each day but only the immature and developing flower heads do this. Sunflowers will grow in a wide range of soils from sands to clays. They prefer to be direct seeded after all danger of frost.  Plant when day and night temperatures are above 50 degrees Fahrenheit and optimum temperatures for growth are 70 to 78°F. Sunflowers need at least six hours of full sun a day and should be spaced per planting instructions.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Support for Vines by Rebecca Anderson

Photo courtesy of University of Minnesota Extension

Colorado’s summer sunshine really makes the squash, cucumber and melon vines take off in the garden. One way to keep them from taking over is to train them to a trellis before they get too big. Besides helping manage space, produce harvested from trellised vines is cleaner and, in the case of cucumbers, straighter than ones grown on the ground. Varieties that have fruit that matures at less than 3 pounds are the easiest to trellis. Some larger varieties can still be grown vertically, but will require some extra support.  

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Edible Flowers by Betty Cahill

Photo courtesy earthwards.com
Nothing sparks an "oh, my, how lovely" response more than beautiful, edible flowers in, on, or around food. It's a splendid presentation! Kids think it's cool to eat flowers (but only the ones you plant).

Monday, May 11, 2015

Gardening Power to the People: Growing Tomatoes in a Container

Did you know you can grow great tomatoes in containers? This video will show you how.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Successful Strawberries by Rebecca Anderson

Photo courtesy PlantTalk Colorado
Fresh strawberries are a sure sign that summer has arrived. Strawberries (Fragaria ananassa) do well along the Front Range, even at higher elevations, making them a crop that can be rewarding for home gardeners. When establishing a new strawberry bed, try to pick a site that has not had raspberries, cherries, tomatoes, potatoes or eggplants growing in the past 5 years. These plants carry diseases that can infect and decrease the productivity of the strawberries. Select a site that gets at least 8 hours of sun during the summer. A soil test prior to planting is ideal so the soil can be amended according to the pants' needs, but if not possible, work one to two inches of compost into the bed one month before planting. 

There are many strawberries varieties to choose from. They all fall in one of three categories: June bearing, ever bearing and day neutral. June bearers produce the earliest fruit that is the largest and some say the sweetest.  However, they bloom the earliest and are prone to blossom damage from our late frosts. Ever bearers are considered the hardiest for the Front Range. They produce a spring crop and a fall crop and a few berries in between main crops during the summer months. The day neutral varieties produce berries for 6 week intervals 3 times during the summer. For gardeners who are going to pick one variety, ever bearers are recommended. Varieties that do well here are Ogallala and Fort Laramie. Some gardeners like to plant a few of each type to hedge against any failures of a specific variety. June bearing strawberries recommended for this area include Guardian and Honeoye. Tristar and Tribute are recommended varieties of day neutral strawberries. 

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Hardening Off Seedlings by CJ Clawson

Photo by Judy Sedbrook, CSU
Most of us are in Colorado because we love the sunny days but the cloudy, overcast weather in our current forecast is really a gift for gardeners at this time of year because it's the perfect time for hardening off.  This is the process of acclimating your seedlings to the outdoors - an important step in gardening success.

You spent hours looking at seed catalogues and carefully selecting the vegetable varieties you wanted to grow.  You've babied your seedlings with the best possible care and now they are beautiful!  Please don't skip hardening off!