Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Growing Tomatoes in Colorado by Carol King

Photo CO-Horts
Tomatoes are the most popular vegetable to grow in the home garden in the US. In fact 93% of American gardening households grow tomatoes!

Here are a few fun facts about tomatoes: 
  • The tomato plant originates from the family of Nightshade plants (potato, tobacco, chili peppers) in Central America. It was domesticated around 500 BC by Aztecs and used not only as a food, but also as powerful (and dangerous) hallucinogenic.
  • It is speculated that there is over 25 thousand tomato varieties.
  • Americans obtain more vitamins from tomatoes than from any other vegetable.
  • An average American eats around 24 pounds of tomato each year.
  • Americans have increased their tomato consumption 30% over the last 20 years. In the last few years however, salsa has replaced ketchup as the top selling condiment in the United States.
It’s finally time to plant tomatoes here along the Front Range in Colorado and this CSU Fact Sheet has all the information you need to have a great tomato crop: 

Interested in container grown tomatoes?  Try this video: 

Other interesting Tomato Facts can be found at http://www.vegetablefacts.net/vegetable-facts/tomato-facts/
Happy gardening!

Friday, May 20, 2016

Jefferson County Master Gardeners in Service: Horticulture and Demonstration Garden by Jill Knussman

Photo by Jill Knussmann
Did you know that Jefferson County Master Gardeners have a demonstration vegetable and fruit garden at the fairgrounds? For the past two years, hundreds of pounds of produce have been grown in these garden beds and donated to local food banks. We invite you to visit and see what you can learn about growing produce.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Through the Eyes of a Potato: History From a Potato's Perspective by Randy Wilkerson

Russet Burbank Potato, photo courtesy Wikipedia
My official name is Solanum tuberosum, but you can call me potato. I was born in the Andes of South America, probably near Lake Titicaca on the border of what is now Peru and Bolivia, but some of my ancestors probably came from Chile. My parents were members of the Nightshade family, so that makes me a Solanaceae. Some of my relatives include tomatoes, eggplants, chili peppers and petunias.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Prevention of Deer, Elk and Rabbit Damage to the Home Landscape by Peter J. Drake

Photo courtesy nps.gov
Whether you are justifiably proud of your long-standing, carefully-nursed hedge and flower beds, or you are just starting out in shaping your home yard into the plantscape of your dreams, you have probably already confronted, worried about, and tried to deal with wildlife damage—particularly, for Colorado at this time of year, the damage resulting from activities of deer, elk and rabbit.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

A Brief History of Honey Bees by Rebecca Anderson

Honey bee (Apis mellifera) foraging in a Five Spot wildflower (Nemophila maculata).

Honey bees (Apis mellifera) have populated our planet for eons.  Fossil evidence of the earliest bee ancestors date to 130 million years ago.  About 80 million years ago, bee fossils started showing characteristics of social structure.  Recent genetic analysis of modern honey bees point to the insects originating in Asia, not Africa as previously thought.  Humans have interacted with bees for millennia.  Rock art from 25,000 years ago depict honeycomb and wild honey bee hives.  Residue of beeswax has been found on artifacts dating back 9000 years.  These artifacts were located in various regions including Europe, the Near East and North Africa.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Inviting Daphne to Your Garden by Rebecca Anderson

Daphne in bloom in April, photo by Rebecca Anderson
The daphnes (Daphne sp.) are a group of broadleaf shrubs that add interest to gardens around the world.  There are nearly 100 species of daphne, which are in the same family as thyme (Thymeaceae).  The most common species in the United States are the D. xburkwoodii, hybridized by British brothers Albert and Arthur Burkwood who were accomplished nurserymen in the 1920's.  The 'Somerset' cultivar is the original popular variety.  A beautiful mutation of 'Somerset' was discovered by New Jersey gardener Carol Mackie in 1962.  Since then, the 'Carol Mackie' cultivar has been widely propagated.  It is listed as hardy in zones 5 to 9, although many gardeners in zone 4 have had success.  'Carol Mackie' joined my flower bed in 2007 as an impulse purchase, and has really made herself at home since.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Don’t Miss the Boat: It’s Time to Plant Cilantro! by Amy Bubar

Cilantro, photo courtesy CSU Extension
I had the most delicious soup the other day at my favorite neighborhood eatery.  Creamy and rich, it also had the unmistakable fresh, bright essence of a certain herb, which served as the perfect reminder:  Now’s the time to plant cilantro!