Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy Gardening in 2017!!


Monday, December 26, 2016

Symposium Sneak Peak: Vegetable Garden Planning - Why it Makes a Difference by Bill Orchard

Photo courtesy vegetablegardener.com

As the carpenter says, “measure twice, cut once,” so should the gardener say, “plan twice, avoid goof ups!” Planning ahead is the first way to avoid making costly mistakes when starting a vegetable garden. And now is the time to start planning. We are indoors for the next several months, so armchair gardening is the way to increase your knowledge – it will pay off when it comes time to start outside. It will make your garden a compliment to your existing landscape and provide you with an abundance of healthy vegetables.  Following are five best management practices to make planning go smoothly.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Merry Christmas!


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Celebrate the Winter Solstice by Donna Duffy


Photo BlueDotMusic

It feels like the days just can’t get any shorter, and it’s true. Today we celebrate the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. 

December Solstice (Winter Solstice) arrived at 3:44 am in Denver, today December 21, marking the moment that the sun shines at its most southern point (in case you are counting, the sun is about 91.473 million miles from earth today).  This day is 5 hours, 38 minutes shorter than on June Solstice. In most locations north of Equator, the shortest day of the year is around this date. To the delight of many of us, this means that the days will start getting longer, however incrementally.

The Winter Solstice is celebrated in many cultures around the world. It is a major pagan festival with rituals of rebirth having been celebrated for thousands of years. In the northern latitudes, midwinter's day has been an important time for celebration throughout the ages. Nova Scotians celebrate the Winter Solstice as Children's Day to honor their children and to bring warmth, light and cheerfulness into the dark time of the year. In pagan Scandinavia the winter festival was the yule (or juul). Great yule logs were burned, and people drank mead around the bonfires listening to minstrel-poets singing ancient legends. It was believed that the yule log had the magical effect of helping the sun to shine more brightly.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Beginning Vegetable Gardening Symposium January 28, 2017 by Amy Bubar

Jill Knussman Colorado Master Gardener using best practices in our demo garden.
Jefferson County CSU Extension Colorado Master Gardeners announce their 2017 Spring Gardening Symposium to be held on Saturday, January 28, 2017 from 8:45 AM to 4:00 PM at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.  Come join us for a full day of vegetable gardening excitement for beginning and intermediate gardeners in particular.

Morning Session:
Best Management Practices for Planning This Year’s Garden. Where do you start? Lear the basic planning skills to guarantee a great garden this year whether it is your first garden or you are trying to perfect the one you already have. 
The Dirt on Dirt. It is estimated that nearly 80% of all garden problems originate with the soil and lack of appropriate preparation.  Learn how to avoid problems and develop the best soil possible for the biggest and healthiest harvest ever.  
The 10 Easiest Vegetables to Grow in Colorado. Why not start with the most successful veggies to grow in Colorado?  You will not only get a list of the top 10 best, but we’ll tell you how to do it successfully as well as how to share techniques for succession planting to keep it interesting for three seasons.  
Lunch
Lunch and Learn Class (requires special registration – limited space)
Incorporating Flowers and Herbs into the Vegetable Garden.  Add some interest and variety to your vegetable garden by incorporating aromatic herbs and edible flowers to the mix.  Learn the best options for Colorado gardens and how to do it successfully.
Tomatoes.  The Holy Grail.  If you only grow one vegetable, make it a tomato!  So what are the secrets of growing the best tasting, best producing tomatoes?  Are heirlooms better than hybrids?  What are the most common things people do wron?  Learn this and more to make your tomato crop amazing.  
Starting Seeds or Transplants? What is best? What is easiest?  What’s the difference?  Variety?  Cost?  And the list goes on.  What are the best strategies for planting seeds?  Come get a great tutorial in starting your garden the best way possible for you.  
Container Vegetable Gardening.  Short of space?  No worries.  Almost any vegetable can be successfully grown in a container.  You will learn container planting strategies to maximize pleasure and production from your small space gardens.  
Let us help you step up your vegetable gardening success this year by taking your gardening skills up a notch. No questions unanswered! 

To register visit https://sprgardsymp2017.eventbrite.com. For more information call the Jeffco Extension Office at 303-271-6620.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Garden Gnomes for Christmas by Carol King

Photo fanpop.com
No doubt many a gardener will receive a  garden gnome for Christmas.  They are available at all the garden shops, big box stores, and even the grocery store in the produce section!  So why are gnomes given to gardeners?

Gnomes first appeared in European folklore as benevolent creatures who rewarded the good behavior of farmers, merchants, and housewives with assistance in fields, shops, and gardens at night. They also thought to ward off thieves from stores of grains and vegetables in barns. Why wouldn't any self respecting gardener want one or several?

Ceramic gnomes were first manufactured in rural Germany by Phillip Griebel in the middle of the nineteenth century.  From there they spread to England in 1847 and later to the USA. Garden gnomes have a rich history, but, as we well know, they (and their owners) have occasionally faced persecution from the general public.  The Royal Horticulture Society of Britain even banned the use of "brightly colored creatures" including lawn gnomes in 2006 at the Chelsea Flower Show.

I found another pitfall beside ridicule that might make you reconsider the garden gnome: they can become real pests in the garden. 

Watch this film from our cohorts at Utah State Extension for tips on Gnome Management.


I hope a garden gnome is in every gardener's stocking!





Saturday, December 10, 2016

Winter Leaves That Hang On by Donna Duffy


This Acer grandidentatum, Bigtooth Maple, is slow to drop its leaves in winter,  photo by Donna Duffy
Ever wondered why some deciduous trees hold on to their leaves through the winter and others go bare? Learn about marcescent leaves and why they might just help a tree out. The article below was written by Jim Finley, Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Ecosystem Science and Management.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Pamper Your Poinsettias! by Donna Duffy

Photo CSU Co-Horts
Many of us will adorn our homes with poinsettias this holiday season. You’ll have several colors (pink, white, variegated, even hand painted) to choose from in addition to the traditional deep red. Regardless of color, look for dark green foliage, and richly colored bracts (the modified, colorful leaves). Poinsettias are tender plants, and will drop their leaves very quickly if chilled. Be sure to protect the plant with a plastic sleeve as you leave the store or nursery.
Follow these tips to keep your poinsettia healthy and colorful.

Light: Find a location with very bright, indirect light. Don’t put it in a hot, sunny window.

Water: Apply water thoroughly whenever the pot feels light, or the soil is dry to the touch. If the leaves are wilting, water immediately. If your plant came in a basket, discard any standing water. If it is wrapped in foil, cut a hole in the bottom and put a saucer under the pot.

Fertilizer: Use an all-purpose indoor plant fertilizer until the poinsettia is in full color, then cut back and fertilize at ½ strength every third or fourth watering.

Temperature: Poinsettias don’t like cold, but they will appreciate a cool room (60-70°). Avoid hot or cold drafts from heaters, fans, fireplaces or ventilating ducts.

Poinsettias are native to Mexico and Central America. They came to the U.S. by way of our first ambassador to Mexico, Joel Robert Poinsett in 1825. Contrary to popular belief, the poinsettia is not poisonous. Even so, they should be kept out of reach of pets and small children.

For more information check this Poinsettia Fact Sheet.


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Choosing a Fresh Christmas Tree by Carol King

Photo CSU Extension
Are you thinking of getting a fresh Christmas tree this year? It seems that there are tree lots on every street corner and the choices can be overwhelming. Here are a few simple steps that will ensure you get the freshest tree and keep it that way.

At the tree lot:
  • Check that the needles bend rather than break with gentle pressure; 
  • Shake it carefully to look for needle loss; 
  • Check the cut end: it should be sticky with sap. 
If these conditions exist, buy the tree and take it home.

At home:
  • Make a new cut at the end of the trunk about an inch above the old one.
  • Keep the cut end standing in water, whether you decorate the tree immediately or not. This allows a fresh route for water to travel into the trunk. 
  • Check the tree's water level frequently, and refill as necessary. Fresh evergreen trees can take up an amazing amount of water. You may have to fill the reservoir several times a day. Don’t let the water level drop below the trunk, as a seal will formant prevent the tree from absorbing water.
  • Keep your tree away from heat sources such as a heating duct or television set. A fresh tree that receives good care should remain in safe condition indoors for ten days to two weeks.
You can also cut your Christmas tree at several U. S. Forest Service locations near the Front Range, provided you have a permit.  The USDA Forest Service web site , (Rocky Mountain Region Regional Christmas Tree Program) has information on where and when to get a permit, cutting dates and times, tips on caring for your tree including a recipe for a fireproofing mixture, and other details. There are also Christmas tree farms along the Front Range that allow you to “cut your own.” 

For more information on selecting the perfect tree check this CSU fact sheet: http://www.colostate.edu/Dept/CoopExt/4dmg/Garden/chritmas.htm

Enjoy that fresh tree!