Monday, August 29, 2016

How to Store Fruits And Vegetables for Winter by Carol King

Photo CSU Extension
If you have had a successful year in your garden or purchased an abundant amount of fresh fruits and vegetables from the Farmers’ Markets, farm stands, or from your CSA membership, it’s time to put that food away for the winter!

There are several choices for over wintering produce. Your main objectives should be safety and preservation of flavor and nutrition. These fact sheets from Colorado State University Extension will give you careful advice and processes for the best food storage systems.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Debunking Gardening Myths By Joyce D’Agostino

Photo by Carol King
Most of us have limited time and money to spend on gardening. Any tip or advice that is correct and timely is valuable so that we can enjoy the best success each gardening season.
We read information in publications or online, and know that there are many sources that post gardening and growing information that is based on information handed down, "old wives tales", made up, or advice from  books, magazines or "so called" garden gurus on television. Sometimes applying that information to your own garden can prove to be disappointing.
To bypass spending your efforts on the wrong information, a wise tip is to always seek out research based information. Even people well known in the gardening world may be passing along information that is partially or sometimes totally incorrect. Research based information which comes from institutions like Colorado State University, are based on proving or disproving information using scientific methods. This helps you know the information is based on fact.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Giants of Summer by Donna Duffy

Photo courtesy Donna Duffy and Cassie Wilborn
One of the more fun aspects of gardening is growing something that is really big! This time of summer, the garden giants are in their prime, adding exceptional size and wonder to the landscape. Following are four easy “giants” to grow in your gardens.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Top Ten Reasons Everyone Should Plant a Fall Vegetable Garden – And the Time Is Now! by Patti O'Neal

Many people are just beginning to see production on their tomatoes.  So it may be hard to think about what you will eat in October and November when your tomatoes are gone, but now is the time to think about that.  Colorado is well suited to fall gardening and winter harvest and it can be done successfully almost anywhere.  If you’ve never tried it, here are 10 reasons why you should.

Winter Hardy Rainbow Swiss Chard

1.  Gardens can be any size – So anybody can do it.
Fall crops are primarily greens and root crops, so they are very well adapted to container gardening, table top raised beds, raised beds of all kinds.  They are also well suited for intensive planting, so you really can get a big bang in a small space.  So even if you start with one container of spinach this year – do it.  You’ll catch the bug and increase it next year.

2.  There are many vegetables that thrive in fall front range gardens and can be planted NOW!
Beets, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, kale and chard can all be planted now.  August is the best time to plant arugula, cabbage, endive, spinach, cilantro and September you can plant bush peas, radishes, Chinese greens, more spinach and lettuce and the list goes on. Where it gets really interesting is in the varieties of each crop that is possible to try.  My fall garden has no fewer than 5 varieties of spinach, 10 varieties of lettuce and 4 Chinese vegetables, like Pac Choi and Bok Choi  and 3 kales to name a few.  Salads and stir fries are never the same. September or October is the time to plant garlic.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Celebrate the Games of the XXXI Olympiad Rio 2016 With Roses by Carol King

"Olympiad" photo emeraldstudiophoto.com
The first Olympics is dated to 776 BC; similarly, ornamental roses have been cultivated, dating to 500 BC in Mediterranean countries, Persia, and China. Since the 1950’s roses have taken their names from many sources, from well-known public figures to seasonal occurrences and even the Olympics.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Colorado Cicadas by Rebecca Anderson

Dog Day Cicada (Tibicen dorsatus), photo courtesy CSU Extension

I've seen some news articles lately about 2016 being the year of the cicada in parts of the eastern United States.  Brood V of the 17-year cicada, made up of the species Magicicada cassini, M. septendecim and M. septendecula will emerge when the soil temperature reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit and grace a six-state region with their song.  The emergence is expected to occur in May.  The last time this particular group of cicadas emerged was in 1999. 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Blossom End Rot in Tomatoes by Carol King

Photo by Carol King

It seems that all the tomato conversation lately has been about blossom end rot. The Plant Clinic reports that numerous examples have come in concerning it in tomatoes, squash, eggplant, and peppers. The gardening hotline at the Extension Office is buzzing with rot questions. There’s obviously a lot of rot going around.

So what is this nasty sounding ailment? It starts at the end where the blossom was and begins turning tan, then a dry sunken decay sets in. The lesion enlarges, turns to dark brown to black and becomes leathery. Thus the blossom end begins to rot.

It shows up especially in the first fruit of the season and after the fruit is well on its way to development. In severe cases, it may completely cover the lower half of the fruit. Both green and red fruit develop it. It’s not a pest, parasite or disease process but is a physiological problem caused by a low level of calcium in the fruit itself. In other words, dear gardener, IT’S ALL YOUR FAULT!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Providing Water for Pollinators by Donna Duffy

Swallowtail drinking from a mud puddle, photo courtesy offset.com
Creating a pollinator-friendly garden goes beyond providing pollinator-friendly plants. Pollinators need sources of water for many purposes, including drinking and reproduction.  Butterflies, for example, will gather and sip at shallow pools, mud puddles or even birdbaths.  

Monday, August 1, 2016

Transpiration-Vegetables Wilting in the Sun by Joyce D'Agostino

Photo by Carol King

Have you ever hurried home after work, looking forward to some quality gardening time only to find some of your pumpkins and squash look like they have died?
If the wilt is not caused by insects, then chances are what you are observing is called Transpiration. This process is normal and your plants will likely bounce back later to their former healthy appearance once the temperatures cool down. 
Transpiration is the loss of water vapor through the stomata of the leaves. The stomata is the outer layer of the leaf’s outer “skin” layer. 
Plants that often show dramatic transpiration are ones like pumpkins, squash and gourds which may develop very large leaves. Transpiration actually is a very effective process for the plant to move minerals up from the root, to help cool the plant and for the “turgor pressure” which helps non-woody plants have their form and shape. 
Help your plants handle their transpiration efficiently by keeping them well hydrated, watering in the cool time of the morning. Once your hot day cools down, you can recheck your plant and the soil area. Chances are that your plant has sprung back up to its normal shape and will continue on with healthy growth and production. If your area seems especially hot and dry, using some light shade cloth may help protect your plant from sunburn as well.
For more information on transpiration and other related processes, refer to this GardenNotes publication: