Wednesday, October 17, 2018

PlantTalk: How to Winterize Your Rain Barrel (Video)

Time to put those rain barrels to bed! Heres how:

Monday, October 15, 2018

It's Time to Plant Spring-blooming Bulbs!

Photo by Donna Duffy

When your garden takes on its “fall-ish” look, it’s time to start thinking about planting bulbs for spring bloom. In Jefferson County, late September and early October are the best times for planting bulbs. This allows the bulbs to grow a healthy root system before the ground freezes.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Fall Cleanup Tips for the Vegetable Garden by Peter Drake

Photo courtesy PlantTalk Colorado

Whether you have made a vegetable garden in a raised bed, an in-ground bed, or a container, now is a very good time to plan for how you can clean up your garden, and put it in order for the winter months to better ensure that, come next year’s planting, your garden will possess good health and balanced nutrition.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Notes on Container Growing – 2018 By Joyce D’Agostino

Herbs, 6/28/18, photo by Joyce D'Agostino
Container gardening has long been used successfully for many vegetables, herbs and flowers. This year I had my chance to really test it out. We had planned to move at some time in 2018 but this move happened sooner than expected and in May, which left me right very close to the time to set out the young plants.  Since our garden area completion was delayed, and I had plants to get into the ground, I had to think quickly in order to have a place for all of the plants.
The good news is that I not only had quite a few containers on hand, but had also found some grow bags at my favorite garden center this spring that I planned to test out. These bags are made from a strong felt type fabric that allows good drainage. 

Friday, October 5, 2018

Summer Vacation is Over for Houseplants by Rebecca Anderson

Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima) that has spent the summer outside
Most houseplants are tropical and flourish with some outdoor exposure during the summer.  With cooler nights in the forecast it’s getting to be time to bring them back indoors.  Temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit will damage many houseplants, so keep an eye on those nightly weather reports.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

It's National Kale Day!

Photo courtesy National Kale Day

Did you know that today is National Kale Day? Here’s some information from the website.

National Kale Day celebrates kale’s incredible health benefits, highlights kale’s culinary versatility, and promotes eating, growing and sharing kale throughout America. National Kale day is the first Wednesday in October and is an annual celebration.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

When Frost Threatens – Take Action by Patti O'Neal

Frost can signal that the end of the gardening season is near – but not necessarily over.
I have a good friend who recently said “I am sick of the garden – I just want it to be over.”  If this is you, then when frost threatens, by all means do a final harvest of the tenders and call it done.  If it’s not you, there are many measures you can take to protect your crops from a killing frost incident, as more times than not, such an incident is followed here by an Indian Summer and at least another month of flower and vegetable enjoyment and harvest.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Don't Put Your Lawn to Bed Yet! by Rebecca Anderson

Photo by Donna Duffy
With fall approaching, everyone is looking forward to a break from the hot weather and summer yard chores of mowing and watering.  It's true that the grass isn't getting tall as quickly as it did in June, but that doesn't mean that it has quit growing.  In the fall, grasses are forming tillers: side shoots that thicken the grass and help it recover from losses that occurred in the more stressful times of summer. This side growth still requires some water, so don't roll up the hoses or blow out your sprinklers yet.  Water application of 0.5 to 0.75 inches per week is recommended by CSU for the months of September and October.  This is significantly less than the recommended 2.25 inches per week in the hottest months of summer, but is still more than our rainfall totals for most weeks.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Fall Needle Drop by Mary Small

Fall needle drop on Black Hills spruce, photo by Donna Duffy

Spruce trees often get attention in the fall. Their inner needles turn yellow or brown and drop off. To put your mind at ease, it’s not unusual for these conifers to shed interior needles beginning in late summer and continuing well into fall.  This is normal evergreen behavior. 

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Facts, Traditions and Folklore of the Autumnal Equinox

Photo courtesy bouldercast.com
Facts about the autumnal equinox: 

  • This year's autumnal equinox is on Saturday, Sept. 22, at 7:54pm in Colorado, marking the first day of fall in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • The sun crosses the Earth's equator at the time of the equinox, from the Northern Hemisphere into the Southern Hemisphere.
  • During the autumnal equinox, day and night are balanced to about 12 hours each all across the world.
  • In the far north, the autumnal equinox signals peak viewing of the aurora borealis or northern lights.The celestial display of brilliantly colored lights happens when charged particles from the sun strike atoms in Earth’s atmosphere, causing them to light up. These light displays peak around the fall and spring equinox. That’s because disturbances in Earth’s atmosphere—known as geomagnetic storms—are strongest at these times.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Fall Gardening Tips Video

Colorado State University Horticulture faculty and graduate students share their best inside information you can use in your garden.
 

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Colorful and Curious Gourds Provide Fall Interest by Joyce Agostino



Photo by Joyce D'Agostino

Every year when I plan my garden, I try to add a few items such as gourds, pumpkins and ornamental corn that will add some end of the season color and fun. Gourds are easy to grow and can be functional as well as decorative.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Fall Invaders: Insects in the Home by Mary Small

Box Elder Bug Photo clemson.edu

When days shorten and temperatures become chilly, folks often find uninvited guests – insects and their relatives- sharing indoor quarters. Although annoying and even startling, these creatures are just trying to hunker down for winter. They need to find shelter where temperatures hover between 40 and 50 degrees F. The west and south sides of a home can provide warm places to hang out as they search for prime real estate. They don’t need much of an opening on the home exterior to find it, either.  Many can squeeze into quarters using an opening the width of a credit card!
The best way to manage the intruders is to keep them out in the first place.  Look for exterior openings around windows, doors, etc., and caulk them. Examine door sweeps. Can you see light underneath the door? It’s time to replace the sweeps.  These steps will help keep the unwanted critters out and you’ll be increasing energy conservation, too!

Friday, September 7, 2018

The Aster Yellows Blues by Carol King

Echinacea varieties, photo by Donna Duffy

My latest indignity in the garden, (does it never end) is aster yellows in a cone flower, Echinacea purpurea.  A couple of years ago I noticed a Dr. Seussian blossom with funny shaped green things coming out of the flower. My research led me to this condition called aster yellows.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Harvesting Peppers in the Fall by Joyce D'Agostino

Early Jalapeño Pepper, photo by Joyce D'Agostino
If you have grown sweet or hot peppers this season, now is the time to prepare to harvest. Peppers are tender annuals that will not tolerate frost.

Many peppers begin green and then will turn color as they mature or ripen. The taste and heat of the pepper can vary from the green state to when they turn a color. If your peppers are the hot variety, refer to the seed packet information to learn the Scoville units that rates the heat of the pepper. 

Saturday, September 1, 2018

PlantTalk: Planting Garlic (Video)

Fall is the best time to plant garlic in Jefferson County. Here are helpful tips from PlantTalk Colorado!

Monday, August 27, 2018

It's Time to Divide Your Bearded Iris by Donna Duffy

Photo by Carol King
Iris are one of the superstars of the spring garden. Keeping them blooming year after year requires some work. Do you have bearded iris that you want to move, or that aren't flowering as well as they did a few years ago? It’s probably time to dig and divide them.

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Summer Fruit Season is Here By Joyce D’Agostino

Grapes, photo by Joyce D'Agostino

It’s that time of the summer, when your fruit trees are loaded with fruit that is ripening. Fruit have a number of vitamins, minerals and fiber that are great for your diet, so enjoy them fresh.

But if you have more than you can eat quickly, the bulletins below will give you great tips on how to can, freeze, dehydrate or make jams or jellies from your fruit to extend your enjoyment for later use. When you properly can, freeze and dry your fruit at peak ripeness, then they will retain these beneficial nutrients for months. Jams and jellies can also make great gifts.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Renovating the Lawn in Fall


Photo by Donna Duffy
Does your lawn have dead spots or thinning? Do you have sections that just aren’t thriving? Once you've ruled out irrigation problems, consider renovation of the turf - and fall is the perfect time to do it. Cool weather is optimum for growth of cool season grasses, and lower temperatures slow the drying of seeded areas, leading to better germination.  Following are tips for lawn renovation from Carl Wilson, CSU Horticulturist.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Tips for Saving Seeds By Joyce D’Agostino

Seed saving, photo courtesy modern farmer.org
Many of us enjoy starting our plants from seed. Some of these seeds may have been shared by friends or have been handed down through family members, which give them a special legacy of their own. Now that we are in late summer, there are many garden favorites that are producing and those that you may want to grow again next year.

Friday, August 17, 2018

Fruit Fly Control by Carol King

Fruit flies
This time of the year, when your counter if full of ripening fruit and the compost bin is loaded with peelings, seeds, and all the residue of the wonderful produce available this season, we find a problem pest flying around.  That annoying little creature we call the fruit fly.  

Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Entomology Specialist gives us this information about the fruit fly. 

"Vinegar flies, also known as small fruit flies, commonly develop in overripe or decaying fruit and vegetable matter. They are minute, light brown flies with orange-red eyes and rarely are they found very far from the fruit bowl. Numbers tend to build in late summer. If conditions are suitable and food is present, they may breed indoors.

Although associated with fruit, developing vinegar flies actually feed on yeasts. To eliminate a vinegar fly problem, use up overripe fruit, refrigerate it or discard it. At the same time, give attention to other breeding sites. Vinegar flies may, for example, breed in the moist residue that remains in the bottom of beer bottles or soft drink cans, as well as in other areas where moist organic matter allows for yeast growth. After all such food sources are removed, some residual adults may remain for a week or so, but ultimately will die out."

Also clean sinks and drains, empty indoor compost pails and set out baited traps. Here's and article on how to make your own fruit fly trap: lancaster.unl.edu/pest/resources/fruitflytrap.shtml


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Debunking a Hot Weather Watering Myth by Donna Duffy

Photo courtesy ehow.com

Perhaps you’ve heard it said that “watering plants on a hot sunny day will scorch their leaves”. It’s a myth! The following information, provided by Linda Chalker-Scott, PhD, Extension Horticulturist at Washington State University, debunks that myth once and for all!

Friday, August 3, 2018

How to Use Your Harvested Rainwater (Video)

If you have installed a rain barrel, here are best practices for using the water.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Celebrate Colorado Day!

Columbine, Aquilegia caerulea, Colorado state flower, www.statesymbolsusa.org
On August 1, 1876, president Ulysses S. Grant signed a proclamation admitting Colorado as a state. Colorado Day was celebrated as a state holiday on August 1 for many years, and then was moved to the first Monday in August, most likely after the time the U.S. Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill in 1968. The day no longer became a public holiday, but rather an observance, when the state started observing Martin Luther King Jr Day as a public holiday in 1985.  

Following are some Colorado natives that have earned designation as a state symbol.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Summer Mystery: Powdery Mildews by Olivia Tracy

Photo courtesy of M. Grabowski, UMN Extension
If you’ve gone out to your peonies and found that they look like someone dusted them with talcum powder, you likely have a case of powdery mildew. Varieties of powdery mildew can affect almost every type of plant (although particular infections are host-specific), and the leafy portions of the plant are typically most affected. The original whitish-gray, powder-like growth will eventually turn brown, and then black, and can ultimately cause leaves or buds to drop off the plant.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Five Things to Know For a Successful Fall Vegetable Garden by Patti O’Neal


Plant Lettuce now for Fall Harvest photo CSU Extension
Front Range weather has been especially challenging to gardeners this season.  After a fairly dry winter, spring presented with cold nights, freak snow storms, scorching heat and pounding rain and hail – and all of a sudden it’s mid July and we have had scorching heat!  But take heart.  One of the nicest growing seasons is yet to come; fall. 

There are many vegetables that will happily germinate from seed in the warm summer soil and thrive in the cooler temperatures of fall once they mature, and even taste better after a cold snap. This includes about 20 varieties of leaf and head lettuce, Swiss chard, radishes, kale, about 6 varieties of spinach, many oriental greens, onions, cilantro, peas, beets, turnips, arugula, carrots, kohlrabi and collards.  Even better news is that thinnings of all of these vegetables can be used in salads or soups.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

How to Harvest Summer Squash (Video)

Fine Gardening show us the nuances of harvesting summer squash.

The Cicadas are Singing!

Dog-day Cicada, Neotibicen canicularis
Did you know that Colorado has 26 species cicadas, all of the order Hemiptera?  It seems like the cicadas are earlier than usual this summer, I heard the first one in my garden at dusk in mid-July.  That's a bit disconcerting because according to folklore, the first cold spell arrives about 6 weeks after the first cicada serenade. But that's just folklore, right? Following are some interesting facts about cicadas.

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Create a Monarch Waystation




Monarch Watch is a nonprofit educational outreach program based at the University of Kansas that focuses on the monarch butterfly, its habitat, and its spectacular fall migration. 

Monarch Watch strives to provide the public with information about the biology of monarch butterflies, their spectacular migration, and how to use monarchs to further science education in primary and secondary schools. We engage in research on monarch migration biology and monarch population dynamics to better understand how to conserve the monarch migration. We also promote protection of monarch habitats throughout North America. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Mid-summer Lawn Care: Watering by Donna Duffy


Photo courtesy Donna Duffy
Here we are in the heat of July, and your lawn watering practices may need to be altered from those that were effective in spring and early summer. Following are mid-summer watering tips from Dr. Tony Koski, CSU Extension Turf Specialist.

Follow watering programs encouraged or mandated in your community
  • Water the lawn whenever it is allowed.
  • Disregard for required community watering practices can result in substantial fines and may encourage communities to enact even stricter watering restrictions.
  • Contact your local water utility for information on your local watering restrictions.

Effective lawn irrigation requires an understanding of how the irrigation system operates, as well as ongoing maintenance of sprinkler heads
  • Learn how to program your control clock so that you irrigate according to the schedule mandated for your community.
  • Set the clock so that irrigation occurs between 6PM and 10 AM (or as otherwise mandated).
  • Repair or replace broken irrigation heads.
  • Adjust irrigation heads to avoid throwing water on streets, driveways, and other hardscape.
  • If you find that adjusting or repairing your irrigation system is too time-consuming or challenging, hire an irrigation or landscape management specialist to perform this important work.
  • Your lawn care company professional may be willing to program your irrigation control clock for you.
  • Contact your local water provider for information on conducting an irrigation audit; some lawn care companies, landscape management firms, or irrigation installation firms will conduct an audit of your irrigation system for a modest fee.

Even with unlimited watering per irrigation zone on a twice-weekly basis, lawns often will show signs of stress
  • Summer root stress reduces the ability of root systems to use water.
  • Stress will first appear in areas where irrigation coverage is lacking.

The application of wetting agents specifically developed for use on turf is recommended to reduce the occurrence of water repellent conditions in lawns
  • Wetting agents can benefit lawns subjected to extreme drying over the past few months by promoting better infiltration of water into the soil; summer use may reduce the occurrence and/or severity of dry spots in the lawn (but will NOT totally compensate for poor irrigation coverage).
  • Wetting agents are available in both granular and liquid forms; granular formulations are often easier for homeowners to apply.
  • The use of dishwashing detergents and other soaps in place of turf-type wetting agents is not recommended and may damage heat- and drought-stressed lawns.
  • The incorporation of water-absorbing polymers (sometimes called "hydrogels") into new or existing lawns does NOT reduce lawn water requirements and is not recommended for Colorado lawns.

Curtis Utley, Jefferson County CSU Extension Horticulture Agent, conducting a Lawncheck with a Golden resident
If you need help diagnosing turf problems, schedule a Lawncheck through Jefferson County CSU Extension.
Lawncheck is an on-site, lawn consultation service for a fee. A Colorado State University Extension professional will contact you to make an appointment and discuss cost. Service includes recommendations for improving your lawn and solving insect, disease and other lawn problems. To schedule a Lawncheck appointment, call Jefferson County CSU Extension at 303-271-6620.
  




Thursday, July 12, 2018

Gardening Under Cover by Joyce D'Agostino

Photo courtesy Joyce D'Agostino
Most gardeners have to deal with a variety of weather and growing conditions each season. These challenges can include early or late frosts, too much rain or too little, excessive heat or a variety of garden pests or diseases.

Here in Colorado, many parts of our state lie within a band that goes through the US and is known for hail damage. Protecting your plants from this damage is a necessity if you want to see your garden grow from early planting to fall harvests and what is the best way to protect.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

What's Bugging my Roses? by Donna Duffy

It’s that time in early summer when roses come into full bloom. Their beauty and fragrance make them the superstars of the early summer garden. Undeservedly, roses have a reputation for being difficult to grow. In fact, very few rose diseases are found in typical Colorado growing conditions, primarily due to our high altitude and dry conditions. Even so, your roses may become afflicted with a rose pest or disease. Here are four common rose problems and their controls, courtesy of the Denver Rose Society.


Saturday, July 7, 2018

PlantTalk: Overseeding Your Lawn (Video)

Overseeding is a great way to manage bare spots in your lawn. Here are tips from PlantTalk!


Friday, July 6, 2018

Happy International Kissing Day! by Carol King

Hot Lips (Psychotria elata)
International Kissing Day was established in 2006 to focus on kissing and to celebrate the significance it holds in our society. What better place to share kisses than in the garden!  Here are four of my favorite “kissing plants”:

Polygonum orientale
Kiss-me-over-the-garden-gate (Polygonum orientale or Persicaria orientale) used to be very popular in the U.S. Originally from China, it was a particular favorite of Thomas Jefferson. (gardeningknowhow.com)

Psychotria elata
Hot Lips (Psychotria elata). Affectionately known as Hooker’s lips, Psychotria elata has colorful red flowers that attract many pollinators, including butterflies and hummingbirds. (pininterest.com)

Salvia microphylla ‘Little Kiss’
Salvia microphylla ‘Little Kiss’. Red and white bicolor blooms on this strong salvia. It is isease resistant with a long-lasting flowering season, (Southern Living Plant Collection)


Cupid’s Kisses’ rose

Cupid’s Kisses’ rose. Flowers have a distinctive ‘pink lipstick’ that shows on the white petal base color. (High Country Roses)

Now go out and share a kiss or two in the garden!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Summer Hummingbird Tips By Joyce D’Agostino


Photo courtesy National Audubon Society
Now that it’s July, hopefully you are enjoying the flowering plants you added to your garden to attract pollinators. In addition to the butterflies and bees, July also brings a second opportunity to bring colorful hummingbirds to your landscape. The hummingbirds will be looking for sources of food and will remain in the area for several months.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Happy Fourth from the Rose Garden! by Donna Duffy


The Fourth of July is about all things patriotic: freedom, independence, fireworks! You can celebrate these patriotic roses all summer long.

Many experts consider Fourth of July the best Rose introduced in the past decade. Its climbing canes reach 12 to 14 feet tall, with fresh, healthy foliage. North or south, east or west, it demonstrates uniform vigor and flower color. And it re-blooms beginning the very first year!

Sunday, July 1, 2018

How to Build a Native Bee Hotel

Native bee hotel, photo courtesy Modern Farmer
Some people think of bees as hive creatures with a nasty sting. But not all bees live in hives or have such an aggressive approach to self-defense. In fact, the great majority of native bee species live a solitary lifestyle and have puny stingers, which are virtually harmless and rarely used.

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Gardening Power to the People: Insect Puddles (Video)

Attract beneficial insects to your garden by providing a water source. Here's how!

Friday, June 29, 2018

Gardening Power to the People: The Power of Mulch



It's time to mulch! In this short video, Jill Knussman, Jeffco Master Gardener, gives you tips for using mulch in your garden.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Are You Unknowingly Harboring a Noxious Weed in Your Garden? by Donna Duffy


It’s easy to get hooked on flowers that are easy to grow, especially those that seem to be refreshingly trouble-free. Unfortunately, some of these qualify as invasive ornamental weeds, and their rapid growth causes a multitude of problems. These undesirable plants reduce native plant habitat, reduce habitat for wildlife, alter riparian areas, and cause problems in agricultural lands. Colorado Noxious Weeds are illegal to grow, even though they may be available on the internet and in some “big box” stores. Following are three Noxious Weeds to watch out for, and native and non-invasive alternatives you can grow instead.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Deadhead Flowers for More Blooms by Carol King

Deadheading cone flower will increase blooms
Midsummer can be an exciting time in the garden. The results of all the hard labor in the spring are beginning to be evident: lots of blooms, especially monarda, black eyed susan, shasta daisy, day lilies, lavender, Russian sage and yarrow; the annuals are looking great and the grass is still green enough!

It’s time for deadheading, pinching, cutting back, and disbudding. I know this sounds like torture techniques performed on some poor wretch in a medieval novel, but these actions are just what most blooming flowers need. These methods will increase and provide continuous blooms throughout the season. They also help to keep the garden tidy; flowers compact and help you get that special blossom you want to win the prize in the county fair!

Pinching: Use your fingernails and pinch the plant before blooming. Pinching achieves a bushy, compact, shorter plant; one with lots of blossoms that won’t fall over as readily as an unpinched plant. Flowers that benefit from pinching include: asters, ageratum, browallia, calendula, coleus, annual chrysanthemum, verbena, zinnias, petunias, and chrysanthemums. Pinch fall blooming perennials any time but stop on the Fourth of July so you will have fall blooms.
Deadheading: This is the act of removing spent flowers. Most annual and perennial flowers need to have the old blossoms removed in order for new ones to bloom. Not doing so allows the flower to go to seed and they will soon stop blooming. Flowers that benefit from deadheading include: pansies, day lilies, geraniums, rudbeckia, echinacea, coreopsis, yarrow, veronica, and roses.
Cutting back: Cutting back certain plants after they flower will cause them to bloom one more time later in the season. Cut the flower all the way to the leaf on lady’s mantle, catmint, sages, salvia and sea hollies and the like. You’ll get another session of blooms.
Disbudding: Want a show stopping dahlia or a prize winning rose? Disbudding is the key to those prize flowers. On dahlias, remove the two side buds next to the central bud at the end of each lateral branch. The flower that develops will be larger and will grow a longer and stronger stem. On hybrid teas, remove or pinch the secondary buds by the main bud; on floribundas and grandifloras, remove the terminal buds.
Encourage those blossoms! Pinch, deadhead, cut back, disbud!!

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Controlling Slugs in the Garden by Carol King

Photo CSU Extension
The wet spring and continuing storms have provided a banner crop of sugs in gardens along the Front Range of Colorado.  I see their slime trails each morning glistening in the sunshine and see evidence of their voracious eating habits on my hostas in particular.

Slugs are very destructive and difficult to control. Seedlings of many vegetables and flowers are favored foods, and they feed on many fruits and vegetables prior to harvest. Even the slime trails produced by slugs can contaminate garden produce.

Dr. Whitney Cranshaw, Professor and Extension Specialist of Entomology at Colorado State University recommends the following:

9
Photo gardenmyths.com

Techniques for Slug Control:
Reduce moisture in the garden. Slug populations depend on moisture in the garden to thrive.  Any effort  to reduce the amount of moisture will help with the problem.  Use of drip irrigation and soaker lines and overhead watering early in the day will help reduce the humidity they thrive on.
Remove hiding places for slugs. Removing surface debris,avoiding organic mulches (straw, grass clippings) increasing air movement around plants and using trellises and wider plant spacing will help in reducing slug populations.
Use traps or trap boards to kill or concentrate slugs. Slugs are attracted to chemicals produced by many fermenting materials. Thus pans of beer or sugar-water can attract, trap and drown slugs. Place them throughout the plant to reduce slug populations. Alcohol is not the attractant to slugs; its the yeast fermenting in the beer. Boards and wet newspaper placed on the soil surface will have slugs that seek shelter under them. Check these shelters every morning and kill any slugs found.
Plant trap crops to divert slugs from main crops. Slugs love some plants more than others so planting them will divert slugs from your prized plants. Good trap crops include: green lettuce, cabbage, calendula, marigolds, comfrey leaves, zinnias and beans.
Use repellents or barriers. Slugs don’t like to travel over abrasive materials. Diatomaceous earth, wood ashes and similar materials placed around plants provide some protection. These materials must be kept dry however. 
Apply baits according to label directions. Molluscicides are pesticides effective against slugs and snails, and are offered for sale in most garden centers. Read labels carefully and apply as directed.  Many of these are harmful to pets and other wildlife and cannot be used on vegetables. Metaldehyde is the most commonly used and effective molluscicide. It is sold often in the form of granular baits (Bug-Geta, etc.) or as a paste or gel (Deadline, etc.) It is not to be used in the vegetable garden and is harmful to dogs in particular.  An alternative bait that recently has become available includes iron phosphate (ferric phosphate) as the active ingredient. Trade names include Sluggo, Slug Magic and Escar-Go!, among others. Iron phosphate products can be used around edible crops and do not pose special hazards to dogs. Ammonia sprays make excellent contact molluscicides, but must be applied directly to exposed slugs. Household ammonia, diluted to a 5 percent to 10 percent concentration, is effective for this purpose.
For more information about slug control read this fact sheet: http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/insect/05515.html


Friday, June 22, 2018

Gardening Power to the People (Video): Insect Puddles

Did you know that insects need water to drink? An easy way for you to encourage pollinators in your garden is to make an "Insect Puddle." In this video, Colorado Master Gardener, Cathy Jo shows you just how to do it.


Thursday, June 21, 2018

Pollinator Week: Providing Water for Pollinators

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.  

Aphids in the Garden by Bernadette Costa

Aphid infestation, photo courtesy UMN Extension
As most of us have discovered, aphids are very common in home landscapes.  Sometimes called plant lice, they are small, soft-bodied, pear-shaped insects, generally less than 1/8” long.  Most are green or black but they can also be found in a variety of other colors as well.  A characteristic common to all aphids is the presence of cornicles, or tubes, on the back ends of their bodies, sort of like “tailpipes”.  These cornicles secrete substances that help protect the aphids from predators.  Over winter, aphids exist as eggs on perennial plants and hatch in the spring.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Colorado's Native Bees

Leaf Cutter bee with leaf, photo courtesy dakotabees.com

Colorado has over 950 species of bees, and all but a handful of these are native. Most of the few introduced (non-native) species that now call Colorado home were brought in accidentally. The most well-known non-native bee is the honey bee, an important pollinator of many of our agricultural crops, especially those that are also non-native. But our native bees, who for millions of years have co-evolved with our native flowering plants, are much more important, efficient, and effective pollinators for native fruits and vegetables. Many of these, like squash, tomatoes, and eggplants, cannot be pollinated by honey bees at all!

Happy Summer Solstice 2018! by Carol King

Photo Paintless Dog
Welcome to the longest day of the year! Summer Solstice is June 21, 2018 in the northern hemisphere and in Jefferson County, Colorado, arrives at 4:07 a.m. MDT. The Summer Solstice is an astronomical event that happens when the sun is directly above the Tropic of Cancer. This day has more hours of daylight than any other day of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere, Solstices occur on June 20th or 21st each year.

 It is also known as Midsummer’s Day as it occurs in the middle of our summer. Summer Solstice is considered to be halfway through the growing season for gardeners above the Equator. It marks the 1st day of summer and is celebrated by various cultures, and customs around the world. Celebrating Summer Solstice dates backs thousands of years. It was celebrated by the Ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and the Celts. Summer Solstice is associated it with good harvests and fertility, and abundance in your garden. 

Happy Summer Solstice to one an all and here’s to an abundant harvest! Here’s more information: Astronomy Facts About June.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Save Our Pollinators: What You Can Do by Patti O'Neal

Photo by Donna Duffy
Do you enjoy any of these foods?  Avocados, Blueberries, Apples Cherries, Chocolate, Coffee, Peaches, Vanilla?  What if you did not have them any longer?  What would your world look like then? 
Did you know that insect pollinators – primarily social and solitary bees – are responsible for pollinating 35% of the world’s crop production, increasing outputs of 87 of the leading food crops worldwide as well as many plant-derived medicines.  At least one third of the world’s agricultural crops depends upon pollination provided by insects and other invertebrates.  

Monday, June 18, 2018

National Pollinator Week 2018: Gardening for Pollinators

Pollinators on Opuntia bloom, photo by Donna Duffy

June 18-24, 2018 has been designated National Pollinator Week. Now is the time to add pollinator-friendly plants to your landscape. Following are landscaping tips from the Colorado Native Plant Society and the USDA Forest Service to help you get started.

Gardening Power to the People: Trellis / Vertical Gardening (Video)

Trellising can be an important part of your vegetable garden. Not only does it help expand your planting space, it's a great way to grow many vegetables. Here's a video with Colorado Master Gardener Ed explaining may kinds of trellis.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Rose: The Official Flower of Father's Day by Carol King

Father's Day Patio Rose
The rose is the official flower for Father’s Day and became so because of one of the founders of Father’s Day in the United States.  In 1910, Sonora Smart Dodd, from Washington State,  recognized the need for a Father’s Day after hearing a Mother’s Day sermon in church. She lost her mother at the age of 16, was reared by her father and became very passionate about the need for a Father’s Day. At the first Father's Day celebration, young women handed out roses at church, with attendees encouraged to pin on a rose in honor of their fathers– red for the living and white in memory of the deceased. Hence the rose became the official flower of Father’s Day. 
It wasn’t until 1972, during the Nixon administration, that Father’s Day was officially recognized as a national holiday.

Friday, June 15, 2018

DIY Rain Barrel Installation (Video)

Thinking of installing a rain barrel? This video from PlantTalk Colorado shows you how!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Conglobation (Think Pillbugs): June Word of the Month

Armadillidium vulgate, common pillbug, photo courtesy pbs.org

Conglobation is a term often associated with the common pillbug because of the way they roll up into a ball. This is called conglobation. Rolling into a ball is why many people call them 'roly-polies'. When pillbugs are threatened or bothered, they roll into a ball, likely to protect their soft inner body. Rolling into a ball could also limit water loss. When moving, they alternate between gradual right and left turns so that they end up moving straight forward.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Gardening Power to the People: Pollinators—Bee or Wasp? (Video)

Not all flying insects are "bees." Here's a video that will help you distinguish between two important pollinators:

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Watch for Codling Moths on Apple and Pear Trees

Adult Codling Moth, photo courtesy CSU Extension
For the first time in several years, we didn't have a late spring freeze in 2018! That's good news for fruit production in Jefferson County. The fruit trees are already showing signs of a banner fruit yield. Watch your apple and pear trees for codling moth - it's the most important insect pest of these trees in North America.  Damage is done by the larvae, which are cream-colored caterpillars that tunnel fruit and produce ‘wormy’ apples.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Spittlebugs in the Garden by Carol King

Photo Media Space
While weeding near my bee balm (Monarda), I saw several patches of a frothy white substance on the leaves. Upon further study, I discovered that I have a small infestation of the spittlebug (Cercopidae: spp) Aptly named, the white froth is what the immature spittlebug or nymphs surround themselves with as they feed on plant tissue.

Adult Spittlebug Oregon State University
Adult spittlebugs are inconspicuous, often greenish or brownish insects, about 0.25 inch long. While spittlebugs suck plant juices and can distort plant tissue and slow plant growth, they do not seriously harm plants. As they don’t cause significant damage, just wash them off with water if their appearance bothers you. Otherwise, enjoy yet another fascinating bug in action!

Here’s more information:
 http://www.ipm.ucdavis.edu/PMG/GARDEN/VEGES/PESTS/spittlebugs.html