Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Top 2018 New Year’s Resolutions for a Great Garden in Colorado by Carol King

Photo Wikipedia Commons
Having a thriving garden in Colorado can be a challenge with our erratic, weather, water restrictions, and heavy clay soils.  However making these seven resolutions will give you a much greater chance for a successful garden.
  1. Get a soil test from a reputable soil testing lab before adding any amendments. Adding amendments without knowing what your soil needs is, at best a waste of money and at worst harmful to the soil and your plants. The Soil Testing Laboratory at Colorado State University is a great place to start:
  1. Use mulch in the garden to suppress weeds and hold in moisture.  Mulches also improve water penetration and air movement; control soil temperature fluctuation; protect shallow-rooted plants from freeze damage and frost heave and improve soil structure and nutrient availability. This CSU fact sheet will help you choose the most appropriate mulch for your garden:
    Photo Modern Farmer
  1. Use drip irrigation in the vegetable garden. It will put water where it needs to be (roots) and help prevent fungal diseases such as: powdery mildew, black spot, rust, and botrytis blight. Drip irrigation stretches water supplies and may be exempt from water restrictions imposed during drought. Methods for installing drip systems can be found in ths CSU Fact Sheet:
  1. Make wise choices in plant selection for your garden by: choosing plants that are drought tolerant, PlantSelect, and or native plants; choosing the right plant for the right place and choosing species that will thrive in Colorado. Here are some links to help you in those selections:   Plant Select: Colorado Native Plant Society:  Xeriscaping Perennials and Annual Flowers:
  1. Follow a responsible schedule for maintaining your lawn by watering properly, fertilizing appropriately, mowing to the right height, and aerating the sod. Here’s a fact sheet with very specific lawn care recommendations:
  1. Minimize the use of pesticides in the garden. These chemicals can be poisonous and can pose a danger to animals, people, especially children and beneficial insects.  Here is a helpful link: Alternative Pesticide Management in the Home and Garden
  1. Call your local county Colorado State University Extension with questions about your home garden. Jefferson County CSU Extension is at 303-271-6620.
By following through on these seven resolutions, you may have the best garden ever in 2018!