Saturday, July 31, 2010

U.S. Farmers Cope With Roundup-Resistant Weeds

 As weeds  become more and more "Round-Up" resistant, what's a farmer to do?  Read this article about this growing problem in the farming community.  It will no doubt eventually affect the home gardener as well.

U.S. Farmers Cope With Roundup-Resistant Weeds -

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Check Your Tomatoes! Psyllids Have Arrived by Mary Small

Better check your tomatoes!  Tomato/potato psyllids have arrived from the south and are wreaking havoc in area gardens. 

Psyllids are small sap-sucking insects. Their saliva is toxic to tomatoes and potatoes and can cause them serious damage.  Unless you know what you’re looking for and are checking regularly, the insects can go undetected until it’s too late. Here are some psyllid-detecting tips.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Home Invasion! False Chinch Bugs by Mary Small

Hot dry weather can be a problem for our garden plants, trees and lawns.  But it can also create problems with insects known as false chinch bugs.  And in turn, they cause problems for humans!

False chinch bugs are small, grayish insects that feed on a variety of plants in Colorado including weeds and mustard family crops such as canola and radishes.  They suck sap from plants but are rarely destructive.  Most of the time, we don’t even know they’re around.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Great Insect Web Links of Interest to Colorado Gardeners

Here are some recommended insect links from Whitney Cranshaw, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension Entomologist: 


Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Brown Spots in the Lawn by Mary Small

Does your lawn have a case of “those horrid brown spots”? You’re not alone.  Mine’s got them, too. When spring rains and cool temperatures are followed by hot dry weather, brown patches and spots just seem to appear out of nowhere.  One of the most common causes is an improperly adjusted sprinkler system.

Check to see how yours is functioning.  Manually turn on each zone and observe where the water is and isn’t going.  When my husband and I did this, we discovered that one sprinkler head was knocked out of alignment.  Instead of heading for the lawn, the water was making a direct hit on a nearby shrub.  Some water made it past the shrub, but quickly dropped to the ground.

In another location, the sprinkler head popped up part way and was only irrigating a small area.  In a third spot, we discovered a partially plugged head. No wonder we had brown spots!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hot Enough For Ya?? by Gardener Janet

OK, today was one of those July days we know is inevitable; but the first day each season that it really hits near that 100 degree mark – that’s when I make gazpacho.  Gazpacho is a traditional Spanish cold soup combining tomatoes, tomato juice, olive oil, and vinegar as well as finely chopped vegetables; nothing is cooked, only chilled in the refrigerator.  I first tasted gazpacho in Spain about 25 years ago.  Ah…….I ate so much that the acid in the vinegar burned my mouth…(so my advice is: don’t eat it at every meal except breakfast for two weeks). 
Nothing says summer is here better than a cold, healthy bowl of gazpacho on the first scorching day of the summer.  It doesn’t matter if your garden tomatoes are not quite ready yet, or you haven’t yet harvested the first cucumber.  The farmer’s market or grocery store can help out during this heat wave in advance of harvest!
I usually start with the recipe found in “Colorado Cache Cookbook” (look under Mexican food).  Then I adapt with what I have in the garden (or the refrigerator):

Friday, July 16, 2010

Bug News from Whitney Cranshaw

Locally, I have seen a sharp uptick in aphid populations on woody plants and ornamentals in the past week. Not surprising with the wet and generally cool spring conditions. Furthermore, I am not seeing alot of predator activity (lady beetles, lacewings, syrphid flies) so I suspect that the next couple of weeks will see them spiking, crashing when the predators finally catch up and the succulent new growth ceases.

(As a side note I was watching an ash sapling that had serious leafcurl ash aphid injury developing. However, when I checked them yesterday, most of the leaf curls had been cleaned out by earwigs. They completely consumed all the aphids in the curls where they had been harbored.)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Eating Weeds

Tired of weeding? Try eating them instead! Here's a cool old article about growing and eating the weeds in your garden! | Horticulture Magazine Articles

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Does Goldenrod Cause Hayfever?

We have all heard it and assumed it to be true: Goldenrod causes hayfever. Right?

Well, dear gardener, it seems not! Read this article from Horticulture Magazine. Takes the "achoo" right out of the flower.

Horticulture - Does Goldenrod Cause Hayfever?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Recent Plant Diseases in Jefferson County by Mary Small

Cool moist spring weather contributed to the development of oak leaf blister, a fungal disease.  Infected leaves develop light green blisters or bulges that later turn brown.  The problem often goes unnoticed until leaves drop prematurely beginning in mid summer. 
While unattractive, tree health is not usually affected. However, yearly infestations of oak leaf blister can weaken a tree, making it more susceptible to other problems.  Maintain good tree health.  In fall, rake up fallen leaves and dispose of them.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Tarragon…Pretty to Look at and Tastes Good Too! by Gardener Janet

As I wait for the vegetable garden to begin producing, it is fun to come up with new ways to use the herbs in my garden.  Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus – or Dragon’s Wort) is a great perennial herb that nestles right into my perennial garden, providing interesting long, slender leaves and great texture.  It reaches about 2 – 3 feet in height and about 1.5 feet wide.  Tarragon is hardy in Colorado and grows in well-drained soils in full sun/part shade.   Leaves can be used fresh or dried and used in the winter in stews and soups.

Tarragon is most commonly used in chicken, fish and egg dishes, but I decided to try to jazz up a Father’s Day pasta salad with Tarragon.  Reviews around the table (including Dad, Morfar (means mother’s father in Swedish) and Uncle) were positive!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Herbicide Injury by Mary Small

We have been blessed by an abundance of rain this spring.  It’s been great, not only for our gardens, but also for those pesky weeds.  Just as there are a variety of weeds, there are a variety of ways to manage them.  One of the most common methods is spraying them with herbicides (weed killers).  When used according to label directions, herbicides are quite successful.  However, some users fail to read the directions and that’s when problems occur.
We’ve started to see herbicide injury to garden plants in the CSU/Jefferson County Extension plant clinic.  Growing tips are twisted and curled; leaves may appear twisted, cupped or narrower than normal.  Leaf stems (petioles) may be twisted or curled.  Garden plants such as tomatoes, beans and lilacs are very sensitive.  Unfortunately, herbicides don’t “know” the difference between a desirable and an undesirable plant.   And it doesn’t have to be you that applied the product; herbicides can move from their target area (ie, a lawn) under the right conditions.
What can you do to avoid problems with herbicide injury? 

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Viburnum Bacterial Blight by Mary Small

If your viburnum leaves are sporting brown and yellow speckles, better get out the pruners!  These leaves are infected with Pseudomonas blight, a bacterial disease.  Cool moist spring weather is partially responsible for its appearance this year.
The disease over-winters on buds and twigs.  During springs like we just had, bacteria is splashed from the wintering sites to the leaves, creating brown, angular spots often surrounded by a yellow “halo”.  In severe infections, leaves become distorted and twig tips may die.
Prune out the damaged areas, disinfecting your pruning tool between each cut with rubbing alcohol, a 1:9 bleach/water solution or a disinfectant spray.  The treatment helps prevent accidental bacterial introduction to healthy tissue.
Also take time to thin or prune the affected viburnum so there is better air movement in the canopy of the plant- which also helps reduce infection.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Iris Leaf Spot by Mary Small

Cool moist spring weather is partially responsible for the appearance of iris leaf spot, a fungal disease.  Leaf spots are most noticeable on the upper half of iris leaves.  They are oval-shaped with tan to gray centers and red-brown borders.  During summer, infected iris leaves may die back prematurely from the tip.

This fungus over-winters on dead leaves and stems, so one way to reduce the problem is to clean up the garden in the fall. This removes infected plant material which reduces the amount of fungal matter in the garden next season.

 Dig and replant iris (about 6 weeks after blooming) to keep them from becoming crowded.  Close plantings encourage poor air circulation which creates good growing conditions for the fungus.  Crowded plants also make it easy for fungi to splash from plant to plant, spreading the disease.

In most cases, good cultural practices (fall cleanup and plant thinning) keep the problem low in our western climate.  Fungicides are rarely needed.