Saturday, July 30, 2011

What Does Grow Under Pine Trees? By Nancy Szilagyi

Everyone has seen those bare spots under pine trees.  Do you wonder why?  Perhaps you have heard that nothing likes to grow in such acidic soil.  The needles are thick under these trees. They must just make the soil too acidic for anything to want to live there. That’s what I thought.

Recently, I took an on-line class given by Dr. Tony Koski, professor at CSU and Extension Turfgrass Specialist.  I learned that our soil here in Colorado is very high pH--free lime.  Although pine needles fall in abundance, there could never be enough pine needles to lower the pH. Fallen needles may SLOWLY make the soil more acidic, but more likely for the better since it neutralizes the lime. It takes decades to change pH and will not decrease by more than .5 units. There goes that myth!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Patti Douglas – Gardening and Giving by Ellen Goodnight

Patti Douglas "Raised Bed Queen"
Patti Douglas, a Jefferson County CSU Colorado Master Gardener for seven years, could easily hold the moniker of 'Raised Bed Queen' as she tends 20 raised beds in her Wheat Ridge garden. Yet there is much more to this inquisitive and giving gardener.
Born and bred in Michigan, Patti was raised on fresh fruits and vegetables from her mother's cooking to produce from an aunt and uncle's farm within biking distance. The seeds of her appreciation for good food and how to grow it were obviously sown in her childhood years.

In 1973, Patti moved to Steamboat Springs, Colorado to ski and lived the mountain life which always included gardening. She moved to the Denver metro area in 1983, attended massage school, got married and had a “darling daughter”, gardening all the while.  Today, Patti still maintains an active Lymphatic Massage practice and teaches Yoga and Tai Chi.   If that's not enough, she is also an artist and a rug braider.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

How To Make a Worm Farm With Your Kids by Jill Knussmann

Jeffco Extension 4H Cloverbuds  Show Off Wormerys!

In the dog days of summer, take a step into the cool shade to do a project with the kids.  Fact: Kids love worms.  Therefore, what could be better than making a worm farm? Benefits include knowledge gained about nature’s recycling process, nutrient rich worm castings to be used as a soil enhancer, and time shared with your kids. Let’s get started. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Friday, July 15, 2011

Too Much Water! by Carol King

The afternoon rains that have persisted over the last couple of weeks are a mixed blessing for gardeners. While we revel in the much need moisture, too much water can cause as many maladies as not enough water.

Here are some problems to be on the look out for:


Early Blight on tomato
 Early blight in tomatoes is caused by the fungus Alternaria solani. Symptoms become prevalent during the hotter months. This disease produces brown to black, target-like spots on older leaves. If severe, the fungus also attacks stems and fruit. Affected leaves may turn yellow, then drop, leaving the fruit exposed to sunburn. Sanitation is the best control. Remove all diseased plant tissue on the ground. Avoid overhead irrigation. If the infestation is heavy, sulfur dust may help protect new leaves from infection. Follow label directions carefully, as sulfur can burn leaves when temperatures are high.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Drip Watering Pots and Plant Containers by Gardener Dave

Some years ago I swore off clay pots in my landscaping layout. My reason for this is:  In our dry climate, small clay pots dry out “before you can put the hose away” – especially the unglazed ones.  Glazed pots fare a little better, but beware of the darker colors as they absorb radiant heat and can cook plant roots if they are in full sun all day.

I still like the look of unglazed clay pots, especially in groups with the largest in the center, or large-to-small arrangement. The “Italian style” pots with the thicker rounded rims are my favorites.  Hmmmm… now I’m talking about “my favorite unglazed pots”!  What convinced me to use them again after I had sworn off?

Monday, July 11, 2011

“Distract-itis” by Gardener Dave


When doing our day-to-day gardening chores,
other needs often “jump up and bite us”
They keep us from making our normal rounds
and give us “distract-itis”

How many times on your morning “rounds”
to check beds for weeds and for water,
have you seen the signs of other needs
that you “must do”, or certainly “oughter”?

Most of these days I don’t even get
to those chores I first wanted to do,
for this bed chokes out a “Weed me first!”,
and that one nags “Aphids to shoo!”

This can go on, all through the whole day
and when the evening dark gathers,
I think of my list, and find that I’ve done
the “musts” and forgotten the “rathers”

Now I know this is a common “disease”
which plagues us, and makes us cuss
Most others agree - whatever their tasks -
big distractions are ever around us

So we must all sigh and just carry on,
and tend to those things that fight us
We all are victims of this “blight”
that I choose to call “distract-itis”

Gardener Dave

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Espalier: The Art of Plant Training by Elaine Lockey

Espalier at Denver Botanic Gardens
Espalier, pronounced esp-al-ee-er or esp-al-ee-ay, is the practice of training and pruning a plant to grow on a flat plane against a wall, fence or building.  This can create a beautiful focal point in a garden, can save space in small areas, and help fill in space if you have a large wall or fence that you want to hide.

Espalier can be informal or formal and there are several common forms practiced.  Certain plants respond best to certain types of espalier as well.  Informal espalier can be as simple as a vine climbing up a wall to a pyracantha hedge that is pruned in a flat plane but is allowed to branch where it wants vertically and horizontally.  Formal designs can be like the French palmette verrier in which a plant, commonly a pear tree, is attached to a frame that helps to shape it into the desired structure.  This particular one looks like a box shape or candelabra. This enables the pear tree to grow wide but the height is limited.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Happy Fourth of July ! Natures' Fireworks

Photo by GayleL Art

Fireworks are commonly seen in the United States on the Fourth of July as a celebration of independence.

"And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there."
- The Star Spangled Banner, the national anthem of the US

So here are 10 sparkling shots of starburst fireworks in nature.

Thanks to the online magazine "Environmental Graffiti".

Happy Fourth to all you gardeners!