Wednesday, March 26, 2014

A History of Saving Seeds By Ellen Goodnight

Saving vegetable and flower seeds is what our mothers and grandmothers did, year after year. Most often it was for economical reasons. If you grew a crop in your garden and it did well, you certainly wanted to grow it again without buying new seed. Saving seeds may have also been
a way of sharing with family, friends and neighbors, especially if they had enjoyed something grown in your garden. Often, our mothers and grandmothers shared seeds from several generations.

Today, we look at saving seeds in a new light. New gardeners may wonder why they should save seeds when there are so many seed catalogs and garden centers stocked with everything from common to exotic seeds. Novice gardeners may not know the difference between an
heirloom seed and a hybrid seed. They might not even know if their seed has been genetically modified. Some may not know for example, that the squash seeds they saved from last summer's garden might not produce the same squash! Additionally, even experienced gardeners may not realize that the genetic diversity represented by pure heirloom seeds is being lost. These challenges can be overwhelming to any gardener. On the bright side, however, "the movement to save pure heirloom seeds has become a global effort, with gardeners working to
preserve and bring back old seed varieties" (Baker Seed).

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Not So Fast! Gardening Tips for Early Spring by Donna Duffy

Pasqueflower emerging in March
Yes, it does feel a bit like Spring outside. And yes, there are signs of life in your yard and garden. As tempting as it is, don’t go full-force into your gardening mode quite yet. Following are some gardening chores you can start right now, and others that you’ll need to wait to begin.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Planning for Spring: What Kind of Mulch Should I Use? by Donna Duffy

The benefits of mulch are so well known that the question no longer is “Should I mulch?” but “What mulch is best for my landscape?” For die-hard gardeners, mulching is one garden task you can do any time of year – even in the winter.
Gravel mulch at Kendrick Lake Gardens in Lakewood

A mulch is any material that provides protection and improves the soil when applied to the soil surface. Mulches can:
  • reduce surface evaporation;
  • improve water penetration and air movement;
  • control soil temperature fluctuations;
  • protect shallow-rooted plants from freeze damage;
  • improve soil structure and nutrient availability.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Spring is Here! by Carol King

I went looking for evidence of spring in North Lakewood, Colorado and here's what I found.

Yellow crocus

Stonecrop peeking up

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A Tree in a Tight Spot by Rebecca Anderson

Winter is the time of year when I'm planning my landscape improvements for spring. This year I've got a new area to design because we had a tree removed last fall.  There was a mature red maple (Acer rubrum) planted in a strip between our driveway and the neighbor's. This 40 foot tall, 24-inch diameter tree was confined to a concrete-free zone of about 36 square feet.  Looking at CSU's formulas for calculating for rooting space, the tree's roots probably occupied an area close to 4,000 square feet.  Of course it had to be sending roots under driveways and sidewalks, but those roots under the hardscape didn't have the access to water and oxygen that roots in an open area would have.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Keeping Spring Flowering Bulbs Happy by Rebecca Anderson

This morning I found some crocus (Crocus sp.) leaves peaking through the mulch.  It’s a sure sign spring is on its way when the crocus, daffodils (Narcissus sp.), hyacinths (Hyacinthus sp.) and tulips (Tulipa sp.) make their appearances.