Archive for August, 2010
Posted in Colorado, Garden, High Mountain Gardening, Organic Gardening, Tuesday's Tips, Vegetables, tagged Blossoms, Bulbs, Durango, Gardening, Organic Gardening, Plants, Spring Planting, Vegetable Garden on August 24, 2010 | 3 Comments »
Mary Beth: I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s time to start thinking about Spring. Go out to your garden or onto your balcony and imagine where you would like to see all the beautiful, bright spring flowers popping up. Imagine what a welcome relief all that lovely color will be after the long cold winter.
I know it’s a little shocking. Freezing temperatures sound foreign to me right now too because I’m melting from the heat and the unusual humidity that came with the rainstorm we had last night, but winter is on its way! And that means it’s time to get those spring-blooming bulbs ordered so you can get them in the ground in September and October. When you’re choosing bulbs for the mountain area, you can’t go wrong with Daffodils, Narcissus, Grape Hyacinths, Snow Drops, Dutch Iris, and Tulips. (Warning! Deer love tasty tulips so be prepared to protect them with deer spray.)
In high elevations don’t plant the bulbs deeper than 2 1/2 times the width of the bulb — the ground takes longer to warm up in the clay-heavy soils that we have here. I always sprinkle a little bone meal and kelp in the hole before I plop in the bulbs. Another nice touch is to plant a few bulbs in each hole (like 4-5) so you have a pretty bunch of flowers popping up like a bouquet rather than single flowers coming up here and there. I can just picture them now…
Speaking of bulbs, you might want to try an edible bulb like garlic in your vegetable garden this year. I plant mine in the end of September, or sometimes in early October. It’s really easy to do and the garlic will be ready to harvest in July. Directions for planting garlic are included in the bulb packaging and it’s usually posted on most of the online stores. Garlic likes to start its roots and feed in the fall in rich, well-fertilized soil before the cold sets in. When spring arrives garlic picks up where it left off as the soil starts to warm up.
Mulching is always a good idea after planting your bulbs. It conserves water and keeps soil temperatures more consistent lessening plant stress.
Don’t wait too long to order because many varieties sell out fast. I find it very hard to select which garlic to grow each year as there are so many fantastic choices. This year I browsed through The Garlic Store and, after a very long time trying to make up my mind, I chose Baby Elephant, Susanville, Chesnok Red and Morado Gigante — all of them are certified organic. Pick the garlic that’s best for your climate and your taste buds and you will really be happy you planned ahead. It’s so much fun digging them up!
Posted in Bee Photography, Bees, Colorado, Flower Photography, Garden, Pollinators, Sunday Zen, tagged Beekeeping, Bees, Blossoms, Durango, Flowers, Garden, Honey, Honeybee, Organic Gardening, Photos on August 22, 2010 | 2 Comments »
Got behind on my dates. National Honey Bee Awareness Day was yesterday , but just because I missed that boat it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be celebrating our honey bees every other day of the year. So let’s start today by being grateful for all that these insects do for us — pollinating more than one-third of the food we eat and providing us with sweet, sweet honey.
Here are some fantastic pictures that Mary Beth took yesterday. Enjoy your Sunday!
Posted in California, Colorado, Garden, High Mountain Gardening, Organic Gardening, Photography, Southern California Gardening, Tuesday's Tips, Vegetables, tagged Cool Season Crops, Durango, Extended Growing Season, Fall Vegetables, Gardening, Irvine, Organic, Organic Gardening, Photo Contest, The Nature Conservancy, Vegetables on August 17, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
We’re coming up fast on Labor Day people. Lots of tired clichés come to mind and I’m not going there (you’re welcome), but yikes! Here in Southern California that means it will soon be time to plant our cool season crops. We’re a lucky bunch, we get two growing seasons — warm and cool. But that doesn’t mean that gardeners in the cooler regions can’t grow cool season crops. There are some regions where it’s not possible, but for most of the country you can grow at least a few of the early maturing crops.
Tip #1— Cool Season Crops
In Southern California the list of vegetables that can be grown in this second season is long. It includes: arugula, beets, broccoli, broccoli rabe, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chard, mache, escarole, favas, green onion, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, mesclun, mustard, parsnips, radicchio, radish, snap peas, spinach and turnips. These seeds should go into the ground in mid-September.
In Colorado where Mary Beth gardens it is possible, with some frost protection to get a few plants to produce into early November. These seeds should go into the ground now: arugula, beets, broccoli, green onion, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, turnips.
As always, read your seed packets! There is a wealth of information on them. Pay attention to the days to maturity. This will tell you how long it takes to go from seed to harvest. If you are unsure of your climatic conditions contact your local cooperative extension. They know everything there is to know about local growing conditions and will be happy to help you figure out when to plant.
Check our resources page for seed companies and get your orders in asap.
Tip #2 — Extend Your Growing Season
To extend the growing season in the colder regions invest in some hoops or row covers. They’re not too expensive and they will protect your crops from light frosts which could buy you a few weeks of harvesting fresh vegetables.
Tip #3 — Digital Photography Contest
The nice folks at The Nature Conservancy contacted us to let us know that they are running a digital photo contest. Surely you have some great photos that you’d like to enter! Anything depicting to the natural world will do.
It’s easy to submit photos. Contestants can enter using the Conservancy’s free Flickr(TM) photo sharing group. All photos submitted to Flickr(TM) should include the tag – “PhotoContest-TNC10”. Deadline for submissions is October 4, 2010 11:59 PST. Go to the Nature Conservancy website for more details on what and how to enter.
Posted in California, Colorado, Critters, Flower Photography, Garden, Photography, Sunday Zen, tagged Agapanthus, Durango, Frogs, Irvine, Lily of the Nile, Organic Gardening, Photos, Western Chorus Frog on August 15, 2010 | Leave a Comment »
Posted in California, Colorado, Flower Photography, Flowers, Fruit, Garden, Wordless Wednesday, tagged Blossoms, Currants, Durango, Flower Girl Rose, Irvine, Photos, Roses on August 11, 2010 | Leave a Comment »