Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Welcome Spring, I Think...

It says so right there on the 2018 calendar - March 20 FIRST DAY OF SPRING. We haven't had a winter yet so the next several weeks will be very interesting.

Hold on, I am going to say it. Even though many people may be happy they didn't have to shovel much snow or worry about driving on icy, slippery roads this past winter, I'm hoping for a rainy, drizzling, cat pouring deluge, torrent and outpouring of moisture - just short of a flood this spring season.  

In the meantime, Happy Spring!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Drought in Spring

So far March weather has been like a lamb. Even though cold temperatures and snow may return any minute, give your landscape some watering attention and get your engines ready for the outdoor gardening season. Continue reading in the Denver Post Life & Culture section.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Warm Season Seed Starting - It's Time!

It's time good gardeners - gather your materials for warm season indoor seeding. Not to worry if you're just not able to start seeds indoors this year - there will be plenty of transplants to choose from at your favorite garden center. They are already stocked with cool season vegetable bulbs (onions), tubers/roots (horseradish, rhubarb) and many ornamental blooming bulbs like dahlias, gladiolas and begonias.

Right now is the time to seed the majority of plants and vegetables that prefer to grow in warm temperatures after the final spring frost-which is anyone's guess. I use May 20 or the end of May. Nights below fifty-five degrees are also risky for warm loving transplants, so keep all these variables in mind when you start seeds indoors.

Simply read the seed packet for weeks to grow to transplant size based on the final freeze date plus refer to my planting and seeding chart below. Most tomatoes are ready for hardening off outside before going in the ground after six or eight weeks. If left to grow longer indoors they may get leggy in growth habit which makes them less easy to plant.

LINK to annual ornamental seeding/planting chart.

LINK to herb and cool season seeding/planting chart.

Here's the warm season vegetable seeding/planting chart. Please pardon the spacing errors, I just updated to a newer version of Word and the document went squirrelly when converted to a pdf, guess I need to go back to Microsoft school for help.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Lamb or Lion

Today is the first of March and it's close to sixty degrees (again) here in Denver. In the first two months of 2018 we had twelve days in the sixties, four topped at fifty-nine degrees. My family in Montana would love to have these temperatures. I'd love to have their high snowfall levels...yep, the grass is always greener. Not our grass, it needs some of that moisture from up north!

Looking ahead on the weather models, it looks like we may be in for more of the same the next three months. Below are the temperature and moisture outlook maps from NOAA. Looks like it's going to be more like a lamb this spring in the central Rockies, hope not.

Internet photos from NOAA 

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Getting Your Winter Greens - Micro Greens!

I've got so much spring fever right now that I'm counting the minutes to the spring equinox on March 20. As of right now there are 43,200 minutes left. Too many minutes? Okay, we're just thirty short days away, in sight for sure.

In between seed shopping and attending green industry trade shows I've been seeding micro-greens for a green thumb fix. And if you're far from being a green thumb, no worries, you cannot and I mean, you cannot mess up seeding, growing and enjoying micro-greens.

First, the what-how-where -

Micro-greens are the first seedlings of plants that are normally seeded outside and harvested when fully grown like lettuce, broccoli, basil, sunflowers, peas or custom seed mixes of cress, chard, mustard and many more. You can purchase specific micro-green labeled seeds from garden centers and online or use left over seeds from your cache. One caution - parsnip seeds used for micro-greens are poisonous so use them only for outside seeding to grow parsnips until they mature.

The taste of these little guys is soooooooooo good and awesomely fresh. Use them on soup, pasta, sandwiches, eggs and any vegetable dish. Tossing them on your morning cereal might be a stretch, but not in the juicer!

Basil seeds from my cache
The how takes about ten minutes, maybe less. Clean and rinse a spent plastic lettuce container (or any low container), poke some holes in the bottom if there aren't any drainage areas. Fill 3/4s with moistened sterile seed starting or a very light weight potting soil. Heavily sprinkle micro-green seeds or left over seeds over the soil, then add a very light layer of soil over the seeds. Water them well using a sprinkler type head instead of heavy hosing with a regular pour type nozzle which can move the seeds and soil around too much. 

Where - put a tray under the plastic container and place near a very sunny window or under grow lights. Water when they look slightly dry, about every other day - they can dry out quickly, keep any eye on them. In about seven to ten days you'll be harvesting fresh little micro-bursts of whatever seed you planted. To harvest, just cut a handful of greens right above the soil line, you don't even need to rinse them unless some soil is holding on.

If you love micro-greens, plan on seeding several batches and stagger them over the winter. Once harvested you can re-use the soil several times, unless gnats find them or disease is suspected. 

Second, the flavor - wow! 

Basil Micro-Greens over Vegetarian Red Pepper Quinoa Pasta!

For more growing how to photos click HERE.