Sunday, October 15, 2017

Berries and Busyness

It's been a busy weekend cleaning out spent foliage in the outdoor containers and the vegetable garden. Plus getting the raised beds ready for garlic planting this week - they're dry enough now after the snow storm last weekend. Ornamental bulbs need to be planted too. Needless to say, I'm a little behind in my blog writing, hope to catch up soon. These hawthorn tree berries remind of Bronco orange, let's hope for another winning season!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Cover your Sprinkler Pipes

Colorado October weather can be anywhere from divine warm sixty degree days to disastrous, sudden cold - often with snow that can snap branches on leafed out trees in mere hours. Guess what is predicted in about seventy-two hours? Are you ready?

I am prepared, mostly - the landscape trees and new plantings are well hydrated from recent rain storms, plus some supplemental deep root watering earlier in August. It's never a good thing for plants to go in to the fall and winter with dry roots. Dry means damage to the fine root hairs, so try to remember "winter - wet" (not sopping, but moist). Here's more information on fall and winter tree watering from CSU Extension.

One easy to delay fall chore is scheduling the automatic sprinkler blow out. I'm guilty! In the meantime I have securely wrapped and covered the exposed back flow preventer and the attached pipes so they don't freeze. It's about a five minute job, so don't delay.  For extra insurance turn off the water to your sprinkler system. The shut off valve is usually inside the house (should be two shut offs, one for the sprinkler, one to the whole house). Drain excess water in the exposed pipes as well by opening the ball valves attached to the back flow preventer. Check out this video from the Broomfield Parks Department for a good resource to winterize your pipes.

Also, please watch my short video on wrapping the sprinkler pipes. Ferris wanted to be part of the action.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Tomato Harvest 2017

Whiteflies on a yellow squash leaf that moved to the tomato plants
The 2017 tomato season was a good one. It's about time. In the past few years, our plants were hit with either early blight, tomato spotted wilt virus, spider mites or psyllids. One year I think we had all four ailments!

This summer started out being a challenge with extreme heat in July and August which caused some blossom drop. The plants caught up and started fruiting well in mid-August. One plant was pulled a few weeks ago due to a heavy infestation of whiteflies, that also plagued the nearby yellow squash plant. The four remaining tomato plants ended up being good producers and very tasty.

'Sweet Chelsea' and 'Marmande'
'Green Zebra' - will spread out the tomatoes so they ripen better

Here's a video I did before the weather cool down.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Glorious Garlic

The temperature reading this morning in Denver at 7:00 am was 46 degrees, right now (as of this writing) it's in the mid-50s, I say summer is over. So does the September calendar. NOT that you still can't harvest warm season vegetables (if covering at night) and watch the geraniums hang on with a few blooms. No doubt we'll have many warm days in the next few weeks, but probably not consistent nighttime temperatures above fifty-five, which is what warm season plants need.  

There's still time - go buy some garlic planting stock from local garden retailers and get it in the ground now...or very soon!

Because I've written several garlic blogs, for the sake of not repeating or feeling the easy urge to cut and paste, below is a link to an earlier garlic writing. Not much has changed except that more local garden retailers are carrying quality planting stock and they are on their shelves. Planting stock sells out quickly so call around to check availability. If the good stuff is gone, check with mail order companies by doing a quick search. They often sell out as well, many have been taking fall shipping orders since early summer.  

If you're resourceful and have healthy left over homegrown garlic that was harvested earlier this summer, then you know that it also doubles as planting stock. Choose from the largest bulbs and use the largest cloves to plant for large bulbs next summer.

Here's the planting link - Plant Garlic Now

"There is no such thing as a little garlic"    

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Painted Ladies a Plenty

Painted Lady on Oregano Bloom
It's hard to miss the plethora of painted lady butterflies congregating on our late blooming garden plants. They seem to be everywhere - call it a convention, a meeting of the minds or what it really is, their migration. They're headed south to warmer parts of the southwest and Mexico for the winter. Their numbers vary year to year, but this year they are numerous probably due to good spring rains in the southwest that helped grow their numbers. Each spring they migrate north to Colorado and other states for the summer to hang out, lay eggs, and feed on many blooming plants. Host plants include thistle, mallow and hollyhock. Nectar plants in the aster family and many other wildflowers are their favorites.

If you're missing out on the butterfly show in your backyard this fall, think about putting in both host (where they lay their eggs) and nectar plants. Here's a great plant list from Dr. Whitney Cranshaw at Colorado State University - Gardening for Insects

More information on Painted Ladies (and gents) - Painted Lady

Painted Ladies on the Agastache 'Heatwave.'