One of these days it’s going to stop snowing so we can start gardening. If you’re a gardener in the Rocky Mountain region, you know how challenging gardening can be. After all, it was 60 degrees yesterday and 29 degrees today. That’s a shock to plants and gardeners alike.
Here are some of my top tips for Mountain Region gardeners from my Creative Ideas Team blog.
Easy Gardening Tips for how to:
45 timely tips for what to do in your garden, from March through December.
If your garden is lacking spring color, you need to make a list of these spring-blooming bulbs that are perfect for fall planting.
What if we had a drought and the lawn didn’t notice?
Because of the continuing drought, gardeners in the Denver metro area will have twice-a-week lawn watering restrictions starting April 1–no fooling.
Along with these restrictions will be higher water bills for using more water on other parts of the landscape, too.
I remember the summer of 2002 and how difficult it was to keep the garden going with limited irrigation. It was fortunate I had already removed a good deal of lawn the summer before, replacing with low-water perennial flowers, shrubs and bulbs.
I’ve dusted off some of the water conservation tactics I used the last time we had Stage 2 drought restrictions and plan to rely on them again this summer. Here are some of my top tips for gardening in a drought:
Don’t worry about the Zombie Apocalypse–it’s already here!
Zombies are everywhere these days, even on your kitchen counter. Here’s how you can grow your own zombie garden for Halloween.
The Zombie Grassland kit includes everything you need to grow real grass and stage a miniature zombie scene.
Sprinkle the Creeping Bent grass seed evenly over the vermiculite, making sure the entire surface is covered. Place the clear lid over the box and wait 3-5 days for the grass seeds to germinate.
Once the grass is growing, arrange the zombie design stakes in the grassland to create the scary scene of your choice.
The Zombie Grassland, one of several grow-it-yourself kits, is available at Hot Topic retail stores or online from Grow-A-Head.com.
Lawn care…core aerate, overseed and fertilize.
Trees and shrubs…prune broken branches and keep watering through winter.
Vegetable Garden…clean up garden debris, turn soil in the garden, plant cool-season crops (like kale, other leafy greens, radishes, carrots, beets, parsnips, broccoli, cabbage).
Flower Garden…clip back spent flowers and diseased or damaged foliage, add mulch, plant chrysanthemums, asters and cool-season ornamental grasses, plant perennials (like Oriental Poppies).
Think Spring!…plant spring blooming bulbs of different varieties, sizes, colors and bloom times (like crocus, daffodil, tulips, grape hyacinths, miniature iris, Dutch Iris and ornamental onions).
Think Summer!…plant garlic before the ground freezes and mulch. Keep soil moist in the spring and harvest garlic in July.
Today’s post is from Deb Courtner, a landscape designer, garden writer and speaker who creates low-maintenance landscapes for busy homeowners. She owns and operates Blossoms & Blueprints, LLC, a landscape design and consulting firm in Denver, Colo. She also shares this image of “creative bindweed use.” Visit her blog for more helpful landscaping tips.
Summertiiiiime and the livin’ is crazy . . . forest fires, Stage 1 drought, weeds galore, plants wilting left and right.
What’s a gardener to do?
These tips may help you cope with hot, dry weather:
Go long on grass. If you have Kentucky bluegrass, don’t mow your lawn any lower than 3 inches. Taller grass blades shade the soil and help conserve moisture. They also reduce weeds.
It’s time to take the safe lawns pledge.
That lush green lawn that looks so natural is kept that way unnaturally because of a diet of synthetic chemical fertilizers and toxic herbicides.
This year, instead of taking care of the lawn in the conventional way, gardeners should challenge themselves to use fewer chemicals in their landscapes and take an organic approach to lawn care. Instead of feeding the grass, ask “What can I do to feed the soil?”
Building healthy soil is the goal of an organic lawn. Synthetic chemical fertilizers may make the lawn look green and healthy, but chemicals don’t help the soil or feed the beneficial organisms that live there.
Here are six ways to get started on an organic lawn care program:
1. Loosen the soil. Core aerate your lawn at least once a year. Aeration is the mechanical process of pulling small cores of soil out of the ground. Opening up the soil surface allows water and important nutrients to move into the root zone. Core aerate with equipment that pulls plugs three or four inches deep on four-inch centers.
Now’s the time to start planning for ways to conserve water in your garden.
One of the most sobering facts I learned during my master gardener training is that there will always be a drought somewhere in Colorado.
In 2002 that hard fact struck home as gardeners coped with one of the most severe droughts on record.
The outdoor watering restrictions implemented that summer made me consider every drop of water I used on the lawn in the flowerbeds and vegetable garden, too.
Many of my favorite landscape plants didn’t make it through that summer. Others simply disappeared over the equally dry winter.
But those plants that remained, like Rocky Mountain penstemon, were the hardiest of the hardy. And I plant more like them every year.
Are you a new gardener–or know someone who is? Here’s your chance to win a copy of the new book called “Beginner’s Illustrated Guide to Gardening” by Katie Elzer-Peters.
Then you need this new gardening guide.
“Beginner’s Illustrated Guide to Gardening: Techniques to Help You Get Started” offers how-to tips for dozens of gardening tasks. This is a great book for anyone who is just starting out and has questions about what to do in the landscape and how to to do.
Katie Elzer-Peters wrote this book to help any gardener who has gardening questions, especially first-time homeowners.
Cool Springs Press sent me an extra copy of Katie’s book to give away to someone who could use a comprehensive gardening guide.
Earth Day is a good time to rethink lawn and garden practices and find ways to make sure your landscape is as green as it looks.
It would seem that green and gardening go together naturally, but that isn’t always the case. Most lawns are kept green and weed free with synthetic fertilizers and toxic herbicides, bags of grass clippings and garden waste head for the landfill and over-watering is all too common.
Do you have a sustainable landscape that uses natural resources wisely? Do you use practices to eliminate soil and water pollution? Are you working to reduce waste?
Earth Day is the ideal time to take a close look at all our gardening practices to make sure each one is promoting the long-term well being of the environment.
For several years, I’ve been trying to follow the lead of the landscape industry and working toward “zero-waste gardening” in my own backyard.
I was surprised to learn there isn’t a universally-agreed upon definition of organic lawn care.
One of the classes I took during CSU’s Short Course day in July was “Organic Lawn Care: Is it Sustainable?” taught by Tony Koski, the extension turf specialist. I’ve taken Tony’s classes in the past and he always presents good information and in an interesting way, too.
His workshop focused on the current research for testing organic fertilizers and pest management products for managing organic lawns. My biggest take away from the session is that if you grow an organic lawn, you should expect weeds.
This made me feel pretty good about my lawn, because the weeds have taken over the backyard.
Tony explained the reasons for weed problems in an organic lawn include poor cultural practices, improper species or cultivar selection and planting poor quality seed or sod.
The bottom line is that weeds grow because the turf isn’t strong enough to compete with weeds.