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.
New gardening books are published every year, but this crop is especially fruitful.
If you need inspiration to help you add more vegetables to your family’s menu, look no farther than this new cookbook from the folks at the Baker Creek Seed Company. The cookbook, written by Jere and Emilee Gettle with Adeena Sussman, is a natural follow up to the Gettle’s first book called “The Heirloom Life Gardener.” If you didn’t grow up enjoying Grandma Nellie’s Garden Soup, don’t fret. Her recipe for homemade vegetable soup is included in the new collection of more than 125 recipes in “The Baker Creek Vegan Cookbook” (2012, Hyperion).
“Vertical Vegetable Gardening” is a Living Free Guide (2012, Alpha Books) that adds to the body of creative ideas for using every square inch of gardening space. Chris McLaughlin has gleaned ideas from gardeners across the country for the best ways to grow vegetables vertically.This user-friendly how-to guide is organized into four parts that make it easy to find information. While beginning gardeners may want to delve into The Basics: Soil and Seed, experienced gardeners might turn right to Vegetables and Fruit that Enjoy Growing Up.
Jung Seeds & Plants, based in Randolph, Wis., is a is a family-owned business that has offered gardeners quality products since 1907.
The annual Jung Seeds & Plants home gardening catalog is one I always look forward to reading.
This catalog features, vegetables and flowers, seeds and bulbs, fruit and all kinds of gardening supplies. It is loaded with great gardening gear from cover to cover.
It’s also entertaining to read all of the descriptions. I’d love to meet whoever wrote the description for the ‘Super Freak Hybrid’ pumpkins or the ‘Red Warty Thing’ winter squash.
Every page is loaded with clever narratives about the company’s vast amount of offerings.
Family owned and operated for 106 years, Jung’s searches for the kinds of seeds and plants that gardeners like to grow.
There are plenty of old favorites, Jung Exclusives, Jung Top Picks and new introductions, too.
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.
Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted his “Fruits of the Midi” in 1881 and I recreated it from my garden this year.
The last time I was in Chicago, I had just enough time to take a brisk walk through the Art Institute of Chicago (AIC). I made it a point to put my eyeballs on some of the famous paintings there like Grant Wood’s American Gothic and Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks.
But I spent the majority of my limited time in the galleries that featured the artists of the impressionist period.
It was there that I stopped in front of Renoir’s still life called Fruits of the Midi. I admired everything about it, from the variety of colorful fruits to the way they were arranged on the platter. I loved the way he captured the essence of each piece of fruit and how the eggplant, peppers and tomatoes spilled onto the table.
The new Bill Hosokawa Memorial Bonsai Pavilion and Tea Garden at the Denver Botanic Gardens is now open. Here’s a little information about the ancient art of bonsai.
Despite their size, bonsai are not a species of dwarf tree, but the name of the art of growing trees in miniature. The Chinese originated bonsai over 2000 years ago, but it was the Japanese who popularized this method of cultivating a “tree in a pot.”
Although bonsai involves aspects of horticulture, this type of “gardening” is more like creating a sculpture instead of growing a tree. Each bonsai is grown in a specific style and shaped by careful pruning and wiring throughout the life of the tree. The goal is to reproduce the look of an aged tree on a miniature scale.
When you’re in the garden this week, be sure to thank a bee. That’s what Pollinator Week is all about.
The third week in June is designated as National Pollinator Week and there are celebrations planned from coast to coast to raise awareness of the valuable contribution provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats, and beetles.
Pollinators are responsible for one out of every three bites of food that we eat.
In the U.S. bees alone undertake the astounding task of pollinating over $15 billion in added crop value, particularly for specialty crops such as almonds and other nuts, berries, fruits, and vegetables.
In northern Colorado, the Colorado State Beekeepers Association, Northern Colorado Beekeepers Association, Boulder County Beekeepers Association and BBB Seed Company are partnering with 16 nurseries, garden centers, and stores for a special event on Saturday, June 23, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
It’s been another busy gardening and writing season around here. Because my vegetable garden is finally planted, it’s time for a breather. I thought it might be fun to look back at some of my favorite subjects I’ve written about this season.
On the Lowe’s Creative Ideas website, I’ve been blogging about all kinds of gardening projects for Mountain Region gardeners. One of the recent posts, planting an herb garden in a strawberry pot, was also featured in the June issue of the Corona Tools newsletter.
Of course, this is the time of year when my writing for VegetableGardener.com is at the peak of the season.
I know some plants take years to bloom, so waiting just a few seasons for this old-fashioned hollyhock to show its colors seems like a short time in comparison. But it’s a big deal in my cottage garden.
I bought an envelope marked “hollyhock seeds” for 50 cents at the Xeriscape Conference in Albuquerque in early 2010. These seeds were packaged in a business-size envelope by a gardener in New Mexico and were on a table at the conference’s book sale.
I should have sowed those seeds in spring to give the leaves a head start on the heat of summer. But I got busy and the seeds had to wait until fall.
I’ve always thought hollyhocks make a cottage garden complete, so I planted the seeds along the white picket fence that separates my cottage garden from the butterfly garden.
Let’s celebrate Cinco de Mayo with the lively taste of tomatillo!
Classic Mexican dishes need the lively taste of tomatillo to roast, grill or simmer into a chile verde sauce or use raw in salsa, guacamole or gazpacho.
Tomatilllo (toh-mah-TEE-yoh) may look a little like its distant cousin the tomato, but they’re miles apart in taste.
The fruits are eaten green, while still firm and have a sweet, but lively lemon-apple-herb taste that’s essential to Mexican and Southwestern cooking.
I grew several tomatillo ‘Toma Verde’ plants last summer and enjoyed the entire process. These plants produce small-size fruit, but there are other varieties that grow bigger or those that ripen to a deep purple.
I started the seeds along with the tomato seeds in spring and transplanted two little plants to my container garden once the weather warmed. But I’ve also seen tomatillo plants on the vegetable tables at local garden centers.