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:
Please join us on Friday, August 10, at the Denver County Fair for an organic vegetable gardening event featuring Jane Shellenberger. Jane will present her program starting at 4:00 p.m. on the Farm and Garden Pavilion Stage and at 5:00 p.m. sign copies of her new book “Organic Gardener’s Companion: Growing Vegetables in the West” at the WesternGardeners.com booth.
To get you in the mood for Jane’s presentation, here’s a glimpse into the pages of her book:
If you’ve tried to grow an organic vegetable garden in our region of the country, you know that gardening is difficult here. Lean soils, little precipitation, low humidity, harsh winds, and inopportune freezing weather make vegetable gardening an extreme undertaking.
In my review of this big book on gardening in small spaces, I shared some of the book’s secrets for growing vegetables, herbs, fruits, and flowers in small spaces.
The publisher sent an extra copy so I could share all the information Chris compiled on how to “reap a bounty of beauty and edibles in every square inch.”
There are 20 illustrated chapters filled with creative ideas for living with a little landscape, planting in petite plots, planting small-space theme gardens, using good gardening practices, and finding plants perfect for small spaces. If you have a container garden, balcony garden, patio garden or other small-space garden, you will love this book.
To enter the contest to win a copy, simply post a comment on why you like to garden in small spaces by Monday, March 12 at 5:00 p.m. Mountain time. One winner will be selected at random.
Dr. Bob Gough may have departed the gardening world last year, but he left gardeners with more than 17 books on horticulture including The Guide to Rocky Mountain Vegetable Growing.
I never had the opportunity to meet Dr. Bob Gough face-to-face, but I got to know him anyway. He was the author of the “Ask Dr. Bob” gardening column on the pages of Zone 4 magazine. One of his last books, written together with his wife Cheryl Moore-Gough, is one of my go-to resources for vegetable gardening in a tough climate.
Soon we’ll all be fretting over chilly days that delay planting, so now’s a good time to pick up a copy of this book and tap into some of Dr. Bob’s vegetable growing wisdom.
The book is a good guide for any gardener, but it was written especially for gardeners who grow in short-season climates like we have in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming,
BuffaLoam is a 100% organic, all-natural plant food and soil amendment known as “America’s First Fertilizer.”
The Diamond Tail Ranch in north-central Colorado has found a way into gardener’s hearts by recycling tons of manure from its herd of 700 American bison.
BuffaLoam is a 100% organic, all natural plant food and soil amendment for indoor and outdoor organic gardening.
I spotted a bag of BuffaLoam at an Aurora Vitamin Cottage and decided to give it a try with my houseplants. These plants suffer from neglect all summer because I spend my gardening time either in the vegetable garden or doting on the container garden.
The bison responsible for this product graze on native grasses, just like their ancestors did hundreds of years ago. The manure is collected and blended with locally-produced wood shavings and then composted long enough to create a fine, dark compost that has a pleasant earthy fragrance.
Why buy bags of compost to help your gardening efforts when you can turn ordinary kitchen and yard waste into black gold?
I had the chance to talk with Chris McLaughlin for an article on compost tea I wrote for The Denver Post earlier this season.
Something Chris said during the interview stuck with me and I think about it every time I step into the garden:
“Compost is at the very heart of organic gardening. It’s literally the heartbeat.”
Taking kitchen and garden waste, watching it decompose and then returning it to the earth is a powerful gardening concept.
Compost is the answer to most gardening questions because it can be used to loosen clay soil or to add water-holding ability to sandy soil. Compost boosts soil fertility because it brings in the microorganisms that support all forms of plant and animal life, Chris said.
Vegetable gardeners in the Rocky Mountain states will find gardening can be a little easier and a lot more enjoyable with a new book from Cool Springs Press.
If you garden anywhere in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Utah or Wyoming, you have to get your hands on a copy of Guide to Rocky Mountain Vegetable Growing by Robert Gough & Cheryl Moore-Gough.
But that’s only if you want to have a successful vegetable garden this season.
My brand-new review copy of the book is already marked up, dog-eared and broken in.
Whether you’re an experienced vegetable gardener or you’re just getting ready to take your first tentative steps toward the garden bed, the Goughs have some advice for you. They wrote this book because it’s the resource they wanted to have when they first started gardening in such a challenging region.
Clearing out all vegetable garden debris is the first step toward next summer’s healthy plants.
You think I’d be glad to pull up the dead summer squash foliage after the ups and downs of growing it this year.
Early on I complained about the fruit not setting and having to pollinate the squash by hand.
Then I complained because I had so much yellow squash I had to find new ways to use it in the kitchen.
Now that it’s all gone, I’m a little wistful.
I loved looking out my office window and seeing a green and growing garden, that was alive with butterflies, bees and birds. Around here the time to enjoy it is so short compared to the amount of time the garden is empty of plants and pollinators.
But there’s still plenty to do in the garden now and it starts with raking up every bit of garden debris to put the vegetable garden to bed.
You had to “tweet to meet” for Wednesday evening’s tweet up at Rose Cottage in Raleigh, N.C.
After a long day of travel to the annual Garden Writers Symposium in Raleigh, it was a welcome change of pace to stroll through Raleigh’s historic district to Rose Cottage.
On the way to the GWA twibe tweet up, I passed the state capitol and a historic marker proclaiming that Andrew Johnson, U.S. President from 1865-69, was born in a kitchen only a mile from where I stood.
Rose Cottage is the home owned by Jim and Sharon Bright who opened their garden for the GWA twibe’s tweet up. The event was organized by Helen Yoest (@HelenYoest) and Elizabeth Licata (@GWI).
Proven Winners sponsored the get together and it was an enjoyable way to meet face-to-face with more than 40 personalities I knew only by their twitter tags.
Crops with tasty roots, shoots, and leaves are nature’s way of making sure we get plenty of fresh vegetables even when the weather turns cold.
If you’ve never grown a fall garden, now’s the time to start. Besides the joy of bypassing expensive veggies in the produce aisle, many cool-season vegetables are also good for your health.
Vegetables belonging to the cabbage family, like broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kohlrabi and flowering kale, have cancer-fighting phytonutrients.
Other delicious cold-weather vegetable friends include beets, onions, carrots, peas, chard, endive, lettuce, collards, mustards, turnips, radishes, spinach, and even Chinese cabbage. Look for cultivars that are known to be cold-hardy and fast-maturing. Garden centers often carry transplants of fall crops that are most suitable for their specific area.
An added benefit of planting for cold weather is that the frosty temperatures actually bring out the flavor and sweetness of some vegetables, like parsnips and kale.