A Few Ideas To Try At Home
Since we all seem to now have a lot of time on our hands, we thought you might enjoy a few gardening tips from a couple of members of the Garden Walk committee.
Somewhat ironically, I am clueless when it comes to gardening in Colorado. I use to live in Dallas and I had wonderful gardens there, but I struggle with the Colorado climate. I feel like I lose (and replace) about one-third of my garden each year.
I reached out to some of the committee members about gardening and they generally offered a few tips. They do not consider themselves “experts” in any way, but here are a few solid, homespun guidelines.
1. Don’t plant warm weather crops like tomatoes until all danger of frost is over, around mid-May in Denver. In fact, you might want to start these things inside since they need a long growing season.
2. Denver County is in gardening zone 5b and 6a. Make sure you are buying plants that are rated for these hardiness zones.
3. Don’t plant in the spring until the ground is the consistency of chocolate cake.
With the right spot and care, you can grow things even when experts say you can’t. Micki was told she couldn’t grow eastern black raspberries here, but she has been doing this successfully for years. Additionally, it took her three tries in three spots, but she finally has a well-established wisteria plant. With this in mind, here are few other thoughts from Micki.
1. Plant with micro-climates in mind. Something that might not generally work in a semi-arid climate like ours might be fine on the north side of a fence or house because it is cooler, damper, shadier. Or, something that generally doesn’t winter well might be fine facing south with lots of mulch.
2. Unless you really know what you are doing, pay the extra money for plants from a reputable nursery that buys for the Colorado climate and soil.
3. Do your homework on fruit trees. Later blooming, later fruiting varieties are a better investment. Also, apple trees come in four variants by bloom time. Apples not only need a pollinator, but they need a pollinator from the same variant (1, 2, 3 or 4). Crabapples are a pollinator for all apples.
4. Prune your fruit trees. Otherwise, fruit trees prune themselves, and that’s a disaster.
Soil preparation is also very important. Make sure your soil has all the proper nutrients and the best balance of those nutrients. You can buy soil test kits at your local nursery. Some nurseries may test the soil for you.
As of this writing, the community garden at Saint Thomas Church still has two garden beds available. Lastly, the Agricultural Extension at CSU is a good source of expert information. Here’s the website: extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/agriculture/.
Happy gardening! We’ll see you in 2021.
— Jean Ercolani