tulip.jpgMy gosh, it’s November already! Perhaps you have a bulb order sitting in your basement that arrived weeks ago or you’re eyeing those sale notices coming from online bulb sellers and wondering if it’s too late to plant bulbs. Have no fear; you still have time!

This is a marvelous time to take advantage of deep discounts on remaining bulbs. Ordering from reputable online bulb sellers is a good way to go as the bulbs haven’t been sitting out in bins in heated big box stores or even garden centers. They’ve been kept chilled, just waiting to be packed in a box and shipped out. (You can also have more confidence that you are actually getting the bulb varieties you want – bulbs tend to hop around in those open bins.) Any bulb order you place now will likely come very quickly, and you should make time within a few days of receiving them to plant them. Yes, you still have time, but not that much time, so don’t delay. (more…)


Winter Rye

Those of us who contribute to this blog have been learning quite a bit about working with Colorado soils this year! We no longer feel confident (well we probably never did) picking up bags of “top soil” or manure or compost and adding them to our garden soils. (If you missed it, see Leslie’s terrific post on this topic: New Advice on Soil Amendments.)

Most gardeners feel pretty good about adding compost they’ve made themselves to their vegetable garden soils. In our area, though, we rarely encounter gardeners who have tried out another homemade soil amendment, cover crops or green manure. A cover crop is a plant that is usually seeded in early fall (mid-September is best in our area but you can plant through mid-October) and then watered so it sprouts and grows before the first hard freeze. If it gets tall, it is mown to keep it from going to seed. It goes dormant (or even dies) after a hard freeze, and it then provides mulch over the bed during winter and the roots provide aerated soil next spring when it is time to plant. (If it did not die and greens up in spring, it may have to be treated with herbicide or removed so it does not compete with your vegetables in the growing season.) Green manure is simply a cover crop that is hardy enough to survive the winter and is tilled into the soil in the spring. (Note that both cover crops and green manures can be planted in the spring if you have enough space in your garden to give up an area for the growing season to allow the cover crop or green manure to grow over the spring and summer.) (more…)


Oct 17, 2006

Yes, you’re right. Our first fall frost does seem to be taking its time in the Pikes Peak foothills and plains region this year! Unlike more typical October weather (see photo at left), we’ve had very warm temperatures and super dry conditions. In fact, the previous record latest date for the first fall frost (official temperature reading taken at the Colorado Springs airport) was Oct 18 (this happened in 1972 and 1980).

Well, the suspense is over! It looks like the new record will be Oct 25 or 26, 2010. (Update: The first frost/freeze occurred Oct 27, 2010 and the temperature was 18 degrees!)

We have a definite freeze watch with a predicted low of 27 degrees F for tonight (Oct 25), which should be enough to defeat most frost protection measures (of course, I’m not talking about the really crazy gardeners who put Christmas lights under their plastic hoop houses to keep temps up). And if tonight doesn’t deliver the killing freeze, it looks like tomorrow night will (predicted low of 25 deg F). (more…)


Acer saccharum 'Caddo'

Q: At this time of year, I always love to see the beautiful fall colors of the trees in town. Where I grew up, we always had gorgeous sugar maples, but I have heard that they don’t do very well here. Are there any maples that do well here and have great fall color?

A: When picturing a beautiful maple tree in its autumn foliage, many people (just as you did) immediately think of the fiery orange-red sugar maples (Acer saccharum), that they see in pictures of New England. You are right. Most sugar maples do not thrive in our arid growing conditions. They prefer a bit more moisture and acidic soil. However, don’t let that discourage you from considering a maple. If you choose an appropriate variety, a maple can be a gorgeous tree in your landscape. (more…)

aspen_fall.jpgQ: Summer’s over … now what do I do?

A: Yes, summer is over, and with that comes the end of most of our outdoor gardening activities. Does that mean you should lock-up your tool shed and head indoors for the winter? No! There are still several things to finish up in the garden. Here are several suggested fall garden tasks to keep you  nice and busy in your garden.

Did you know fall is the best time to sow wildflower seeds? The seeds will lay dormant over the cold winter months, and bloom for you in the spring. Nothing shouts “springtime” like wildflowers! (more…)

veg_garden_empty.jpgQ: I notice some gardeners turning over the soil in their veggie beds. Isn’t this the wrong time for that?

A: Actually, this can be the perfect time to work and amend the soil in parts of your vegetable beds (the ones that aren’t currently growing vegetables, of course!). Here are some of the reasons you might consider amending your vegetable bed now.

We’ve had a couple of articles on growing garlic in this blog:
https://peakgardening.wordpress.com/2009/09/22/growing-garlic/ (more…)