You may overlook the display at first, hidden among the photos of bright red tulips and sunny daffodils. Bulb planting season is here, and garden centers have towers of cardboard boxes labeled with spring blooms, somewhat incongruous at this time of year. Go ahead and pick out those hyacinths and crocuses, but don’t forget the garlic!

Sure, you can buy garlic at the market, but it’s one of those crops that is much better when home-grown. In this case, it’s not so much the just-harvested freshness as it is the variety. Most grocery stores do not sell the good stuff.


seedpacketfront.jpgQ: I want to plant vegetables from seed this year to save money, but I find the information on seed packets confusing. What information do I need to know to be successful?

A: Growing a garden from seed can be confusing when you are just starting out, but there are benefits. Growing plants from seed is rewarding and cost effective. A packet of seeds can produce 20 or more plants for the cost of one potted plant. You have a wider variety to choose from, including unique and heirloom varieties, and the seed will be available when you are ready to plant.

Seed packets are the instruction manuals for the plant. From them you can learn information about when and how to sow the seeds, days to germination, growth habits, sun and soil requirements and a description of the plant. Prior to use, seed packets should be stored in a cool, dry spot away from direct sunlight. (more…)

It’s Saint Patrick’s Day, the traditional planting date for peas. Should you plant them now?

Not if you live along the Front Range! While St. Patty’s Day may work fine for New England, it’s probably the wrong day to plant for much of the country.

If you live in a warm climate, such as parts of California, Florida, and Arizona, you are far too late. Peas should be planted as a winter crop, so they can grow while the temperatures are cool and humidity is higher.

And if you live here in the Pikes Peak area, mid-March is much too early. Sure, peas planted now may survive and grow and produce a crop. But they may also rot in too-cold soil, waiting for temperatures at which they can germinate.