The thinking of using “weed fabric,” also known as “weed barrier,” has changed. Experts no longer recommend using weed fabric as it only works for a year at best. Weed seeds soon blow in and the stone or bark chips over top provide perfect conditions for germination. The germinated weeds above have roots penetrate into the fabric, making them all the harder to pull. Once the fabric is down it is extremely difficult to remove.
In addition the use of weed fabric combined with a rock or pebble ground cover creates stressful conditions for existing trees, has been shown to lower the value of homes and is difficult to keep the area free of debris. After a few years the end result can be unsightly.
The Cheyenne Botanic Garden brought the first Farmers’ Market to Cheyenne in 1980. It was the first such market in the state of Wyoming. We have since helped many other communities get their markets off the ground. In 1987, we spun the downtown market off to Community Action of Laramie County who runs it today.
Farmers’ Markets provide your best chance at fresh produce. If you are lucky you may be paying a lower price but that is not always true. So, really it is about the quality and freshness of the produce.
Here are some tips for shopping at a Farmers Market.
Cucumbers are native to India and were introduced to North America by Spanish explorers. They require regular watering especially when setting fruit. They are also heavy feeders, loving rich soil and regular fertilization. There are two types of cucumbers: pickling types that have thicker skin and remain crisp when pickled; and slicers that are for fresh eating.
To maintain high yields be sure to keep the vines well-picked. If you miss picking even one fruit the plant will have greatly reduced flowers and thus reduced yields. Because most cucumbers have tendrils, they grow very well up a trellis or tomato cage. This is helpful if you want more yields in less space.
Avoid the short mown, putting green look, as it will cause the grass to succumb to drought, disease, increase your weeds, and cause it to die back.
If you think that cutting the lawn short will prevent frequent mowing, think again. Short mowing actually stimulates the grass to grow faster and thus more frequent mowing. Mow higher and the lawn will grow slower and healthier. Set the mower to 2 to 3 inches in height and mow regularly.
A lawn mower with dull blades may be causing your grass to have brown tips. Dull bladed lawn mowers also use 20% more gasoline, spewing out more pollution. Full blades also make your mower harder to push. Small engine shops often specialize in blade sharpening or if you are handy, you can try to sharpen the blades yourself. Learn how to sharpen your own blades here.
If your mower blades are really dinged up, then it is time to replace them.
Q. Last year I planted 4 hybrid rose buses in a sheltered spot on the south side of my ranch house and found that they all died last winter even though I mulched them carefully with a round cylinder of wire filled with straw and leaves. Can you advise me on hardy varieties to plant and where I can get such plants?
A. With many of the grafted hybrid roses it doesn’t matter how well you treat them– they are simply not very hardy for our tough winters (not to mention tough springs and falls too). (more…)
• Don’t plant evergreens to the south side of the home as they will block the winter sun.
• Look up! Don’t plant under house eaves or under a power line.
• Imagine a big tree– trees grow– don’t block a window or a good view. Don’t plant too close to your house.
• Block out negatives in the landscape such as wind, noise, neighbors, busy roadways.
• Select hardy trees for your area– beware of big box stores selling non-hardy trees. Check with this list.
• Save your money– you don’t have to buy the largest trees. Smaller, cheaper trees suffer less transplant shock and often catch up to the more expensive trees in a few years.
• Don’t plant all the same tree variety – diversity is good and protects you from tree pests.
• Mix it up – plant the fast growing trees with the longer-lived, slower growing trees
• Plant at least one tree once a year– either in your yard or plant one for friends and family. Leave a legacy!
The annual flower calendula likes the cool night temps of the High Plains. With hues of orange to yellow, it resembles a daisy or marigold, depending upon the type grown. It can be sown directly from seed right now, or occasionally found as a bedding plant. Don’t be surprised if it reseeds each year. It likes full to part sun and reaches 18″ in height.
Calendula does best in full to partial sun. The flower is edible and often added to salads. Skin creams often contain extracts of calendula flowers, as it has anti-inflammatory properties.
The Garden Media Group recently released their analysis of rising trends in the home garden. Here are some of the trends:
Pots are getting larger, succulent plants like hen and chicks along with cacti, suitable for both outside and inside as houseplants are big with gardeners.
Small fruit trees and berries are gaining in popularity. And finally, unstyled outdoor spaces that look wild and natural are becoming preferred over highly manicured landscapes.
Many of our local and regional garden centers are reporting that for those with little kids, fairy gardens are popular and supplies for creating such a garden are growing with this new interest.
Looking for some unique hen and chicks? Check out this catalog:
The Old Farmers’ Almanac was spot on with their winter forecast. Click here to see what is in store for Summer.