This is the time of year when we need to put away our garden tools and get out the snow shovels. Be sure and clean dirt and debris off your tools. Use a wire brush to remove any of the rust. It’s also great to sharpen the edges of your trowels and shovels with a file. Wooden handled tools can benefit from an application of oil. Linseed oil is the best, but you can also use cooking oil.
We are approaching the last mowings of the season (whew!). By doing a few things this fall you can keep your gas lawn mower working well next spring.
First, consider sharping the blades now to get that chore out of the way for next season. You can either do it yourself or take it in to a specialist. (more…)
This is the time of year when we hear crickets in our yards chirping rhythmically. They make this summer sound by rubbing their wings together. But this sound can also be a reliable predictor of temperature.
Hollyhocks are either biennials or short lived perennials. They create an old fashioned look with blooms on top of 8-foot-tall flower spikes which provide a nice backdrop to the perennial garden. They readily reseed and come in most every color. Hollyhocks thrive in full sun and average to poor soil, and require little care other than to enjoy the blooms. (more…)
If shrubs are developing small roundish notches on the edges of the leaves, less than a 1⁄4 inch, it is likely caused by the black vine weevil. The young weevils feed on the roots and then develop into adult weevils that then feed on the leaves. They feed mostly at night. Adult weevils can be somewhat controlled by capturing them under boards adjacent to the plant and discarded daily. According to Colorado State University, adult feeding, as evidenced by leaf notching, can be controlled with sprays of certain pyrethroid insecticides such as bifenthrin, cyfluthrin, and lambda-cyhalothrin. These should be applied to the foliage and it can also be useful to treat areas at the base of plants, where they rest during the day. Control may be improved if applications are made late in the day or in evening, as the weevils become active and move onto the plants after dusk.
It is unheard of for plants to die from this pest so many people simple leave it be and put up with the more ragged leaf edges.
Hail is a fact of life on the High Plains. While it is heartbreaking to see your garden damaged, there are things that you can do both before and after hail to minimize damage and more quickly grow your garden back.
Gardening has a lot of bending over. Someone once said that gardeners “need a cast iron back with hinges for bending over”
Here are some tips to minimize back problems as a result of gardening:
1) Don’t overdo it on any one given day. . work up to the daily tasks of gardening.
2) Bend your knees more rather than your back.
3) Never twist when you are lifting.
4) Use knee pads so that you can get down where the plants are and can comfortably work. Remember gardening has brought as many people to their knees as religion!
5) Make raised beds for easier access.
6) Use long handled tools to reduce reaching.
7) Use a wheelbarrow, dolly or a cart to move heavy plants or piles of debris.
8) Consider getting a garden kneeler
Low growing, spreading junipers make good, drought tolerant groundcovers. For best results avoid the super short (less than 10” high) varieties such as “wilton carpet,” or “Bar Harbor,” as weeds more easily penetrate their thinner leaf canopy.
Instead, grow juniper varieties that are between 1 to 2 feet in height like “Broadmoor,” “Buffalo,” or “Calgary Carpet.” They have less weed problems and are very hardy. While they are drought tolerant they do need regular moisture during establishment.
Arugula is a peppery flavored salad green. In Roman times Arugula was grown for both it’s leaves and the seed. The seed was used for flavoring oils. On another interesting note, Rocket or Arugula seed has been used as an ingredient in aphrodisiac concoctions dating back to the first century, AD. (Cambridge World History of Food).
It can be directly sown into the garden though early August in successive plantings at about 5 inches apart. Hot weather causes it to go to seed, which is why successive plantings are a good idea. It is usually used sparingly in salads to add a sharp, nutty flavor. It can also be cooked or tossed into pasta.