Most garden centers sell lawn seed mixtures formulated just for shade. These are selections of grasses composed of shade tolerant “fine fescues” which are combinations of sheep’s fescue, red fescue, chewings fescue and other special varieties.
Now is a good time to sow lawn seed. Lightly rake the seed in for good soil contact. Keep the area moist until you see germination. It may take up to three weeks before you see a lot of green.
2012 winners announced
Each year, the Plant Select® program chooses a selection of plants that are worthy of promoting because of their adaptability, uniqueness, performance and durability for western gardens and landscapes.
Some are completely new to horticulture, others are simply underused and deserving of more recognition. A variety of perennials, groundcovers, trees, vines and shrubs are considered for trialing, and each summer the winners are chosen by invited evaluators.
You can build them out of recycled materials including old windows, plastic and used lumber. The frames must be relatively airtight but have openings for ventilation. There are also many easy to setup cold frame kits available commercially and vary greatly in price.
Cold frames are great for starting transplants or growing longer season crops that require more heat. Start seedlings for the outside garden in your cold frame in late February through early April.
For salad greens simply sow your seeds in late February or early March and you be picking your harvest from early April into May. They can also be used to allow for late season salads for over a month past the first fall frost.
The trickiest thing about growing in a cold frame is overheating. Be sure to allow for ventilation on sunny days. This can be as simple as propping a window up or open in the morning and shutting it in the evening. There are also heat triggered openers that require no electricity and automatically open cold frame windows as the temperatures rise.
Q. The seed racks are already out in the stores selling a wide variety of seeds. Are these seeds O.K. for growing in our short growing climate?
Most leafy and root crops are fine. But where possible go for the early varieties that seed racks and catalogs offer. This is especially important for seed for tomatoes, peppers, cucumber, eggplant and pumpkins and other winter squash.
Q. I have seen some Pansies for sale in some stores for planting outside. Can they really go out now?
A. Yes they can but keep a watch on the weather. If we dip into the teens you might want to pile some straw, pine needles or a plastic cover over them. They will bloom quite well until the real hot weather starts and are a great addition to a front planter or tub to add a lot of early season color.
Q. What is snow mold on lawns and how can it be prevented or cured?
A. Remember where the snowdrifts sat last winter? The lawn under a snowdrift is more susceptible to a grass fungus disease called “snow mold.” This area sometimes develops into mats of dead grass. To help prevent this, now is a good time to core aerate and rake this area. Go lighter with fertilizer where the snow sat as fertilizer can encourage fungus growth and cause dead patches. In bare spots consider re-seeding with a quality grass seed or take grass from areas where it is invading a flower bed and transplant it into the dead spots.
Gardeners like to keep track of the weather. In Cheyenne, the wind is something we are very much in touch. Could it have something to do with being the 4th windiest city in the nation?
Now there is an amazing new graphical representation of the daily wind direction and speed. It almost resembles dog hair moving and changing. You won’t believe it until you see it here.
Devil’s ivy or pothos is a popular foliage houseplant. It has heart shaped leaves that vine or trail far out of the pot. It often has variegated leaves with splotches of yellow or white. It needs bright but not direct light. Grow pothos on the wet side in summer and drier in winter. Pinching the tips encourages bushiness. Regular fertilization will encourage robust growth. Devil’s ivy is easy to grow and relatively free of pests.
It is great for office cubicles or low light rooms.
At long last there is a new USDA plant hardiness zone map.
This guide was last updated in 1990 and was long overdue for a revamping to take into account climatic changes. These planting maps are based primarily upon average minimum temperatures. There are a total of 13 zones. 1 is coldest (-60 to –50). 13 is hottest (60 to 70) and is found only on Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
The new map can be found on the USDA website. It uses 30 years of weather data gathered from 1976 to 2005. It is more precise than the 1990 version, showing It is designed for the Web and using their zip codes you see your zone down to half-mile segments. Many areas now find themselves in warmer zones
Cheyenne is now in a new climate zone.
Cheyenne used to be solidly in zone 4 is now one full zone warmer, zone 5.
“Because this map is mostly based upon temperature, it doesn’t account for Cheyenne’s extreme winds and lack of winter snow cover. Therefore, I would caution people to not jump blindly into growing zone 5 plants and instead look at what is proven to do well here,” said Cheyenne Botanic Gardens Director Shane Smith. Cheyenne gardeners should instead stick to following the colder, zone 4 designation especially when selecting trees and shrubs, stated Smith.
German immigrants brought the idea of planting to the New World that were very appropriate for their windy prairie settlements. However, they didn’t become popular until the 1930s dust bowl when farmers and ranchers were encouraged to establish shelterbelts throughout the Great Plains region to prevent wind erosion.
Shelterbelts not only provide much needed crop protection, but also provide other positive benefits to the people and animals that dwell around them.
Plant your own