Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Water plants for your pond and fountain

Adding pond plants will make your water feature more attractive and help keep the water cleaner. Here are some tips for choosing water plants for your pond or fountain. There are four categories of water plants: Oxygenating Plants, Floating Plants, Deep Water Plants and Marginal Plants. Oxygenating pond plants grow directly in the water and help introduce oxygen into the pond. A high level of oxygen is helpful for keeping algae under control. Oxygenators feed on decaying organic material like fish waste or leaves.
Mare’s tail and Red Stemmed Parrot’s Tail are common oxygenators.
Floating pond plants are important because they shade the pond water. Shade helps keep the water temperature down and helps inhibit algae growth. Floating water plants include Water Lettuce and Water Hyacinths.
Deep water plants are placed at the bottom of your pond. The most common type of deep water plants are water lilies.
Marginal water plants are placed in shallow water in or around the pond.
Some common marginal’s include taro, iris, cannas,
Red Stem Lizard’s Tail.
Generally, these plants can be taken home and placed directly in the pond without transplanting into larger pots.
To do their best, pick a site by the pond that has the most sunlight. As a rule, water plants do not need to be fed. While most of these water plants are tropical and won’t survive our winters, some water plants are rated Zone 4 and below. These have a better chance at surviving our winters here.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Growing hydrangea’s in Colorado



As with any plant the success of growing hydrangeas is dependent upon the quality of the soil you are planting in and where you plant. Hydrangeas do best in a place where they get morning sun and afternoon shade. They prefer soil that has been amended well with peat moss and compost. For our soils, you need to add a lot of peat moss and compost. This will help the soil drain well and lower the pH of your soil. Begin by digging a hole one and a half times wider than the container the plant came in. Add straight peat moss or Sheep, Peat and Compost to the planting hole.
Add some fertilizer with a high middle number to the bottom of the hole and then cover slightly. Take your hydrangea out of the container and rough up the sides and bottom of the root ball. Center the plant in the hole, making sure the top of the root ball is even with the surrounding soil surface. Back fill the planting hole with more peat moss or Sheep, Peat and Compost. Water well.
Our soils are generally alkaline so your blooms will be pink unless you regularly acidify your soil with Sulfur or Aluminum Sulfate. Adding a top dressing of peat moss or compost through the growing season will also help maintain soil acidity.

Endless Summer® The Original™

Endless Summer® BloomStruck™

Endless Summer® Twist-n-Shout™
Pink Elf

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Using the trench method to plant tomatoes


Now that the Mother’s Day storm is over it’s time to plant your tomatoes. The first step is to get your plants used to being outside. Begin with a day in the shade and back inside for the night. Increase the time spent outside over the next 5 or 6 days, including exposure to direct sun. Finally, start leaving your plants out overnight. Once they’ve spent a night or two outside, they are ready to plant.
One trick is to lay your plants on their sides, while they’re adjusting to the outside. This will encourage the top to curl up, making planting easier.
The day you’re ready to plant, slip your start out of its container and remove any blossoms that may have started.
Next take off the lower leaves, up to about the top 1/3rd. Select the sunniest site in your garden to plant your tomatoes. Work in some compost or peat moss.
Dig a 4" to 6" deep trench that’s long enough to accommodate the length of your plant.
Add some fertilizer, such as Happy Frog 5-5-5 or Espoma 4-3-3 organic starter.
Cover the fertilizer slightly and lay your tomato plant horizontally in the trench.
Add enough dirt to completely cover the plant while keeping the top of the tomato upright.
Place your plant tag nearby so you’ll remember what you planted.
Water thoroughly and add a tomato cage.
Keep your Wall-O-Water handy in case of some chilly May nights. A Wall-O-Water can slip on and off easily to protect your plant.  Planting in a trench instead of straight down in a hole keeps more of the root system warmer, improves water and nutrient take up and gives your tomato the best foundation possible for a productive season.

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Mother's Day 2015 freeze

As Mother’s Day approaches there is the potential for snow and freezing temperatures. One forecast is calling for 32ºF tonight (Saturday), snow Sunday and 30ºF on Sunday night. IF this happens, you should be prepared to cover your plants to protect them. The simplest solution is to bring everything that hasn’t been planted into the garage or house.
For plants in the ground, you can cover them with buckets,
old nursery pots,
sheets, floating row cover, insulating material like N-Sulate,
You can close the tops of your Walls-O-Water or cover smaller plants with hot kaps. Covering plants with plastic sheeting is not recommended. If we get a heavy snow, go out and shake your trees to knock the snow off to help prevent damage. Or use a broom to shake the snow off the branches. After Monday, the weather forecast is for more moderate temperatures.  

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Getting your lawn ready for summer



Here are some tips for having a great lawn throughout the summer and into fall.
Turf grass wears out and gets weak for any number of reasons, including wear and tear, age, poor soils, bugs and disease.
Thin, weak lawns encourage weeds and diseases and use more water. The good news is you can have a good-looking lawn by following a few simple steps. First, improve the soil your grass is growing in.
Aerate your lawn at least once a year.
This opens the soil up and allows air, water and fertilizer to get down to the roots.
Top-dress your lawn by adding a thin layer of compost or peat moss. This will improve the soil and strengthen the roots.
Apply humic acid in the form of Soil Activator to improve soil and encourage root growth.    
Fertilize in late May with a high nitrogen fertilizer, such as Fertilome 25-0-4. Your best defense against weeds is a strong, healthy lawn. Maintaining a healthy lawn will keep weeds from ever getting started in your yard. Two more points; keep your lawn mower set as high as it will go and mow more frequently. Avoid over-watering. Your lawn doesn’t need to be watered every day. Frequent watering makes the grass roots lazy. The best approach is to water deeper and less often. Doing these things now will keep your lawn looking good during the summer and into fall.