Monday, August 29, 2016

Fall, the second gardening season

Now's the time the second gardening season begins. The days are cooler and the soil is warm, perfect conditions to plant a second crop of cool weather vegetables. Most cool weather crops don't need a full day of sunlight in order to grow. The spot in your garden that didn't have enough light to grow tomatoes, will do just fine for spinach, lettuce or arugula.
Make the most of your space by planting some Packman broccoli or Bloomsdale spinach  along the edge of your perennial garden. Potted petunias and other flowering annuals starting to look tired? Plant some colorful Bright Lights Swiss Chard or Red Winter Kale seed or starts of Early Snowball cauliflower, in their place. Don't have room in the garden? Cool weather crops are shallow-rooted so it's easy to plant seeds or starts in a container on the patio.
Take advantage of the cool fall temperatures to try some Asian greens such as Mizuna or Bok Choy. Asian greens add unusual shapes, textures and spicy flavors to salads. More choices to plant now include basil, cilantro, chives, dill, lavender, cabbage, beets, radishes and peas. These cool weather crops will do fine and you can harvest fresh greens well into winter. For short maturing greens consider Chef's Medley Mesclun lettuce, Matador spinach, Rocket Salad arugula. All of these greens will be ready in less than 30 days.
Radishes such as French Breakfast and Cherry Belle can be planted now and will be ready to harvest in less than a month.
Planting greens in the fall should include refreshing the garden soil with some compost or peat moss. Add some fertilizer to the row as you plant.
Keep a frost cloth handy for those nights when cooler temperatures threaten your crop. This will help extend your "greens" garden well into late fall. There's nothing like a dinner salad picked from your own garden.  It's fresh and you know exactly what's in it.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Colorado Dahlia Society Show

On Saturday August 27th and Sunday August 28th, the Colorado Dahlia Society will hold its annual show at The Flower Bin, 1805 Nelson Road, Longmont, Colorado. The show is free and open to the public. You don't have to be a member of the Colorado Dahlia Society to show your dahlias. You do have to register your entries by 9:00 AM Saturday morning, August 27th. Each dahlia must include two leaves along with the blossom, in order to be accepted into the judging.
Very few plants offer as many colors and forms as dahlias do.
For ongoing fall color, dahlias are a great choice. Dahlias will bloom from late summer to first frost and can be grown in containers on the patio or in the garden. According to the American Dahlia Association, dahlias originated in Central America where they were called Acocotli and Cocoxochitl by the ancient Aztecs. Spanish explorers brought the plants back  to Europe and it was a staff member at the Royal Gardens in Madrid, Spain who named the plant after Swedish botanist Andreas Dahl.  Dahl considered the flower a vegetable. The first varieties with large, double flowers were bred in Belgium in the early 1800’s.
Now there are hundreds of varieties to choose from.
Dahlia flowers range in size from less than 2" in diameter to over 8". There are nineteen forms of Dahlia flower types,  from ball to semi-cactus.
Come to the Colorado Dahlia Society show,
The show runs Saturday August 27th and Sunday August 28th. 
See the wide variety of dahlias you can grow in your own garden.
Talk to other dahlia growers and learn more about planting, growing and showing dahlias.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Plant Speedwell for Fall color

Veronica is one of those perennials that should have a place in everyone's garden. Also known as speedwell and garden speedwell, Veronica is an easy to care for, low-maintenance perennial that will provide color to your garden all season long. Speedwell plants fall into two categories. The bushy, low-growing ground covers which grow anywhere from an inch to a foot high and the tall spike type which can reach three to four feet tall and bloom through the season. This blog will focus on the more common, tall, upright speedwell. The color range for speedwell is blue, white, purple and pink.

Veronica offers some of the bluest color blooms you'll find. When in flower, they will reach about 3' tall.
Speedwell tends to stay in place, and is typically non-invasive. 
It looks good with other perennials such as Black Eyed Susan.  
Speedwell will tolerate some shade but flowers best in full sun. Once you've selected the site, planting your speedwell should include improving the existing soil. Speedwell like well-amended soil, so plan to incorporate compost, peat moss into the planting site before you plant your speedwell. Adding root stimulator at planting time helps ensure your new plants will get off to a good start. Fall is a great time to plant Veronica. The cooler days and warm soil temperatures allow the plant time to get established before winter.
Planting in the fall means earlier flowering next season.
Another benefit of planting speedwell in your garden? It's a great way to attract pollinators. For a low maintenance, fast growing perennial, choose Veronica. It is versatile and dependable and will bring color to your perennial garden for many seasons to come.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Daylilies are the ideal perennial for your garden.

If you're looking for a very reliable plant to add color to your perennial garden, Daylilies are what you're looking for. Daylilies belong to the Hemerocallis family and they thrive here in Zone 5. The daylily's botanical name Hemerocallis, means "beauty for a day" and it's true the individual daylily flowers open in the morning and are often done blooming by nightfall. 
The good news is, each flower stem (called a scape) has multiple flower buds, so the plant stays in bloom for several weeks. You may also choose varieties that bloom early, mid-season and late, giving you color throughout the growing season. Your daylilies will grow and flower best when planted in full sun. Daylilies like well-drained soils, so amend the planting site soil with a mixture of compost and peat moss. Add some Bone Meal to the planting site and set your new daylily in the ground at the same level it was in the pot. Space your daylily plants 12" to 18' apart, so there will be plenty of room to grow. Fertilize daylilies every 3-4 weeks during the growing season, using an 11-15-11 fertilizer. Besides watering and monthly feeding during the growing season, daylilies don't require much maintenance, other than to cut back the flower stalks once they are done blooming. Plan to divide daylilies every 4 to 5 years. You'll know it's time to divide them if they don't bloom as well as they used to and the plants look overcrowded.  Fall is a really good time to divide daylilies. Once replanted, they have all fall to re-establish. Use a garden fork to dig up each clump, than divide them and replant. Daylilies are very reliable, low maintenance plants that will provide color to your garden for many seasons. They are the ideal perennial for your garden because they are available in a rainbow of colors and they thrive with little care.  Popular daylilies include:
'Bela Lugosi',
'Early Snow',
'Little Grapette',
'Pardon Me',
Pizza Crust'
'Stella De'Oro',
'Strawberry Candy',
'When My Sweetheart Returns'

Monday, August 1, 2016

A look back at The Great Pumpkin Contest

Sadly, The Flower Bin has announced that we will not be hosting the Great Pumpkin Contest.
The Great Pumpkin Contest was always a highlight of the season. Each year, on a Saturday in early October, contestants and spectators alike would converge on The Flower Bin to participate and witness the annual Great Pumpkin Contest.
Sometimes pumpkins would arrive in the back of station wagons and sometimes on pallets in the back of pickups. Sometimes, contestants would move their own pumpkins on
a cart or wagon.
Often it took a forklift to pickup the pumpkin and move it to the staging area.
No matter. Each pumpkin was carefully registered, measured and documented.

Lining up the pumpkins in the staging area gave everyone a chance to look at each entrant.
Usually the contest started with the smallest pumpkin and progressed to the largest.
Emcee and Flower Bin owner Don Weakland would signal that he was ready to begin.
Each pumpkin was placed on the digital scale and carefully weighed. The weight was recorded on each pumpkin and the contest proceeded until every pumpkin had been weighed. There were many "oohs and aahs" from the audience as each pumpkin was presented.
Once the weigh in was complete, it was time to hand out the awards.
One by one, each contestant was called to come up and receive their certificate.
Top three winners in
Children's division and
Adult division received ribbons in addition to certificates.
There were pictures taken and monetary prizes awarded for the biggest pumpkins.
The weather was generally good for each of the contests and people enjoyed gathering and discussing pumpkins and gardening in general.
After the contest, the big winner was left on display for all to visit and enjoy.
We thank everyone for their support for and participation in the Great Pumpkin Contests we've held over the years.