Monday, September 26, 2016

Fall Lawn and Garden Chores

Now is the right time to get your lawn and garden ready for next season. Start with your lawn. Lawns are generally in a recovery mode from the heat and stress of the summer. The work you do now will prepare your lawn for next spring and summer. You can still effectively treat broadleaf weeds in the lawn.
Use a selective herbicide such as Weed Free Zone to control weeds without harming your grass and it works in cooler temperatures. This is also a good time to seed those bare spots in the lawn. Begin by raking the area to clean up dead grass and debris.
Spread some compost over the area, apply your seed, cover the seed with compost and water in. Keep the soil moist until the grass seed germinates.
About Halloween, apply a Winterizer Fertilizer to your lawn. The fertilizer will be stored in the roots, ready for spring green up. Your lawn will look great next spring.
Now's the time to start cleaning up your garden. Remove and trash any plants that had diseases or insect problems. This will help reduce insect and disease problems next spring. The rest of your clippings can go into the compost pile.
Fall is a great time to add organic material, such as Sheep, Peat and Compost. Add 2" to 3" of compost and peat moss and dig it in. Another way to improve your garden soil is to plant a cover crop of Winter Rye or clover. Let it sit all winter, than turn it over in the spring. If you haven't tested your soil recently, you can do so with a home test kit or by sending a soil sample to Colorado State University soil test lab. They will give you a comprehensive analysis of your soil.
October is the time plant spring flowering
bulbs - tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocus. These bulbs are hardy enough to survive our winter weather, and bring spring color to your garden for many years to come.  
Add some Dutch Bulb Food when you plant.
Now's the time to clean up and lightly prune roses. Remove any old hips and withering flowers. Cut canes to about 2'. Hard pruning roses will come in the spring. When the ground is cold, add rose collars and mulch to your roses.
Mulching roses and perennials late in the season will help keep the ground cold and stable. You'll have less winter kill.You should wrap deciduous trees if they've been in the ground five years or less.
This will prevent damage to the trees from the winter sun. Keep watering. Even though its late in the season, your lawn, perennials, trees and shrubs will handle winter weather better if they are well hydrated. Remember to water through the winter. Pick a warm day and water trees and shrubs about every four to five weeks through the winter. Your garden and lawn will do better next season.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Fall Gardening Classes

Every gardening season is different and each season brings its own set of challenges. What worked last year, didn't work as well this season. What can I do now to make my garden better next year?
Saturday September 24 at 1 pm Michael Morris will cover those questions you have concerning gardening, including "what do I do now". This class will be repeated on Saturday October 15, at 1 pm.
October 1, 2016 at 1 pm Kara Gonzales will discuss planning and designing bulb gardens. Discover the steps to designing, planting and caring for a spectacular bulb garden. Be inspired to plant your first bulbs or add to your existing bulb garden. If you'd like to know more about planting and caring for Tulips, Daffodils, Hyacinths, Dutch Iris  and more spring flowering bulbs, this is the class for you.
Questions about planting, growing and harvesting garlic? Not sure how to get started growing your own garlic? Come to class on Saturday October 8 at 1 pm.  Greg Vonn, co-owner of the Purple Door Farm in Hygiene will let you in on his secrets to growing great garlic. There is no charge for our classes. We do ask that you register for each class. You can register by calling 303-772-3454 or by adding your name to the class sign-up sheets, while you're in the store.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Iris Planting and Care

This is the time of year the tall bearded iris become available for sale.
Tall bearded Iris are sold as individual roots, called rhizomes which are found in the bulb section.
Tall bearded Iris can also be planted from starts. Tall bearded Iris starts, in a variety of colors, are found in the Perennial section. Whichever you choose, tall bearded iris are ready to purchase and plant now. While you're shopping for bearded iris, you may notice some boxes are labeled "Blooms Spring and Fall". These are "reblooming" iris, that is iris that have been developed to produce blooms in the spring and again in the fall. Whether you choose the reblooming varieties or not, there are certain things to do to ensure the success of your iris for many seasons to come. Iris will do okay in clay soils, but they will thrive in well-amended soils. Take time to improve the planting site by adding compost or peat moss. These amendments should be mixed about 50:50 with the existing soil.
Next, add some Bone Meal, working it into the soil. You’re now ready to plant your iris rhizomes.
There is a “front and back” to iris rhizomes, a toe and a heel. The leaf indicates the heel side. Iris will grow in the direction of the heel, so keep that in mind when you're planting, especially if they're going to be growing along a path or fence.
Another important factor to remember when you're planting your iris rhizomes is to avoid planting too deep. Iris do their best when planted so the top of the rhizome is right at the soil level. If you plant iris too deep, the leaves may develop but chances are it won't bloom.

This is also the time to divide bearded iris.  Over time, iris become crowded and they stop blooming, so it’s important to dig and divide iris every so often in order to reinvigorate the plant. 
Irises grow in clumps and the root of an iris is called a rhizome. It is the rhizome that we are going to lift carefully, using a garden fork. Once out of the ground, cut or break apart the rhizomes into sections, each with a healthy set of leaves and firm, tan/white roots.
Get rid of rhizomes that are soft, mushy or have holes in them. Holes indicate the presence of iris borers, so you will want to treat the rhizomes you choose to keep, with a garden dust such as Eight.
Next, cut the leaves back in a fan shape to about a third of their length and mark them.
You are now ready to plant your iris, following the same guidelines outlined earlier in this article. Your iris will establish themselves through the fall and early winter and be ready to bloom for you next spring and in some cases, next fall.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Fall is for planting perennials

September is a great time to plant and there are a number of reasons this is so. The daytime temperatures are cooler and the soil temperature is still warm, a perfect combination for planting perennials. Typically, there are fewer insects and diseases to contend with, which helps reduce the stress on newly planted perennials and you generally have more time for gardening in the fall. The weather isn't quite as tricky as it is in the spring and you don't have that "spring rush" feeling to get everything done after winter.
There is a great selection of perennials to chose from now, including roses, bearded iris, mums and asters, colorful sedums, blanket flowers and clematis.
Edibles such as raspberries, grapes, blackberries can be planted now, as well as flowering shrubs such as ninebark and butterfly bushes. The key to fall planting just like every other time of the season, is to prepare the soil.  The advantage this time of year is the soil is warm and dryer making it easier to add amendments. In our typical clay soils, that means adding organic material to the planting site is key.
We buy bagged soil amendments such as Cow and Compost locally. Bagged amendments make it  easy to  take home and place in the garden. Amendments should be incorporated into the planting site at a 50:50 ratio with the existing soil. Prepare a spot twice as large as the container your plant came in and half again as deep. Remove the plant from its container and break up the root ball. Place the plant in the planting hole just below grade, enough to form a slight depression in the soil. This will help keep water from running off too quickly.  Even though the temperatures during the day are cooler so there's less moisture loss, it's important to keep your plants watered as fall deepens into winter.  All plants will handle winter weather better, if they are well hydrated.
After first hard frost, when the ground is cold add a 2" to 3" layer of mulch to help hold in the moisture and keep the ground cold and stable through the winter. Water your plants every 4-5 weeks during the winter.  In short, planting perennials in the fall gives your plants time to establish and develop strong root systems, which will give them a vigorous head start next spring.