Thursday, August 31, 2017

Tips to get green tomatoes to ripen on the vine

Find yourself with more green tomatoes than ripe ones right now. You're not alone. Many gardeners we talk to have the same complaint. "My tomatoes just don't want to ripen this year."  Here are some suggestions for ripening those green tomatoes still left on the vine. The idea is to channel the plant's energy away from flowering and leaf production, towards ripening existing fruit.
First of all, harvest any ripe tomatoes as soon as you can. Next, stop fertilizing. Your plants don't need any more Nitrogen at this point in the season. Another way to speed up ripening on the vine is to prune your tomato plants.
Start by removing any
diseased and damaged leaves and branches. You can also remove any young branches at this point.
Next, prune off any small fruit and flowers. Fruit that's just setting today isn't going to make it before the end of the season, so you might as well take them off. Cut off any green tomatoes that are soft to the touch. Leave healthy, fully-formed leaves on the plant. These leaves are needed to provide nutrients to the existing tomatoes. Plant pruning will help redirect energy towards ripening existing fruit.
Root pruning will also encourage ripening.
To root prune, simple stick a shovel or trowel six to eight inches deep into the ground, all the way around your tomato plant. This will chop off the ends of the roots and force the plant to stop new growth. With those root ends clipped off the tomato plant goes into fruit production mode. It should be noted that root pruning will dramatically decrease the life of your plant.
One last suggestion
, be patient. The average first fall frost date is September 27. Your tomatoes will have time to ripen on the vine. 
If the nights start getting too cool, cover your plants with an insulating material to protect them. These are several things you can do to speed up the ripening process. If it gets too late in the season, you can always pick the green fruit and bring it inside to ripen. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Time to Plant Cool Season Vegetables 

Fall is ideal for planting greens and root crops. The soil is warm and easy to work and there are generally fewer weeds, bugs and diseases to deal with. Warm fall days encourage good growth while the cooler fall nights bring out the flavor of your fall crops. 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 fall planting by taking time to prepare the ground where you intend to plant.
Your fall crop will only be as good as the soil it's growing in. Dig in 2" to 3" of organic material such as compost and peat moss, then rake it out.
I tend to pant in rows. It's how my Grandma taught me to garden many years ago and it's still effective today.
Once you have your rows set, add some fertilizer to the bottom of the furrow, plant your seeds, cover lightly and water. In just a few short days, you'll find your seeds have sprouted.
Thin the seedlings out at this point.
You'll get bigger, better yields, if you remove every other
Radishes such as French Breakfast and Cherry Belle can be planted now and will be ready to harvest in less than a month.
Fast growing greens
include Arugula (30-50 days), Lettuce (around 45 days) Spinach (40-50 days). Planting starts is another way to have fresh greens this fall. 
Look for Broccoli and Kale that's already started. It's easy to take these vegetable starts home and plant them. 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. 
As the season lengthens, 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

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Time to Feed and Seed your Lawn 

Late summer is one of the best time of the year for working on your lawn, including fertilizing, weed control, establishing a new lawn or renovating an existing lawn. If you haven’t fed your lawn for a while, now’s the time to add ferti-lome Lawn Food Plus Iron.
Ferti-lome Lawn Food Plus Iron contains Nitrogen, Potash and Chelated Iron. This product will quickly green up your lawn and keep it green long term. That's because ferti-lome Lawn Food Plus Iron contains chelated iron. It's important to use chelated iron in our heavy clay, high pH soils because your grass can absorb it more effectively than non-chelated iron. This is true any time you're adding iron to your lawn, trees and shrubs. Always look for products which contain chelated iron. 
Humic acid is another product you can apply to your lawn now to help your grass. Natural Guard HuMic is a highly concentrated soil conditioner derived from the remains of decomposed organic plant materials, HuMic will make your soil healthier, increase microbial activity and enhance nutrient uptake. Just like any other plant in your garden or landscape, your grass is only as good as the soil it is growing in. Anything you can do to make your soil healthier improves the quality of your turf grass. 
If you’re thinking about re-seeding those bare spots or adding seed to the whole lawn to help thicken it up, now is the time. Start with selecting the right seed for your lawn. Most of the grasses we use in our lawns are “cool-season” grasses. They do best when the temperatures are cooler. That’s why spring and fall are the best times to seed
or re-seed your lawn.  We recommend you choose seed that will work in our area. We get our grass seed from the Greely, Fort Collins area. When selecting grass seed, Perennial rye and bluegrass are generally better for sunny and semi-shady areas. Fescue does best for shady areas. Rake up the area you're trying to repair.
Add a good soil amendment
such as Earth Essentials Sheep, Peat and Compost.
Sow the seed as evenly as possible, then cover the seed with a thin layer of Sheep, Peat and
Compost. Keep the newly-seeded area moist until the grass seed has germinated and is established. Grass planted in late summer into early fall continues to build a strong root system even after the grass blades have stopped growing. Your lawn will be ready for a great start next spring.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Deadheading and other August Chores 

It’s not only what you plant but how you care for your plants that encourages blooming and fruiting through the season.  Keeping your garden looking its best means removing fading and spent flowers, as well as cleaning up leaves, branches and debris, especially if you got heavy rain and hail during the recent early August storms.
Weeds, like this wild lettuce can grow quickly this time of year, especially with the moisture we've had recently. Remove these and other weeds quickly before they go to seed. Speaking of going to seed, most annuals and perennials do their best when you remove fading blooms early, before they begin to form seed pods.
In gardening terms it’s called deadheading, which simply means pruning off the old flowers. This keeps the garden neat and promotes additional blooms as well. Get in the habit of deadheading while you walk through your garden.
It’s easy to carry a pair of light pruners with you as you make your rounds.
As you spot a blossom beginning to fade snip or pinch it off. Getting on a problem early is the best way to control it. 
With some plants, the heat, insect damage or disease has caused severe damage. Now's the time to prune them hard. 
Check your roses and remove spent blossoms. Do the same for your container plants, including hanging baskets. While you’re at it, take a hard look at your tomatoes and vegetables. Removing dead and diseased leaves on your tomato plants will put more energy into fruit production. Recognize common tomato problems such as
facing (low temperatures during bloom or fruit set),
cracking (watch the watering)
yellow shoulders (heat, low Potassium levels, high soil pH).
Heat, wind, uneven watering, poor soil, over fertilizing, insect damage can also cause tomato leaves to curl and twist. The best thing to do at this point is to maintain an even watering schedule and stop using high Nitrogen fertilizers. If you're not sure what's going on, bring us a sample. We'll figure it out and help you come up with a solution.
As for the rest of the vegetable garden, if you keep up with the harvest, many of your plants will produce more. This is also the time to start planning for a second crop of cool weather vegetables. Peas, radishes, lettuce, kale, spinach and many more cool weather crops can be planted soon, for winter harvest. Walk the garden every day. Time spent deadheading and pruning annuals and perennials will keep the garden colorful and fresh right to the end of the growing season.