Is it Springtime yet?

The last few weeks have us here in Colorado asking is it Springtime yet?  I have lived in Colorado since 1992 and I don’t remember a Spring that has been so chilly and windy for so long.  Even our dog seems to be wondering where is Spring?  Between keeping my ears alert for freeze warnings, trying to keep from being blown away and the never-ending snow.  I am frustrated waiting to get my plants in the ground.  If you are like me you are praying for warmer temperatures so you can do some planting without having to worry about nasty “Jack Frost” killing those freshly planted flowers or vegetables. Continue reading

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Growing Swiss Chard as an Alternative to Spinach

Do you love fresh spinach from the garden, but it gets too hot too soon and it bolts?  Growing Swiss chard in your garden is a wonderful alternative.  Though it is a cool season crop, unlike spinach, Swiss chard withstands higher temperatures and water shortages.  It is very nutritious, vitamin rich and very easy to grow.  It is not only great in your vegetable garden, but it can be used as an ornamental plant.

You can eat Swiss chard just like spinach.  Either in a fresh salad or cooked.

Like all vegetables Swiss Chard loves full sun, though it can tolerate some shade.  Additionally it prefers well-drained soil with lots of organic material, it does not like acid soil.  It tolerates infrequent water better than spinach, but performs and tastes better with regular watering.

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Quote for April

“I think that no matter how old or infirm I may become, I will always plant a large garden in the spring.  Who can resist the feeling of hope and joy that one gets from participating in nature’s rebirth?”

-Edward Giobbi

Spring has finally arrived in Colorado!

The Spring snows are gone for now and with the moisture they left behind and the warmer temperatures the flowers in my garden have begun to bloom.  The first ones to emerge up through the bark mulch were of course  the crocus followed by the daffodils.  As the days get longer and temperatures get warmer the perennials are starting to poke their heads through the mulch after a long winter’s nap. Continue reading

Quote for the month of March

I found this quote while surfing the web and found it very appropriate for how the weather has been throughout the country. “March is  a month of considerable frustration-it is so near spring and yet across a great deal of the country the weather is still so violent and changeable that outdoor activity in our yard seems light years away.”

Thalassa Cruso

Springtime in the Rockies

I thought the calendar said Spring, but Old Man Winter has not released his grip on us here in Colorado Springs.  We received a good reminder last night when the snow started to fall and the wind began to howl.  When I awoke this morning I looked out to the backyard and behold a winter wonderland.  My scientific measuring on our patio table showed almost 7″ of snow had fallen overnight.

Anyone who has lived here through a winter and a spring knows that come March and April is when we get our heaviest amount of wet snow.  I thought we were going to make it through March without that coming true.  Boy was I ever wrong!  Here in Colorado we try not to complain too much about our erratic weather this time of year.  We know that the snow that falls now ends up in our reservoirs high in the mountains for our drinking water.  But could it not smash my crocus and daffodils one year? Continue reading

What variety of onion grows best in our area?

It is not quite time to plant your onions yet, but it is time to make sure your soil is prepared and that you choose the right onion plant for our growing season.  Onions are best grown in a raised bed at least 4 inches high.  If you do not have raised beds, ensure the soil is loose, well-drained soil of high fertility and plenty of organic matter.  Onions grow best with a pH between 6.2 and 6.8.

There are three types of onions and they are characterized by day length.  Long-day onions, which grow better in the northern states, quit forming tops and begin to form bulbs when the day-length reaches 14-16 hours.  Short-day onions, which grow better in the southern states, will start making bulbs earlier when there are only 10-12 hours of daylight.  Intermediate-day onions, which are great for the mid-state gardens, require 12-13 hours of daylight to form bulbs.  We want to plant intermediate-day onions in our area.  Three varieties that do well here are:

  • Sweet Candy Red(red onion)
  • Super Star Hybrid(white onion)
  • Hybrid Candy(yellow onion) Continue reading