Heidi Mae’s Garden: Sprouting!

It’s been a little over three weeks since I got my garden started; it’s looking happier all the time!

garden 5-18-13

A lot has happened in the time since I blogged last–from my garden journal:

  • April 29:  Arugula and lettuce sprouted 
  • May 2:  Basil sprouted in my unheated greenhouse, and radish sprouted outside.  Everything survived 2 freeze warnings
  • May 3:  Buttercup squash in the greenhouse sprouted, beets and spinach sprouted outside.  I seeded Cherokee Purple tomatoes in the greenhouse, expecting them to sprout between May 8 and 13
  • May 4:  Round zucchini and California poppies sprouting in the greenhouse, peas outside
  • May 7:  Aunt Ruby’s German Green tomatoes, cilantro and patty pan squash sprouted in the greenhouse
  • May 13:  Cherokee Purple and parsley sprouted in the greenhouse
  • May 14: Potatoes finally showing a bit of green above the soil
  • May 15:  Peppers, tomatillos, tomatoes from MGG planted, cauliflowers starting to form
  • May 18:  The first strawberry!
  • May 19:  Planted green beans and fava beans (an experimental crop!)  Expecting beans to sprout in 10 days.

“Cold season” crops were planted outside toward the end of April, while warm season crops were planted in my unheated greenhouse.  Because it’s unheated, I wait to plant in it until most frost danger is past.  A greenhouse gets enough light to keep seedlings nice and stout, and I start a variety of warm season crops in there, growing plants for myself and my neighbors’ gardens.  Warm season crops should NOT be planted outside until frost danger is past; for the Grand Valley that’s usually Mother’s Day weekend.

In the greenhouse, I seeded most everything April 26 (later than I usually seed due to the cold spring) and by May 8, most had sprouted.

greenhouse sprouts

True leaves were appearing by May 18.


When seeds sprout, the first leaves are the “seed leaves,” because they come from the sides of the seed.  (Corn is a bit different, it only has one seed leaf.)  True leaves are leaves typical for the particular plant–the ones you recognize as squash or tomato or lettuce.  Look for the seed leaves and the new true leaves of these squash and tomatoes.

squash true leaves

tomatoes true leaves

Let’s look at some baby pictures from May 8 (the first) and see how they’ve grown by May 18 (the second).  First the arugula.



Now beets.  This is my first time planting beets; so far they’re pretty slow-growing.



Here’s lettuce.



And sugar snap peas.  I need to get a trellis for them to climb on soon!   I planted tomatillos in the same bed.


peas and tomatillos

Here are the radishes.  They’ll get thinned as I pull them to munch on.



Let’s check in with the potatoes.


Here’s my pepper bed.  I have green, orange, gold and red bell peppers, Big Jims, and poblanos planted in the same bed as the green onions.

peppers and onions

I’m trying grafted tomatoes this year!  I chose San Marzanos–paste tomatoes, and Mortgage Lifter–an heirloom that makes huge tomatoes that when they were first bred, were popular enough to pay off the originator’s mortgage!  I’ll plant the Cherokee Purples and the Aunt Ruby’s German Greens when they’re ready to be outside in this bed as well.


The marigolds are there because I like them, and because they help keep bugs away.  How is your garden growing?





Filed under General gardening, onions, tomatoes, vegetable gardening

Heidi Mae’s Garden: Getting Started

If you’re new to gardening, it can be helpful to have a gardening buddy to help you know what to do, and what to expect.  Even if you’re a gardener from way back, it’s fun to compare notes about what works and what doesn’t.  So, here I am!  Your online gardening friend, Heidi Mae. (Mae isn’t part of my given name, but one given to me by one of the greenhouse owners, and it just stuck.)  I’m one of “the girls” who work up front at the cash registers at Mt Garfield Greenhouse.

happy and tired


I’ll share what’s happening in my garden in a sort of step-by-step way with pictures of what I’m doing this year.  My garden changes a bit from year to year, as I like to try new varieties of veggies and I like to rotate crops in my raised beds.

ready to amend

I live in the Whitewater area.  The soil here is NOT garden-friendly, so my fabulous husband constructed these beds, we lined them with plastic to keep the alkali from leaching up, and we filled them with 3-way mix from Mt Garfield Greenhouse.  Some of the beds are made from 6×6 lumber, some are plastic build-it-yourself kits from gardeners.com.  The wooden ones work the best–you’ll notice in some of the pictures that the plastic ones bow out–I don’t like that.  I also have an assortment of containers that expand my plantable space.

I garden organically, using companion plants to help with bug eradication, as well as hand picking some of the beasties and squishing them–eeewwwww.  More on that in a later post.  The pictures and happenings in this post took place April 25, 2013.  I keep a garden log to keep track of where I plant what and when I can expect to see germination.  I also record what varieties worked and which ones I should skip next year.  I start some veggies from seed and some from plants.



Every year, I amend my soil.  3-way is a fabulous garden soil, but veggies rob nutrients from it each growing season that need to be replaced.  In the past I used a combo of Soil Pepe, Mesa Magic, and Earthworm Castings; the last few years I’ve been using Happy Frog Soil Conditioner.  I like that it’s organic and I like the boost it gives my plants.  I distribute it out among the beds and containers–a bit of  process because those bails of Happy Frog are heavy!  🙂

conditioner divided

Then I spade the amendment in (troweled in in the containers), and smooth the surfaces with a rake.  Then they’re ready to plant!

spade in conditioner

beds are ready

I planted my potatoes on the outside edge of one of the beds, a different one than they were in last year.  The outside edge because they’ll be growing for the whole season and they’re kinda out of my way there.  I dug a trench as deep as the garden and spaced the potatoes in it.  I’m lazy and leave them whole.  You can cut potato sets so that each section has an “eye” to create more potato plants.  If you chose to do that, be sure to let the cut edges dry overnight before planting so the raw edge won’t rot.  Anyway, then I just cover them up, pat the soil on top of them and mark the row.  Later, I’ll plant green beans next to them.  Beans and potatoes are companion plants–the potatoes keep bean beetles off the beans while the beans keep potato beetles off the potatoes.

planting potatoes

marking rows

I also planted snap peas, lettuce, spinach, radishes, onions, cabbage, and beets directly into the garden.  These are considered cool season crops, pretty much unaffected by late spring frosts.  Each veggie was seeded/planted, marked and watered in.


watering in

I have rhubarb, planted years ago, in a half wine barrel.  I scratch in a bit of amendment and time-release fertilizer each year, but otherwise leave it alone.


I lost a lot of strawberries over the winter, but those that had rooted in the gravel outside the garden as runners survived!  I dug those up and placed them in the container where the others had been, scratched in some soil conditioner and fertilizer and watered them in.


Amending and planting just this much took the better part of my day.  I was sore (sooo out of gardening shape!), tired and happy.  There’s just something wonderfully satisfying about starting a new garden each year.  I can hardly wait for a fresh salad or a radish sandwich–an old Iowa favorite from my childhood.  🙂   The next post from Heidi Mae’s garden will be about the veggies I started in my unheated greenhouse.


Filed under amendments, General gardening, soil, Uncategorized

Using Ladybugs to Control Aphids

Aphids are often the first pest to appear in the Spring, covering the growing tips of roses, aspen trees and columbines, sucking out the plant’s juices with their straw-like mouths.  Aphids secrete a sweet sugary substance that attracts ants–often the first indicator of an aphid infestation.  Curled leaves are another aphid indicator.  Most aphids can’t fly, and can be dislodged with the spray from your garden hose.  However, those not dislodged can give live birth to up to 100 baby aphids each, replenishing the population in no time.  Aphids can also be controlled using sprays, systemic insecticides and ladybugs–the method being discussed here.

ladybug eating aphid


Photo Credit

Ladybugs are a natural predator of aphids, capable of eating up to 5000 aphids in their 3-6 week life span.  Ladybug larva don’t look much like the adults, but are responsible for the majority of the aphid-eating.  They’re not very pretty, and actually kinda creepy, but don’t squish them.  Here’s a picture of one I took in the Greenhouse last year:

ladybug larva

Mt Garfield Greenhouse sells cartons (prices determined by the vendor each year) of live ladybugs starting in the spring and up until the weather starts getting hot.  Each carton contains over a thousand ladybugs!

ladybug carton

Here are steps you should take to help keep these aphid eaters around:

  1. Mist the top of the carton with water and keep them in the door of your fridge until you’re ready to release them.
  2. At dusk, spray the aphid-infested plants with water.
  3. Sprinkle the ladybugs at the base of each plant.  (Ladybugs don’t like to fly at night, and will move up the plant drinking water, eventually finding the aphids.)

As long as there are aphids to eat, the ladybugs should stay around!  Ladybugs are insects, and will be killed by insecticides–don’t use ladybugs if you’re using an insecticidal spray.

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Planting Bunching Onions

Mt Garfield Greenhouse sells certain onions already sprouted from seeds in packs, such as Walla Wallas and bunching (green) onions.  These onions must be separated from each other before planting in order to achieve the sizing you want.  Here’s a quick “how-to” for doing just that.

First of all, set yourself up with the plants, a bucket of water, and if you want, something to sit on.  An upside down bucket works nicely as a perch; I recently treated myself to this groovy little tractor-seated scooter thingie.

set up

Next, pop one of the cells out from the pack.

pop out

Swish the cell in the water to loosen the soil from the root ball.  You can use your fingers to gently help the soil out.


Starting with an onion from an outside edge, gently tug it from the root ball with its own roots still attached to it.  Set it in the water as you separate the rest of the onions from that cell.


Plant them in a prepared spot with the white part just under the surface.  Green onions can be spaced rather closely, an inch or two apart.  Larger onions should be spaced about 4 inches apart.


Repeat with the other cells, water them in and voila!  They’ll be standing up and growing for you in no time.  One pack of bunching onions usually keeps my family in fresh green onions for salads, omelets, and nacho garnish, etc. all season long.

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Groovy Grafted Tomatoes!

Most home vegetable gardens have at least one tomato plant, and that plant tends to be the gardener’s favorite.  Particular tomatoes become favorites because of dependability, production, flavor, disease resistance, or the one that Mom grew.  What if that favorite could be even better?!  Read on, because grafted tomatoes in your favorite varieties are even better than the originals.

Let’s start with what you can look forward to:  great flavor, great productivity, larger fruit, longer season, and enhanced disease resistance.  The desired tomato variety tops (scions), often heirlooms, are grafted onto hybrid roots–this gives you the flavor of the heirloom with the disease-resistance and hardiness of the hybrid.  “Side-by-side tests done by Ball Horticultural Co. in Chicago have shown at least 50 percent higher yields from grafted tomatoes than from non-grafted varieties. That total varies from garden to garden and gardener to gardener, but it means more fruit or larger fruit.” (Dean Fosdick, AP)

Care must be taken when planting a grafted tomato. With regular tomatoes, we encourage deep planting, as tomatoes will root from their stems.  Grafted tomatoes must be planted with the graft ABOVE the soil level.  Planting the graft under the soil defeats the purpose of the graft, as roots will develop from the stem of the scion, and you will no longer have the benefit of the hybrid root stock.  Our grafted tomatoes come with an indicator tab that should stay above ground level–essentially, plant these tomatoes at exactly the level they are in the pot.  If you look closely, you’ll be able to see the graft–it looks like a healed cut a bit above the soil line.


Each variety tag has information about grafted tomatoes and planting instructions, as well as a QR code that will send you to this video.


Mt Garfield Greenhouse has limited quantities of Big Beef, Brandywine, Early Girl, Mortgage Lifter, San Marzano, and Sunsugar.  We plan to plant  a grafted tomato next to the same variety,ungrafted, in our demo garden so you can see the difference!  Grab your favorites and see the increased vigor and yield in your own garden!


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The Zen of Spring Rose Pruning

Breathe.  You know what day it is.  Breathe.  Here in the Grand Valley, April 15 signifies more than a day that can be stress-inducing to those still crunching numbers trying to beat the tax deadline.  Mid-April is also prime time to prune roses; most of our hard freezes are usually in the past and the promise of fragrant spring flowers waits inside those thorny shrubs you’ve been dying to take the loppers to.

Let’s not get crazy, though.  Rose pruning requires patience, observation, attention to detail and a bit of artistry.  Assemble your tools first:  Heavy gloves, preferably long, gauntlet-style if you can find them, bypass pruners, loppers for larger shrubs/thicker canes, and a sealant of some sort–Elmer’s Glue or clear nail polish or an actual pruning sealer from your local garden center.


1.  Get your Zen on and step back from your rose and assess its overall shape and size and scan it for dead canes.

2.  Trim out any dead canes first, starting a pile for the trash.  Roses are susceptible to many diseases and  insect invasions, so it’s best to NOT place rose trimmings in your compost.

3.  Step back again and assess how crowded the center of the shrub is.  Prune to open the center to allow light and air to circulate, which will minimize disease later.

4.  Make your cuts clean (not ragged) 1/4 inch above an outward facing bud at a 45 degree angle (See image), pruning 1/2 inch into green, live wood.  With the tough winter we had, this may cause you to reduce the size of your shrub by half or more.  If the rose was newly planted last year and still small, you may want to just give it a very light trim, along with the removal of dead canes.  Most roses can be trimmed back to a height of 18-24 inches every year.


(image from Gardenality)

5.  Remove any twiggy branches that are smaller in diameter than a pencil.

6.  Remove any suckers–growth that starts below the graft (the bulge).

7.  Seal all cut ends with glue, nail polish or sealer, to prevent borers or other problems from entering.

8.  Step back again and reassess the shape of your rose.  Make additional cuts as needed to keep the center somewhat open and the overall shape vase-like, remembering to seal the cuts.

9.  Clean out any debris from under the shrub where bugs and their families could hide.  Use a rake or convince a bug-tolerant person to do this if the thought of creepy-crawlies gives you the creepy crawlies. 😉

10.  Breathe. Step back and admire the fabulous and professional pruning you’ve just accomplished.  Breathe.  Think of how beautiful your roses will be this year.  Breathe.  See your friends at Mt Garfield for fertilizers, systemics and sprays to keep your babies lovely all season long.

carpet rose

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Healthy Soil is Your Plants’ Best Friend

Plants are the rock stars of any greenhouse or garden center.  They’re lush.  They’re colorful.  They hold the promise of food, beauty and shade for your family.  Under the pretty flowers and strong, healthy foliage, inside the pot, is a soil specially constructed to help that that rock star plant shine.  Most of us don’t have garden soil anywhere near that perfect combination of organic and inorganic components, along with being beautifully textured to support optimum plant growth.  What’s a gardener to do to help their new little plant babies thrive?  Spend the money on soil amendments.

The soils in the Grand Valley developed from Mancos Shale, which can be very productive with yearly additions of organic matter.  While our soils are often not lacking in nutrients, with the exception of nitrogen, they are often on the salty side, with a high (alkaline) pH.  Correcting for organic matter and nitrogen is relatively easy using soil amendments.  If your soil is especially salty, avoid using manures or other fertilizers that may add to the salt content.

Organic matter “helps sandy soil by retaining water that would otherwise wash away and it corrects clay soil by making it looser, so that air, water and roots can penetrate. In all soils, it encourages beneficial microbial activity and it provides some nutritional benefits. Humus is natures way of feeding the circle of life.” (About.com-Gardening)  Amendments for improving the organic content of your soil include Soil Pepe, Mesa Magic Compost, and Happy Frog Soil Conditioner.




To determine if your soil is lacking in nutrients, you can take a sample to the CSU Extension office or a private lab for analysis.  There are also home testing kits available for testing pH.  When you have test results, you can select and apply nutrient amendments.

Plants can deplete soils of nutrients, therefore if you have gardened for a while in a certain area, you will need to replenish those nutrients.  When planting, apply a fertilizer containing nitrogen for healthy green leaves, phosphorous for root growth and flowers, and potassium for overall plant health.  There are many, many options available to choose between.  Keep in mind that while inorganic fertilizers are often more cost-effective, it may take longer for the plant to access them and may increase the salt levels in your soil.  Organic choices can be more costly, but are often more effectively taken up by your plants.  You will also find different choices in application–influencing how and how often you need to apply the product.  Whichever choice you make, your plants will benefit.

While you’re waiting for the Valley to be out of frost danger, take some time to amend your soils.  Whatever you’re planting will be much more likely to survive and thrive with the additional time and expense.  Your friends at Mt Garfield Greenhouse are happy to help you make your choices of amendments and fertilizers.


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Let’s Talk Tomatoes!

According to a site called Tomato Dirt, 93% of American gardening households grow tomatoes.  Many of our  customers, as well as many of us, have favorite varieties they plant year after year.  Regardless of the preferred type, tomato lovers all seem to agree that nothing beats the flavor of a home-grown tomato.  Both veteran tomato growers and newbies to gardening often have questions about the tons of varieties we grow:  What’s the difference between determinate and indeterminate?  What’s the difference between heirlooms and hybrids?  When is it safe to plant and how do I plant them?  Do I need to prune them?  Do I need to worry about bugs or anything?  So.  Let’s talk tomatoes!


Determinate vs Indeterminate:

Tomatoes are classified by their growth habit.  Determinate plants, like Roma, Husky Red, and Husky Cherry Red will tend to be shorter and easier to manage than indeterminates.  Most won’t need to be staked and may have a tendency to bear fruit over a shorter amount of time.

Indeterminate plants, like Goliath, Brandywine, and Fantastic will continue growing and bearing fruit throughout the season and will need support of some kind.

Heirlooms and Hybrids:  

Heirloom tomatoes, such as Brandywine, Amish Paste, and Pineapple Hawaiian, are open pollinated and true to seed, meaning you can save seed from them to grow next year that will result in tomatoes identical to those from the parent plant.  Most heirloom varieties were introduced prior to 1940, and tend to be more flavorful and unique in both shape and color than hybrids.  However, they may take longer to mature and produce fewer fruits than a hybrid.

Hybrids, like Goliath, Celebrity and Early Girl, have been bred to be stronger, more resistant to common tomato diseases, more productive, and maintain consistency of size and shape.  While hybrids are the perfect shape for your BLT, they may not be as flavorful as an heirloom.

When is it safe to plant and how do I plant them?

In the Grand Valley, it’s usually safe to plant on Mother’s Day Weekend (later for higher elevations).  Tomatoes are tropical plants that will not tolerate a frost; usually our last frost is mid-May.  Planting them early risks death from frost (unless you have wall of waters) and often doesn’t gain much of a head start–tomatoes need warm soil and warm temperatures day and night before they’ll really take off.  A cool spring often results in not much growth until the weather warms.  Tomatoes are heavy feeders and enjoy organic matter in their soil.  Be sure to amend the soil with an organic compost, such as Soil Pep, Mesa Magic or Happy Frog Soil Conditioner, and include a time-released fertilizer.  Plant your tomato babies a bit deeper than they are planted in their pots; tomatoes will root from the main stem and this deeper planting will result in a stronger plant.  (Big exception to this deep planting in the case of grafted tomatoes, but that’s another post!)

Do I need to prune them?

Pruning tomatoes refer to cutting out suckers–new stems that form in the crotch between a stem and a branch.


If you plant determinates, no pruning is needed.  Pruning indeterminates is a personal preference thing.  Some growers leave suckers alone for a larger  harvest–more but smaller tomatoes.  Some feel their harvest is better–larger but fewer tomatoes–if they prune.  Pruning is a sort of trial and error process to see what works best for your garden.  Pruning can help control the monster-like spread of an indeterminate, provide better air circulation and make harvesting easier.  According to About.com Gardening:  “As long as you have a strong main stem, it’s fine to leave a few suckers on the plant. The general recommendation is to leave 2 or 3 suckers to improve yield, but not to let every sucker grow. After that there is no general agreement.”  It’s best to prune suckers while they’re still small enough to pinch them off with your fingers.  (Image from About.com Gardening)

Do I need to worry about bugs or anything?

In a word, yup.  There are some viral diseases that tomatoes are not yet bred to be resistant to.  The one you’ll hear the most about is “curly top virus.”  It is transmitted by the teeny-tiny feet of a leaf hopper and is fatal for your tomato.  Tomatoes with curly top need to be pulled out and thrown in the trash–not the compost.  Less fatal, but huge in the ick department is the tomato hornworm.


Hornworms are the caterpillar of the pretty hummingbird moth and can grow from tiny to gigantic in no time.  They can strip entire branches of their leaves overnight.  The best and easiest solution for them is to watch carefully, pick them off and squish them or drop them into a quart jar of rubbing alcohol.  (I prune off a bit of a branch with my nippers, take the beastie, branch and all, to a dirt place where I have an old shingle that blew off my shed.  I put the shingle on top of the bug and step on it.  Ick.  I know…but I’m never gonna let a bug beat me out of my yummy tomatoes!)  Another common tomato issue is blossom end rot–a black patch that forms on the bottom of the fruit.  This is most often caused by inconsistent soil moisture.  Tomatoes like their soil to be evenly moist–they hate to be wet then dry out, then be wet….  Mulching is a great way to help retain soil moisture.  Another cause for blossom end rot is not enough calcium in your soil.  Crushing up eggshells and working them into the soil around your plants can help, and Fertilome makes a spray to help prevent the rot.  One last issue to talk about: blossom drop.  When daytime temperatures exceed 85F, your tomato can feel stressed and might drop its flowers without setting fruit.  This will right itself as temperatures cool, and once again, Fertilome has a spray that can help.

That bug section got kind of big and scary, huh?!  Don’t be frightened away from growing tomatoes, though.  As picky as they can be, there really is nothing like that first ripe tomato of the season, still warm from the sun, maybe with a little salt…….


The friendly folks at Mt Garfield are there to help, from selecting the perfect tomatoes for your garden space and culinary desires to finding solutions to any problems that arise.  🙂   Also, new this year–grafted tomatoes!  Squeeee!  So cool!  More on them in another post.  🙂

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The Scoop on Xeriscaping

The other day, I heard a news reporter say, “Zeroscaping.”  To her credit, we hear that word a lot.  Unfortunately the word zero implies that no water or care is needed.  Most people are actually referring to xeriscaping, ” a word originally coined by a special task force of the Denver Water Department, Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado and Colorado State University to describe landscaping with water conservation as a major objective. The derivation of the word is from the Greek “xeros,” meaning dry, and landscaping — thus, xeriscaping.”

So xeriscaping doesn’t mean ‘no water,’ it means conserving water.  All xeric plants will require water to become established, and less water after that.  If you don’t water them at all after they’re established, you may not be pleased with the resulting stunted growth and possible death of the plants.  The good news is that xeric plants will require considerably less water than others in your landscape, a good thing to think about as Grand Valley water suppliers look to continue drought watering restrictions.  Properly planted and irrigated xeriscapes can be as beautiful and lush as traditional cottage gardens.


If you’re considering converting your landscape to a xeriscape, it’s important to consider exposure, soil, irrigation, mulching and plant selection.  See more about these in this excellent article.  Having a plan before you start will improve your chances of success with your new water-wise landscaping.  Mt Garfield Greenhouse carries many of the plants suggested in the linked article, as well as a variety of mulches and landscape fabrics.

Image from Xeriscape Colorado

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Plant Hardiness vs Record Cold (Boy Was it Cold Last Winter!)

Today the snow is melting almost as quickly as it falls.  Not the case for most of the 2012-2013 winter.  The Valley got snow in mid-December that stayed on the ground well into February, held there by one of the coldest winters on record.  Mid-January found us 12 degrees BELOW zero F.  Brrrrrr!  Uncomfortable for us, possibly deadly for some of your plants.

Colorado planting zones

The USDA publishes a map of “Plant Hardiness Zones,” listing the Grand Valley as zone 7a, with winter lows in the 0 to 5 degrees F ABOVE range.

What?!  Your friends here at Mt Garfield think of the Grand Valley as a zone 6, with winter lows usually in the -5 to 0F range in a good year, and lows in the -10 to -5F in a cold year.  This winter’s -12F would place us in zone 5!  These numbers are very important to your perennials, shrubs and trees.

Mt Garfield sells plants that are generally hardy to zone 6–usual for the Grand Valley.  Zone 6 plants should survive as far as temperatures go…usually.  Not all plants survive anyway, because they are living things and susceptible to variations of microclimates, soils, exposure, insect and disease attacks, and water availability.  However, this winter’s low, low temperatures may result in more winter-kill than usual.

As the weather warms and plants begin to break dormancy, you may find some of your perennials, shrubs, roses, fruit, or trees didn’t survive.  Some plants are naturally slow to leaf out in the spring, so check around before pulling a plant out and replacing it.

Gardening is a joy, but can be frustrating at times.  Especially when Mother Nature keeps us in the deep freeze or sends a plague of squash bugs!  Your friends here at Mt Garfield are here to help with fertilizers, insecticides, soils, and healthy plants. Being gardeners ourselves, we understand and share the ups and downs of growing things.  We’re happy for you when your garden thrives, and sad right along with you when winter kills your favorite rose.

Here’s to the start of another gardening season here in the Grand Valley, looking forward to first blossoms and the persistence to keep on gardening, no matter what Mother Nature brings!

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