Tag Archives: squash

Fall Gardening in the Grand Valley

Fall in the Grand Valley:  leaves turning, rabbit brush blooming, a few chilly nights. Apples have replaced peaches at farm stands. The Mesa has had its first dusting of snow.  Color Sunday has come and gone, and it’s time to prepare your gardens for winter and a strong start for next spring. Here’s your to do list for these last few warm days:

Your lawn. A healthy lawn is more resistant to disease and insects. Prepare it for winter survival, and a strong start next spring with Winterizer from Fertilome.

20161012_143419

Your veggie garden and other annual plants. Once frost has toasted your annuals, it’s time to pull them up. If you’ve had issues with disease or insects in those plants, bag them for the trash. Otherwise, they’re good to compost. Pulling dead plants out lessens the areas problem bugs have to overwinter. This is especially important for your squash plants—pulling and disposing of the dead plant material is the first step toward fewer squash bugs next season.

When veggie beds are cleaned of dead plant material, now is a great time to lay down a layer of compost and turn it in, or plant a cover crop, like winter rye. Veggies are heavy feeders, transferring soil nutrients to those peppers and tomatoes you’ve been enjoying. Amending your soil helps return nutrients to the soil as well as improving soil texture and water retention.

If you have ceramic glazed pottery, it’s a good idea to remove the soil, or move pot and soil to a place where they will not get wet. Wet soil freezes and thaws during the winter and can crack the glaze of your pretty pots.

20161012_163850

Many annual plants, such as marigolds, make seeds that can be collected when dry. Collect these, removing leaves and stems, and store them in labeled Ziploc bags in your fridge to plant next spring after frost danger has passed.

You can also save seed from heirloom tomatoes. There is a bit of a process to follow for success, but totally do-able. This video explains the process clearly.

Potted tropical plants, like hibiscus, jasmine, and geraniums can be brought inside for the winter. Before frost, check them for insects, and treat them with a systemic insecticide to be safe. When inside, place them in a bright sunny room, and water as needed, fertilizing once a month.

Dahlias, gladiolus and other tender, summer-flowering bulbs must be lifted out of the ground. Brush off excess soil and store in a cool, dark, dry place until next spring. Replant them when frost danger has passed.

Perennials. Unless you have perennials you keep in your garden to provide seeds, shelter for winter birds, or those you like for structure or interest in the winter garden, now is a good time to trim them back and prune out dead stems.

Fall planting. Fall’s cooler weather makes it a great time to plant! Trees, shrubs and roses are often found at sale prices. Be sure to amend the soil as you plant and use a root stimulator to encourage strong root growth prior to winter. It’s also a great time to plant perennials, pansies and spring-flowering bulbs like tulips, daffodils, and hyacinths. Pansies often reseed themselves and sometimes will even survive the winter to provide color next spring. Salad greens and root crops can survive a light frost and extend your garden season, especially inside a cold frame.

20161012_14351820161012_143540

Weeds. Continue your weeding vigilance until they are well and truly dead. Weeds, unlike desirable plants, can tolerate a pretty hard frost. Weeding done now makes next spring’s weeding a bit easier. You might also consider putting down a preemergent and watering it in to smother weed seeds laying in wait in the soil.

20161012_163625

Leaves. Rake up leaves and compost or dispose of them, or use a mulching mower to chop them into tiny pieces. Leaving them on the lawn invites fungus and insects. This is the same reason to not use them to mulch your perennials. Leaves have a tendency to layer and pack down, holding in moisture that can rot a perennial.

Rain barrels. Now that Colorado allows for their use, keep in mind that they can split when they freeze. Empty them, clean them of any residual algae or mud, and store them for the winter.

Garden tools. Clean tools and apply a light layer of oil to prevent rust. Store them where you can find them easily next spring!

20161012_163427-2

Chemicals. Even organic gardeners have some sort of fertilizer and bug killer around. Most chemicals are good season to season if stored properly. Liquids must be prevented from freezing—freezing draws water out of the solution and will not properly go back into the solution when thawed, making your chemical ineffective. Dry or granular chemicals should be protected from moisture. Plastic bins work great for this. Be sure to leave all chemicals in their original containers.

20161012_16345620161012_163440

When the snow flies, you can sit back and enjoy, knowing your garden has been safely tucked in for the winter. Anticipate the next season by keeping track of what worked and didn’t this year and making plans for next season. Seed catalogs and a new gardening season will be here before you know it! Your friends at MGG will be here to help, starting in mid-March!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under amendments, General gardening, pests, soil

Heidi Mae’s Garden: Midsummer Fantabulosity

Monsoon season has given us a break from the 90s and 100s and the garden is lovin’ it!  It’s all about production right now; what all the work and care and squash bug hunting was hoping to achieve.  So lovely to head out in the cool of the morning, harvest basket in hand, and “shop” in the freshest produce market around.  I’ve been cooking with my fresh veggies, roasting, peeling and freezing green chiles and washing and freezing tomatoes to make pasta sauce later.

beans

beets

big bertha

roasting chiles

20130806_172418

20130805_114200

I talk to my plants as I harvest, tress up, and pluck bugs.  “Aren’t you beautiful!”  “Oh look at how much you’ve grown!”  “Why hello there, zucchini!”  I think they like it.  I don’t care if the neighbor kids catch me.  Not even worried that you think I’m crazy, because I bet at least some of you do the same thing.  🙂

Gardens are really, really pretty; overall and close up.  My garden tends to look a bit formal, being in raised beds.  However, you know how some plants can be, spreading their seeds everywhere.  I allow a few of those seeds to stay where they land.  The volunteer dill, hollyhock, marigolds, and sunflowers add a bit of wildness I like.  Here’s a little tour of my garden at the peak of its fantabulosity–Aug 7, 2013.  (Some of my squash are planted in between perennial in a different spot.)

garden 8-7-13

Aunt Ruby's German Greens

baby round zucchini

zucchini

basil

buttercup

coriander-cilantro seeds

dill

female patty pan flower

patty pan and male flower

patty pan jungle

grafted San Marzanos

hollyhocks and strawberries

marigolds

parsley

poblanos

royal burgundy beans

tomatillos

sunflower

How are your gardens?  What are you harvesting and enjoying right now?

Wanna see how this garden got started?  Check out other posts from Heidi Mae’s Garden:

Getting Started

Sprouting

Goodbye Cool Season, Hello Warm Season

Bring on the Heat

1 Comment

Filed under General gardening, vegetable gardening

Heidi Mae’s Garden: Bring on the Heat!

Hello, Virtual Gardening Friends!  Temperatures have been climbing steadily since I last checked in.  For some plants, this is not good; my peas finally browned out and I pulled them out this week.  However, warm season veggies like tomatoes, peppers and peas, love that nighttime temperatures are staying warm.  I’ve harvested quite a few cherry tomatoes and a few San Marzanos.  Here’s a pic of the garden as of July 9, 2013.  You can see a newly-constructed shade thingie over the favas.  These poor beans are really hating on the hot temps here, so we’re trying to help them out with some shade.  Keeping my fingers crossed for at least a few beans!

the garden 7-9-13

The beans are blooming and will set in no time.  I plant Royal Burgundy bush beans.  The flowers and beans are beautifully purple–making harvesting easier.  They turn green when cooked.  Aren’t the flowers pretty?  Here’s a pic of the bean and potato bed as well. The dill plants itself and comes up everywhere!

royal burgandy flower

beans and potatoes

Peppers are setting, sizing up and getting pick-able!  Here are examples of Big Bertha bell peppers, Big Jim chiles, and Goliath jalapeno; aren’t they pretty?!

big bertha

big jim

goliath jalapeno

Cilantro is in full bloom.  I cut some of it back to give my poor Goliath jalapenos some light and space, but I’m leaving some of them to seed another crop for this fall.  Green onions are also in this bed–they’re getting huge!  I planted another pack of them this week; this time planting in “bunches” instead of individually, just to see how that works.

cilantro

onions

Beets are doing great, but needed thinning.  I pulled quite a few, washed and chopped the greens and sauteed them with garlic–yum!

beets

Tomatoes are topping their tomato ladders.  The grafted San Marzanos are loaded with green tomatoes, and starting to ripen near the bottoms of each plant.  Grafted Mortgage Lifter has set tomatoes, as have the Aunt Ruby’s German Green and Cherokee Purples I planted from seed.  The warm weather has the seeded tomatoes almost caught up to the tomatoes I bought in gallons from the Greenhouse.

tomatoes

san marzano

I have some squash planted in pots in the garden, and quite a few out in a perennial bed that had some big “holes” from perennials that didn’t survive last winter’s cold.  They’re beautiful plants with pretty blooms that look rather nice in among the perennials.  This year I planted baby round zucchini–a ball-shaped heirloom–just to see how I like them, and to see if I can stay ahead of them easier than regular zucchini, and patty pans–golden scallops–the one that look like flying saucers, and buttercup–an acorn-like winter squash that is easier to stuff because it has a flat bottom.  I got these out really late, and have just now picked my first round zucchini, along with the first squash bugs.  Yay zucchini, boo bugs.

baby zucchini

zucchini

buttercup

That’s about it for now.  My basil needed pinching back today, so I’m enjoying a refreshing basil lemonade as I write today.  What’s one of your favorite garden snacks?

Here are quick links to the other posts from Heidi Mae’s Garden this year:

Getting Started

Sprouting

Goodbye Cool Season, Hello Warm Season

2 Comments

Filed under General gardening, onions, squash bugs, tomatoes, Uncategorized, vegetable gardening

Heidi Mae’s Garden: Goodbye Cool Season, Hello Warm Season

Here we are in mid June.  Daytime temperatures have been in the 90s, and overnights in the 60s.  It’s certainly feeling more like summer than spring, and cold season veggies think it must be time to make flowers.  Lettuce, spinach, arugula, radishes, and cilantro might be elongating and starting to flower–a process referred to as bolting.

For cilantro, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  Allowing it to flower will result in seeds which are the herb coriander and can be dried and ground.  Or!  Let the seeds fall.  They’ll germinate and produce a second crop of cilantro for you!  This is the cilantro in the demo garden at the Greenhouse.

demo cilantro

Other cold season crops become bitter as they put their energy into flowering.  I got a final clipping of my greens and pulled up those plants, as well as the radishes.  I washed everything and have been enjoying my last fresh salads until fall, when I can plant a few seeds for the second cool season of the growing season.

salad

Pulling out my cool season veggies left me space to plant a few more warm season crops:  additional tomatoes, squash and cucumbers.  Warm season crops such as these enjoy the warming temperatures; blooming and setting fruit.

Bell peppers and tomatoes are sizing up.

peppers

san marzanos

There’s a Sun Sugar almost ripe!  Squeeeee!  Sun Sugar is a favorite around the Greenhouse.  They’re so sweet and yummy, I end up eating a bunch of them before they get into the house!  Early ripening cherry tomatoes are great for anyone with a short growing season.

sunsugar

Here’s a pic of how my garden looks this week.

garden 6-13-13

You may notice some unfamiliar plants in the same bed as the peas.  They’re fava beans!  I LOVE fava beans, so I’m making the mad attempt to grow them here.  They much prefer the cooler temperatures of California’s Bay Area.  The Grand Valley’s hot summers will make them a bit of a project–we’ll see how it goes.  I’m thinking some sort of a shade structure may be in order.

How are your gardens faring with the hot, dry and WINDY weather?  You may be noticing some dry, brown and crispy leaf edges on your tomatoes and peppers as a result of the wind.  They’ll come out of it just fine, no worries.  🙂

3 Comments

Filed under General gardening, tomatoes, vegetable gardening

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.

seedlings

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.

arugula

arugula

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

beets

beets

Here’s lettuce.

lettuce

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

peas and tomatillos

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

radishes

radishes

Let’s check in with the potatoes.

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.

tomatoes

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

 

 

 

3 Comments

Filed under General gardening, onions, tomatoes, vegetable gardening