At the grocery store last week, I bought tomatoes even though I knew they wouldn’t add much flavor to our salad, just some color. Why are tomatoes from the store so tasteless in the winter?
Some people say we gardeners are consumed by our plants. I don’t think they mean it literally, but there is a group of bizarre plants that obtain nourishment from consuming animals ... not necessarily gardeners.
Want to learn about gardening in the high country? Or brush up on your knowledge of plants that grow at our altitude? Sign up for the 2013 Master Gardener class that starts Jan. 31 and runs through April 11.
When the ground gets hard around the Steamboat area and there’s no easy way to take food scraps out to the compost pile, consider worm composting indoors.
Although Steamboat Springs does not have a local chapter of the Colorado Native Plant Society, this organization offers some valuable benefits to local gardeners via newsletters, workshops, field trips and the Internet.
Each year around Christmas, you start seeing advertisements for one of the funniest gardening plants: Chia Pets.
Plant Select® is a cooperative program of the Denver Botanic Gardens, Colorado State University Cooperative Extension and the Green Industry.
As you look out into the garden at this time of year, it’s easy to see where you might want to add some winter interest and green color outside the regular growing season.
While it’s unlikely the “Patent Police” are patrolling the gardens of Routt County to make sure we’re not illegally propagating plants, it behooves us to know which of our plants we’re allowed to propagate and which ones it is illegal to reproduce.
Our really cold, windy winters and intense daily sunshine here in the mountains can damage the trees in our gardens, especially young ones that haven’t yet developed a thick, rough bark.
If you’ve been hiking the forests around Steamboat Springs this fall, you might have noticed a wide variety of mushrooms that are poking their heads through the leaf litter and conifer needles at the base of our Alpine trees despite this year’s low amount of moisture.
Well, we’ve had our first frost and the plants are retreating into their shells, so to speak, to weather our cold winter. While plants that grow here generally are pretty hardy and designed to withstand our cold winters, we can make the winter easier on them by providing a blanket of mulch.
One of the prettiest shrubs you see in the autumn forest across Routt County is the Mountain Ash (Sorbus scopulina) with its scarlet foliage and brilliant orange-red berries. It’s a favorite of many local gardeners.
Horseradish is a herb from the mustard family and thrives in high altitude climates such as ours. Horseradish has nothing to do with horses nor with radishes.
So you had a great year in the garden and have more fruits and vegetables than you possibly can eat. What can you do with the excess?
One of my favorite end-of-summer wildflowers is the beautiful pink plumes of fireweed, also known as rosebay willowherb and part of the evening primrose family, found throughout the mountains around Steamboat Springs.
In answer to almost every question about plants asked of Master Gardeners, one part of our reply often deals with improving the soil.
With water restrictions in place throughout Routt County because of the drought this year, many gardeners are wondering how their trees will fare without much rainfall.
Just outside my kitchen is an herb garden I’ve been cultivating for several years now. It’s heaven to be able to step out and snip some fresh basil leaves for a salad or a few stalks of chives for a pasta sauce.
Many of us Master Gardeners, as well as the Routt County Extension Office staff, have been getting a lot of questions lately from local homeowners asking what they should do about their parched lawns during this hot, dry and windy summer.
Have you ever noticed that if you don’t watch it, some of the perennials in your garden bloom and die before you really get a chance to enjoy them?
With the growing season starting out so warm and dry, we might be in for a year that is tough on our plants. This will be true especially if the lack of rain continues and we adhere to requested water restrictions by limiting the added moisture we give to our garden.
When choosing plants for your garden here in Routt County, you’ll have the best luck if you choose plants that already are comfortable with our soil, climate and short growing season.
More work is being done this spring and summer to improve the Community Roots Garden site. A garden cleanup project is from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday and volunteers are being sought to help out for a couple of hours.
Two years ago, some gardeners reported that they had bugs in their cherry harvest. So master gardeners looked into the problem last year to spread the word about how you can help prevent the cherry fruit fly from infecting your tree.
Recent restrictions on agricultural burns in the Yampa Valley have a lot of us thinking about the potentially hazardous season ahead of us because lack of moisture from this winter’s low amount of snowfall.
Many of us gardeners start out with flowers and shrubs in our gardens and then think that maybe some vegetables would be a nice addition.
You can make a real difference in helping to keep some of our rarest plants in the Yampa Valley from becoming endangered or extinct.
One of the hardest parts of trying to help someone with a gardening problem is identifying the plant with the issues.
Feng shui is a popular and very old Chinese concept of being in harmony with your environment.Indoor plants in your environment can add to this positive energy flow in a number of ways.
You’d think that with our very dry environment here in the Steamboat area that desert cactus would thrive in our homes, where it is protected from the brutal cold of winter.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently updated its map of the country’s planting zones — the first update since 1990.
Scientists: High temperatures, low precipitation cause of decline
Quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides) is likely the tree most coveted by homeowners in Routt County and the one most enjoyed by visitors and residents who love to hike the aspen-covered mountains surrounding our beautiful valley. Sadly, there have been stands of these trees that have been dying off in certain parts of the mountains, mostly at lower elevations.
OK, the holidays are over, but you still have a pretty poinsettia plant hanging on to dear life. It seems a shame to discard the plant just because the leaves start to drop.
If you’re looking for a houseplant that is easy to grow, looks good and requires minimal care, consider the jade plant (Crassula ovata, formerly C. argentea). With its thick, glossy dark-green leaves, this plant is a beauty that can grow as tall as 4 feet and as wide as 4 feet.
Don’t you love the beautiful colors, shapes and aromas of plants that seem to be available just during the holidays? The fast-growing, spectacular amaryllis plants that grow about an inch per day and the beautiful white, reds, pinks and now plum-colored poinsettias are so decorative.
One of the most striking plants that we see during the holidays is the Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera Buckleyi).
When the Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock on the day after Christmas in 1620, one of the plants that pilgrims certainly were happy to see was American holly (Ilex opaca), which no doubt reminded them of the popular holiday plant from home.
It seems every winter that half of Steamboat Springs seems to come down with what a lot of locals call “the crud.” I would describe it as a rattling, persistent cough that just hangs on forever.
A couple of weeks ago, the beautiful composition called “L’horloge de flore” (A Musical Flower Clock) by French composer Jean Françaix was on my car radio. It made me curious about flower clocks and Carl Linnaeus and Françaix.
When it turns cold at the end of the gardening season, many of us who want to continue working with plants dream of having a greenhouse in which to work in warmth.
Looking like strange, not-of-this-world beings, Tillandsia air plants can be quite spectacular and a focal point of a houseplant array.
If your indoor plants have been neglected while tending to the outdoor garden, fall recreation and other autumn activities, you might have missed the growth spurts that have taken place inside. If your indoor plants have used up all the nutrients in their soil or have outgrown the pot and become root bound, it’s time to move them into a new pot.
Plants that are native to our region typically survive our winters because they evolved in response to the climate and weather patterns of our mountains.
Aspens are fast-growing but relatively short-lived (20 years) trees attaining heights of up to 50 feet. Cold hardy but with poor drought resistance, aspens grow best in sunny locations at elevations of 7,000 feet or higher. They prefer moist, well-drained soil and good air circulation.
Nearly every year hiking in the forests around Steamboat Springs, my attention is captured by a plant that is unusual for its strange coloring and composition. It is shaped like a stalk of asparagus but looks like a weird form of mushroom.
Spaghetti sauce, Caesar salad, shrimp scampi and many other favorite foods have a common ingredient that can be easily grown here in the mountains: garlic. To obtain the largest bulbs next summer, plant your garlic cloves now.
Demonstration garden at Yampa River Botanic Park
Each year, a few plants are chosen as the best of the best for gardens in the high mountains of Colorado through a cooperative program of the Denver Botanic Park and Colorado State University in conjunction with greenhouses and nurseries throughout the Rocky Mountain region and beyond.
As with all the berries you see in the wild, unless you’re absolutely sure what they are and that they are safe to consume, don’t ingest them.
Vegetable and fruit gardeners have learned how to preserve their garden bounty beyond the short harvest season through canning, freezing and other methods. Flower gardeners can do the same thing, too, for their colorful flowers, grasses, seed heads and foliage.