Considering the very dry environment in the Steamboat Springs area, it’s easy to think that desert cactus would thrive in homes, where it is protected from the brutal cold of winter. And so it can, if cared for properly. But that’s the tricky part.
The gardening catalogs that we all pore over at this time of year often show plants at their peak bloom-time, bursting with lush foliage and vibrant blooms. In order to replicate that look once the plants are settled into your garden, you’ll probably need to fertilize them.
In all of the master gardener classes offered by Colorado State University through the Routt County Cooperative Extension Office, one point that is stressed is the importance of preparing soil for your plants.
Nolan Doesken, of the Colorado Climate Center, visited Steamboat Springs last month to talk with master gardeners and their guests about our local climate. It’s an important topic for home gardeners because our climate dictates which plants will flourish here and which ones will take a lot of work to keep healthy.
Another Steamboat winter has passed. How did your trees fare and what, if anything, should you do now to ensure their health and well-being?
With our short, 59-day growing season in the Steamboat Springs area, does it make sense to grow things from seed? In some instances, starting a plant from seed is the only way to obtain a new or special variety of plant that is not readily available through garden centers. When you purchase your flower seeds, look for seeds that are hybrids as they give more uniform colors than open-pollinated seeds.
After attempting to populate my yard and garden with seedlings from the Forest Service, then with trees dug up from the forest — after obtaining permits — we gradually invested in large trees from local nurseries. And because it is such a big investment, we carefully watch and nurture these to ensure their longevity and health.
With our short growing season here in the mountains, it makes a lot of sense to place some of your favorite plants in a container. Doing so will allow you to move parts of your garden indoors when the weather turns frosty, or bring colorful plants to locations where you can enjoy them more when in full bloom, moving them out of the way again once they’ve flowered.
Walk into any gardening or hardware store and chances are you’ll be confronted with rows of weird-looking gardening implements. How do you choose the best tool for the job? Here are nine cool tools that should serve the majority of your needs.
If the snowfall remains as light through the rest of the season as it is now, we may be in for a dry summer in 2010. Therefore, as you look at the plant catalogues for new flowers to place in your garden, consider some of the more drought-tolerant varieties that have proven hardy here in our zone 4 mountain environment.
The acronym for a condition affecting local aspen trees is so apt for what probably is the most popular of all the deciduous, or leaf-bearing, plants of the Rocky Mountain West. Sudden aspen decline, or SAD, is a phenomenon that already has affected more than 17 percent of the aspen trees in Colorado.
Did you know that in the past 100 years, about 75 percent of the genetic diversity of crops in the world has been lost to plants that have been developed for genetic uniformity?
On Feb. 20, the Routt County Cooperative Extension Office and its master gardener program will offer a repeat class on vegetable gardening. Last year, about 100 people attended to learn about which vegetables can be successfully grown here in the Yampa Valley.
Want to grow vegetables but don’t have the appropriate land, space or resources? You’re in luck because an opportunity to use a plot of land within Steamboat Springs city limits to grow vegetables and learn about growing food locally is about to present itself to residents.
A garden affects all of our senses, even though we often are not aware of it. Most of us enjoy the beauty of the colors, shapes, the play of light and shade, and the graceful movement of grasses, leaves and foliage as plants sway in the wind.
Unlike those of us who can reach for a fleece or an extra pair of socks when we’re chilly, our houseplants have to suck it up and shiver in the cold and drafty areas in our homes. Some plants simply do not handle cool temperatures well, even when protected inside our home from the outdoor weather.
If you’re itching to work with plants but the ground outdoors is as frozen as the Fish Creek waterfall, consider planting a bottle garden. Tropical plants, ferns and other plants requiring high humidity are perfect for a miniature garden located inside a bottle.
It’s hard to believe that the romantic characteristics we attribute to mistletoe are given to a parasitic plant, but it’s true. Mistletoe (phoradendron flavenscens) is an American native plant found growing on all kinds of trees, including pine, spruce, apple and oak. The European mistletoe (viscum album) is another variety of this holiday decoration.
Don’t you love the beautiful colors, shapes and aromas of plants that seem to be available just at holiday time? The fast-growing, spectacular amaryllis plants that grow about an inch a day and the beautiful white, red, pink and now plum-colored poinsettias are so decorative.
It just doesn’t seem like Christmas unless you have a lighted, decorated Christmas tree to admire through the holiday. Families in the Steamboat area tend to purchase already-cut trees or make a family excursion into national forest areas to find a perfect specimen.
At the annual meeting of the Yampa River Botanic Park, Karen Vail was the featured speaker and discussed the various microclimates we can create in our gardens to accommodate various plants, expanding the range of things you can grow here.
One indoor plant Steamboat Springs gardeners can count on is the geranium. No matter how much abuse we heap on this plant, it seems to thrive and flower all year round. That’s partly because it’s so sunny here in Steamboat. Geraniums love sunlight.
Flowers can provide winter color and fragrance
Many of the local garden centers are promoting bulbs this month to plant for color next spring. As you consider whether to pick up some bulbs for the garden, consider purchasing a few to bring fragrance and color inside your home during the drab winter.
Before the weather turns wintry, take steps to protect your trees from sunscald and other common problems that occur during our fierce winters.
Ordinarily, a shrub shouldn't need pruning if you've selected the right-size plant for a particular site. But sometimes it's necessary to prune for the health of the plant, to control its size, promote new growth with better flowers, or correct damage caused by weather, disease, animals and other harmful agents.
Quite often by the time the kids go begging for treats in downtown Steamboat Springs on Halloween, we've experienced some snowfall and certainly much cooler weather. So before winter kicks in and you lose the opportunity to give your lawn a head start on next spring's growth, take time to care for your lawn this fall.
Now is a good time to propagate many of the perennials in your garden if they've become overgrown, if you just want to have more of a particular plant or if they seem to have lost some of their heartiness.
Some Steamboat area residents are complaining about mushrooms popping up in their lawns this fall. As Bill Sauter said to me the other day, "It's not that I don't like them, but they're slippery when I go to mow the lawn and step on one."
Potatoes have roots going back 7,000 years to the mountains of the Andes in South America. Farmers back then admired the ruggedness, nutritional value, and storage attributes of this tuber.
The hardiness of our garden plants depends on nature and nurture. Part of its hardiness is genetically controlled and part of it is a "learned" response to our much harsher environment.
The intense mountain sun seems to fade the color in our gardens as summer moves toward fall. With just a little planning, however, local gardeners can enjoy vibrant late summer/autumn color right up through the first frost.
Hiking along the North Fork of the Elk River each fall, I can't help but sample the ripe raspberries lining the river side of the trail. Yum.
For a chocolate fix without the calories, consider a garden filled with plants that give off a chocolate fragrance.
All bugs have a purpose here on Earth. It's just that some bugs tend to - well, bug us more than others.
Yes, we can successfully grow raspberries in our mountain environment. In fact, one of my favorite hikes along the Elk River off Seedhouse Road is a particular treat for me in the late summer when the wild raspberry bushes along the river are loaded with this delicious fruit.
Some of the most beautiful and imaginative gardens in Steamboat Springs are created with flowering annuals. These undemanding plants become fully grown in just one season, giving gardeners an opportunity to experiment with color, texture, shape and design.
Most of us know that our plants need water, sun, soil nutrients and warmth. But many gardeners give little thought to how the plant uses those elements to create foliage, blooms, seeds or root growth.
In an effort to grow beautiful flowers, fruit and vegetables, we gardeners tend to coddle our plants. The second the soil is dry, wet water. If it looks like an insect is chewing on it, we apply insecticides. To control weeds, we use herbicides. And we apply fertilizers, and protective covers on cool nights, and all manner of protection to achieve a perfect, county-fair worthy specimen.
Several local gardeners have reported small grasshoppers already crawling through their yards this spring.
Fooled again, huh? It happens every year. The weather turns warm in May, the garden centers entice us with newly arrived plants, which we immediately place in the garden. Then, the nights turn cold, and we experience a frost.
With such nice weather lately, it's tempting to get outside and start planting vegetables in your garden right away.
Have you ever wondered where the name of our valley and our river comes from? It's from the Yampa plant, or perideridia gairdneri subsp borealis.
About 100 people attended the Master Gardener program in February and March to learn which vegetables can be successfully grown in the Yampa Valley.
Gardeners have always known a certain joy when getting their hands and feet in the soil. But now scientists have made it official that getting dirty is good for your soul.
One way to make gardening easier on your body and on the plants is to build a raised bed.
Instead of holiday shopping catalogues stuffing our mailboxes, gardeners now are receiving catalogues of the new offerings from garden centers and mail-order nurseries for 2009. Eye candy. And, wow, it's so easy to satisfy your garden sweet tooth.
At one time, it's my understanding, the Yampa Valley was a big producer of salad greens and supplied wholesalers throughout the Front Range with sweet, tasty salad fixings.
The seed packets we purchase generally tell us when to sow our seeds, how many days to germination and how many days to maturity. However, in our Steamboat Springs climate, sometimes, it makes sense to hedge our bets on spring-planted seeds by sowing at least part of them indoors a couple months before taking the seedlings outdoors. With the excellent possibility of a spring frost as late as mid-June, the growing season here is quite short - just 59 days.
Not everyone has a large outdoor space for gardening, especially those living in condominiums, apartments and densely populated neighborhoods. But that doesn't mean you can't have an outdoor garden.
For dry, indoor environments we find in Steamboat Springs area homes, bromeliads particularly are suitable houseplants. Although most bromeliads are epiphytic (they grow on tree trunks or rocks in nature), they adapt well to living in containers as long as you give them proper light, water and soil. This plant also is widely considered a wonderful air filter for homes and offices. It removes toxins from the air and replaces them with fresh oxygen.