Friday, April 17, 2015

Recommended Fruit Tree Varieties for Colorado Front Range by Carol King

Photo CSU Extension
Growing fruit trees along the Front Range in Colorado can be challenging but also satisfying.  Late frosts, heavy spring snows, and several pests and diseases make this interesting to say the least!  However, in successful years, the gardener can be blessed with bumper crops of apples, cherries, plums, and often peaches and apricots.

Here are some varieties that are considered among the best for success in Colorado  recommended by J. R. Feucht, former Landscape-Plant Specialist, CSU Extension; and Curtis Utley, Jefferson County CSU Extension.

The more reliable varieties are:
  • Cox Orange. Aromatic dessert apple. Yellow flesh.
  • Red Delicious. A good winter apple and very resistant to fire blight.
  • Golden Delicious. A fall apple of good flavor that bears sooner than most varieties.  Also a good variety to plant with other apple trees to ensure good pollination.
  • McIntosh.  An all-purpose red apple.
  • Johnathan.  A popular apple but fairly susceptible to fire blight.
  • Fameuse.  Old variety similar to McIntosh.
  • Goldrush, Pristine, Liberty, Empire, Honeycrisp, Arkansas Black, Sweet 16, Hazen, Winecrisp, Pixie Crunch, Sir Prize, Williams Pride, Fireside, and Jonafree are also recommended by Mr Utley.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Lumps and Bumps on Aspen by Joyce D'Agostino

Photo Utah State University Extension
Recently as I was doing some spring garden cleanup, I noticed a bare sapling in the corner of my yard that had lumps and bumps on most of the trunk and branches.
I was curious what could cause this and if it was harmful to that tree or possibly other plants in my garden. In doing some research I learned that these swellings on the wood are cause by the “Poplar Twiggall Fly” (Hexomyza shineri). This insect burrows into the wood and as it feeds, which produces a swelling on the limbs and trunk which are called galls. Often the plant has these galls for several seasons and the gardener does not immediately notice them because they can be obscured by leaves. This insect prefers to invade cottonwoods, poplars and especially aspens.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Gardening Power to the People: Raised Bed Gardening

Gardening in Colorado's clay soil can be difficult, and raised beds are an alternative. Barbara LaRowe, Jefferson County Colorado Master Gardener, provides helpful information about gardening in raised beds.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Spring Lawn Care by Donna Duffy

Spring has finally arrived and it’s time to start thinking about spring lawn care again. Here are some basics to get your lawn off to a good start.

Friday, April 10, 2015

JeffCo Master Gardeners Announce Flower Gardening Class

Photo by Carol King
Jefferson County CSU Extension Colorado Master Gardeners announce a spring gardening class  “Flowers: the Where, What and How of Growing Flowers in Colorado”.  Wednesday April 22, 2015,  6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Class begins promptly at 6:00 p.m. $40.  Jefferson County Fairgrounds. Register now at
One of our instructors is Jennifer Verprauskus, Landscape Architect, Permaculture Design Certificate holder, Denver Master Composter, Colorado Master Gardener, and owner of  UpBeet Landscapes, an edible landscape design firm. She is passionate about landscape design and teaching people how to live off the land.
Jennifer states: “Often times we can appreciate something without fully understanding it, but as we learn the intricacies of what makes it stand out; sometimes we can appreciate it on a deeper level. A built environment surrounds most of us on a daily basis but do we realize it as such? The majorities of the landscapes we find ourselves in have been created and don’t just appear.  From more urban landscapes such as city parks and backyards to recreational trails in the mountains- they have all been designed intentionally. 

An understanding of the principles of landscape design, which include the elements of unity, scale, balance, simplicity, variety, emphasis, and sequence as they apply to line, form, texture, and color, create the perfect landscape.  These elements are interconnected. Scale, line, balance and form are some of the things that dictate our perception and comfort in a space. Through the use of design principals as well as an understanding of the site we can choose the right plant for the right place, and almost more importantly we can design a space that feels complete. As we design a landscape, one of the most compelling skills we can embrace is the ability to design with all of our senses. 

Without the deliberations of design, our efforts of hard work, time and money are often fruitless. We are tempted to choose plants by color and not suitability, create spaces that look nice but fail to function and to use materials that distract from the space we’ve worked so hard to create. Our senses can identify a space as successful or unsuccessful; therefore, it is through education we are able to create landscapes in the built environment that are exciting and beautiful yet comfortable and useful.

Come join Jennifer and the rest of the team for an evening of the basics of designing or re-designing a flower garden, site selection and how to create fabulous flowering containers. Register now at For further information call Jefferson County CSU Extension at 303-271-6620.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Vole Damage in Front Range Colorado by Carol King

Brown spots are caused by vole damage. photo by Carol King
My neighbor has a large hedge of junipers that spreads the length of his house. He asked me last week what might be causing the dead branches that were sporadic through the hedge.  I was heading to the Jeffco Extension Office so I took a sample with me.  I showed Curtis Utley, Extension Agent, and he did not  hesitate:  “Voles. You have vole damage.”

The CSU Extension web site has a wealth of information.
Voles are small rodents that measure 4 to 8.5 inches long and weigh 0.8 to 3 ounces and vary in color from brown to gray. They are pudgy, with blunt faces and small eyes, small and sometimes inconspicuous ears, short legs, and a short (the long-tailed vole is an exception) and scantily haired tail. They are often called prairie or field mice.
Photo CSU Extension

Monday, April 6, 2015

Planning Your Garden for Seed Saving Classes April 2015

Jefferson County CSU Extension Colorado Master Gardeners announce classes in Seed Saving.

Beginning Seed Saving – Tuesday, April 14 – 6:00-8:00 p.m. Cost $28
Register Now:
Did you know it’s so easy to save the seeds from your vegetable and flower garden? Saving seeds will adapt them to your soil and your care, ultimately making your plants more resistant to the insects and diseases that could possibly threaten their health. 
 This beginning class will start with the five easiest seeds to save and go step-by-step through the process. You will learn how to appropriately take care of the plants, select from your crops the best seeds to save, learn how to identify the best seed, care for them, harvest them and prepare them for saving and storing them. You’ll end up with stronger plants that are adapted to your own landscape. Once you can ensure your seeds are pure and true, than you can swap with others and to contribute to your community seed library.  

Advanced Seed Saving – Wednesday, April 15 – 6:00-8:00 p.m., Cost $28
Register Now:
Perhaps you are skilled at saving seed and you have enough property to practice advanced seed saving skills. You will learn about the distance required to separate similar varieties of plants within the same plant family. We will cover appropriate isolation techniques and the more advanced skills necessary to save seed for squashes, pumpkins, broccoli, for example, or to grow out biennial plants like carrots for saving seed. If you are ready for these steps, you are already a passionate seed saver and this class is for you. 

All classes will be held at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds 15200 E. 6th Avenue Pkwy. , Golden, Co 80401.  For more information, call 303-271-3362.


Gardening Power to the People: Growing Blueberries in Colorado

Growing blueberries in Colorado can be a real challenge.  This video with Patti O'Neal, Horticulture Assistant at Jefferson County CSU Extension, will give you the techniques you need to grow this delicious fruit.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Easter Lily Lore and Care by Carol King

Photo Tufts University
It’s Easter time and the ubiquitous Easter Lily is every where.  Did you ever wonder why we purchase these flowers at Easter time?  Historically speaking Easter lilies don’t have much to do with the Easter holiday.  They are not native to the Holy Land.  In Biblical lore, however, the lily is mentioned numerous times. One of the most famous Biblical references is in the Sermon on the Mount: Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. (Matt. 6:28-29). Often called the "white-robed apostles of hope," lilies were found growing in the Garden of Gethsemane after Christ's agony. Tradition has it that the beautiful white lilies sprung up where drops of Christ's sweat fell to the ground in his final hours of sorrow and deep distress.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Garden Pest Alert! Warning!

Our Extension friends at Utah State University have identified a garden pest you want to watch out for!  This video will let you know all the ways you can rid the garden of this creature.

And a Happy April Fools' Day to You all!

Monday, March 30, 2015

A Pulse in the Garden by Rebecca Anderson

Photo by Rebecca Anderson
I was reading an article recently about changes in the global human diet. While this is a topic for volumes of blog articles, there was one specific word that kept catching my eye. Pulse. "Many cultures have traditionally relied on pulse-based diets."  "World-wide consumption of pulses have declined in recent decades."  I'm accustomed to using the word pulse in relation to the cardiovascular system, but I wasn't sure about its botanical definition. That led to a little research.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Fermentation by Cathy Jo Clawson

My seed catalogues have arrived and my husband is amazed at the amount of time I can spend turning pages, reading and rereading vegetable descriptions, and comparing vegetable characteristics. In all the daydreaming, I notice this about myself: when I see the word "cucumber", I read the word "pickle".