As you’re planning your garden layout, one thing to consider is where you’ll plant the ones that will come back next year – perennials, and where you’ll fill in with ones you’ll need to plant every year – annuals. The names themselves make it hard to keep straight…common sense would make annuals sound like they come back annually right? Well when you’re at the store and you see the tag that says “annual,” just remember those are the ones that take your work planting them annually, whereas perennials only take the work of planting once.
One of the reasons it’s a good idea to consider annuals vs. perennials in your garden layout is the bloom time. Perennials tend to have more of a “bloom window,” such as spring, summer, or fall. For example, tulips will bloom in the early spring, then go away, so have some daisies to fill in with a summer bloom, and finally chrysanthemums for fall color.
Conversely, annuals bloom all season, so for instant color throughout all of our warmer months, you’ll want annuals like petunias, geraniums, begonias, dahlias, lobelia, coleus, lantana, impatient s, and many more. All your veggie plants are also annuals. If we lived in southern Florida, many of these would survive year round and be considered perennials, but here the first hard frost will do them in.
Here in northeastern Colorado, we are a climate zone 4-5, so there are many perennials that do well to choose from – the colder the zone, the fewer varieties. Watch for the zone rating as you purchase perennials for your yard. Many retailers get plants in from southern states and sell them as perennials here, but because of their zone rating (higher than 4-5), they won’t make it through our winters.
We’re lucky enough to have the Plant Select Organization, which is sponsored by Colorado State University and the Botanical Gardens in Denver. Plant Select has trial gardens throughout Colorado where they test plant varieties for hardiness, disease resistance, bloom time, color, quality, aggressiveness, and water needs. Check out their website for a complete listing of flowers and shrubs that come back every year – from achillea (yarrow) to zauschneria (hardy fuchsia).
Once they’ve been established in your garden, perennials can often be shared with neighbors and friends by digging up a clump (keeping dirt around the roots), and transplanting it into another area or yard.
A combination of annuals and perennials is the trick to keep your garden blooming and colorful all season long. Perennials provide the continued texture, color, and durability (most will come back even after a hail storm), while annuals offer the blasts of color all season.
This past winter a lot of folks lost some of the shallow rooted perennials due to dry conditions, so during those drought winters, it is a good idea to water a couple of times.
Annuals should be planted by the middle of June for the most enjoyment during the summer as they need time to root out and bloom before Jack Frost comes. We have 80 different species of perennials with many varieties of each, and you can plant them all summer long, not just in the spring. So when you find a spot in your yard that needs a little extra something, stop by to check out our wide variety!
With Mother’s Day looming just around the corner (hint hint, don’t forget her!), it’s that time of the year when a natural divide in the planting timing happens. If you’re one that grows a garden for the table, your cole crops, lettuces, and root crops should have already been planted. All these veggies do better when started while it’s cool, but there’s still hope!
Cole crops are vegetables in the cabbage family, so things like cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels, and kohlrabi. These veggies can withstand the snow as long as it doesn’t stay cold for too long.
If you’re a procrastinator (or just had no idea when to plant what), it’s not too late. Cole crops and lettuces can still be planted now and again in the late summer for a fall harvest. They’re generally small plants grown to be transplanted, although you can plant seed if you want.
Root crops are another that could have already been planted, but it’s still not too late. Root crops include things like radishes, red beets, and green onions – you know, things with roots. Those can be planted in succession for multiple harvests throughout the summer. So although the first planting could have already been harvested, you can still plant for subsequent harvests. They’ll take 30-60 days to mature from the time they come up, so plant them as often as you want through August.
Carrots, parsnips, and potatoes are also root crops that could have already been planted. You still have a couple weeks left on those as they can all be planted through the end of the month to get a harvest this summer.
Root crops start as seeds, sets, or bulbs. The depth and distance ideal for planting differs among variety, so just be sure to check the information on the packaging when you buy them…or ask me before you leave the store!
I think that about covers it for what should be growing in your garden right now. Like I said, this weekend marks the date when the warm weather plants can be planted, so stay tuned for next week’s post where we’ll share the same information for those!
Mix last 4 ingredients in a large bowl.
Stir sugar mix into cooled cider.
Halve, core, and peel apples.
Slice and add to sugar/cider mix.
Spoon into pastry lined pie pan.
Sprinkle top crust with cinnamon and sugar.
Bake at 425 degrees for 25 minutes on a cookie sheet then lower temp to 350 degrees for 45-50 minutes.
- Thanks to Barb Cartier for this recipe from our Farmers’ Market Cookbook!
As a Colorado Master Gardener, many of the questions I get are about lawns. Most concerns can be addressed with cultural practices, which are things you’re in control of such as seed variety, watering, mowing, fertilizing, and weed control. We all want that perfect Kentucky blue grass lawn, but in our arid climate, it can be challenging – there’s a reason it’s called Kentucky blue grass.
Brown areas are usually the result of dry spots. To check if in fact this is the cause, take a shovel and drive it six inches deep through the spot. Push the shovel forward to get a look at the soil. How moist is it when you’re six inches deep? If it’s dry, that means the roots of the grass are not extending down as they should, but rather they’re staying near the surface because that’s where the moisture is. However, when the surface dries out, so too does the grass. And with temperatures in the high 90s already in June, that’s bound to happen much quicker than you’d like.
We recommend watering two to three times a week, depending on the weather, one inch each time. One inch at a time – what does that mean? When I say one inch at a time I mean if you put a cup out on the coverage area you’re watering, at least an inch of water would collect in it before you’re done.
The longer you stick to this kind of watering schedule, the more the sub moisture will build up below the surface allowing the root zone to extend deeper. Eventually, you’ll be able to water less once you have the sub moisture established.
Another aspect of lawn care I get asked about is mowing. While you may have the itch to cut it short, it’s recommended that you keep your lawn at a minimum of three inches tall to keep it from drying out. Scalping your lawn too short exposes roots near the surface, again, drying them out.
Fertilization is another part of lawn care, thankfully, the one you have to worry about least often. Fertilize early in the spring with a high nitrogen product to encourage healthy growth. You’ll find the nitrogen content in the numbers on the bag. Typically in sets of three, nitrogen is the first number in a fertilizer formulation; second is phosphorous, and third is potash. Nitrogen promotes leaf growth, or blades of grass. Phosphorous and potash promote fruit and flower production. So, 20-5-3 is a typical lawn fertilizer, while 10-20-10 is a typical all purpose garden fertilizer.
If you use a weed ‘n feed product, do it early, before any broadleaf weeds germinate (usually March for our area). Fertilize again in early summer, and again in the fall. Three applications are sufficient. A thick healthy lawn is the best defense against weeds, as grass will choke out almost any weed. There are several varieties of herbicides for weeds in a lawn, and because most weeds around here are broadleaf, they can be easily controlled with over-the-counter weed control products.
Give me a call if you have concerns with anything in your yard; I’d be glad to try and help! 970-330-5907
It’s that time of year when we pile in the corn and put it up for the winter. Here’s a quick how-to guide for those of you who may have never tried.
1. Come get your corn from Pope Farms
2. Husk it
3. Boil for three minutes
4. Chill in ice water
5. Cut off the cob
6. Pack into freezer bags
Or… you can also pack the entire ear into freezer bags without cutting the kernels off the cob.
I then blended everything together in the blender, and cooked for 15-20 minutes.
I heated the jars and lids in about an inch of boiling water, and put salsa in jars.
I did not water bath, the lids sealed just fine.
I also used a kitchen funnel to put the salsa in jars to keep the rim of the jar clean.
If you would like a spicier salsa either add jalapeños, or use a different pepper.
It made 4-5 pints.
- Thanks to our Facebook follower, Angela Krueger-Geneus, for this recipe!
Working in batches, purée the cantaloupe in a blender until smooth. Pour into a large bowl and let stand for 10 minutes.
Skim the foam from the surface and strain the juice through a fine-mesh sieve, preferably lined with cheesecloth, into a pitcher. Stir in the lemon juice, basil, and water. Let sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours.
Fill glasses with ice and divvy the agua fresca among them.
Variation: Watermelon and Grapefruit
Substitute 9 cups chopped, seeded watermelon (about 2 1/2 pounds rindless fruit) for the cantaloupe, 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice for the lemon juice, and omit the basil and water. Blend, skim, strain, and serve immediately over ice.
When cold it should be the color and consistency of honey.
- 1967 “KOA Cookbook”
The Patricia Wells recipe calls for raw garlic, but I do not particularly like raw garlic in a cold item, so I blanched it. She doesn’t blanch the peas at all; I like them cooked a bit.
- Kathleen Combs Leverett
About the Author
Susan is a Colorado Master Gardener, as designated by Colorado State University. She is the voice behind our Green Thumb Gossip, a weekly blog where she shares her expertise on things like when to plant what, tricks of the trade, and how to make your yard the talk of the town