Can Spring still be dodging snowstorms on the 12th of May? Well, thank goodness for the water. We Rocky Mountain Gardeners always have to be ready for changes. It will be hot soon enough so let’s enjoy the best and longest season of bulb-blooming we’ve had in some years. In fact, we are expecting much warmer, sunnier weather this weekend. And that’s great because we are very excited to be hosting a free demonstration of Solar Cooking on Sunday May 16, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Please see the announcement at the end of this blog entry for more information.
If you haven’t already done it, not is the time to prune out dead canes from roses and dieback from other shrubs. Many people are reporting plant damage due to last fall’s early deep freeze. Our favorite daphne in the rock garden died, and many zone 5 roses died to the ground—another reminder of the importance of planting own-root roses instead of grafted ones.
Now is also a good time to feed roses. Pull back the mulch, scratch the soil 1”-2” deep and apply the fertilizer (we recommend the Colorado-formulated Mile High Rose Feed) fertilize in a wide ring near the drip line, not close to the canes, scratch it in, water deeply and pull the mulch back.
When can we safely plant tomatoes and peppers without protection? That is a question! Usually May 20th; Denver Botanic Gardens suggest May 15th. If you can put a bucket over them on a cold night, mid May is probably OK. Or, to get an earlier start, you can use our popular Solar Caps which are like a Wall-O-Water, but better, and can be left on the whole season long to keep the soil warm even during our cool nights. Tomatoes and peppers appreciate warm soil both when they are planted (set up the Solar Cap several days before planting), and later to keep growing and maturing when nights are cool.
Heads Up! To you few getting this announcement: Organic mushroom compost has been hard to get and we just brought in a limited quantity. This stuff is great for vegetable gardens and roses.
Also our recent deliveries and the readiness of our Harlequin-Grown plants have filled our tables and houses, so we have the best selection of plants now that we will have all year. We still have a good selection of organic vegetables and herb starts and will continue producing them into June.
Our Soil Food Café is also well stocked with organic composts and organic fertilizers and a good organic potting mix for your containers. Also don’t forget to check out our schedule of classes (www. HarlequinsGardens.com/Classes) and call to pre-register for the ones that interest you. We have some great ones coming up including:
Saturday May 15, 10 am High Altitude Gardening with Diane Badertscher. Gardening above 6000’ has its own challenges. There are certain plants and certain strategies that can improve your successes. Diane lives and gardens at 8000’ and can help you. $10
Saturday May 15, 1:30 pm Alison Peck: Edible Landscaping. Learn how to grow fruits, nuts, vegetables, vines and herbs in your yard, beautifully. Learn which plants are the most successful and how to integrate them into your landscape. Alison has been designing edible landscapes for 25 years; She owns Matrix Gardens landscaping. $10
Sunday May 16, 1:30 pm Home-grown Fruits with Mikl Brawner. Apples, cherries, plums, currants, grapes, strawberries, gooseberries, raspberries, service berries (and more) produce good fruit in Colorado. Learn which varieties are disease resistant, good flavored and best adapted to CO conditions. $15
Saturday May 22, 1:30 pm Spring Pruning with Mikl Brawner Prune Spring-blooming shrubs soon after they have bloomed. Mikl will show how to make proper cuts, how to shape, thin and renew shrubs. (tree pruning see Aug classes) Mikl has 35 years experience. $10
Sunday May 23, 1:30 pm Secrets of Veggie Gardening in the Mountains with Roland Evans. Learn how to amend soils, choose the right varieties, simple plant protection strategies. Roland grows over 50 varieties of veggies at 7500’. CEO of Organic Bountea. $10
Saturday June 5, 10 am Growing Vegetables without Chemicals with Niki Hayden. Niki will cover soil amendments for fertility, pest barriers and nontoxic methods for insect and weed control. Niki has many years of experience with healthy gardening. $10
Saturday June 12, 1:30 pm Opportunities and Tricks of Xeriscape with Mikl Brawner There are advantages to gardening with less water, and tricks that will improve your success. Mikl’s xeriscape experience of over 20 years has taught him tricks that will cost you a lot less than it cost him. $15
Sunday June 13, 10 am Backyard Beekeeping with Julie Finley of Growing Gardens. Learn honeybee culture and the plants that support them. Visit our Top Bar hives to learn a great system for natural and small scale beekeeping. Julie buzzes with 14 years experience. She’s a honey. $10
Sunday June 13, 1:30 pm Top 40 Fragrant Roses with Eve Brawner: A Nose-on Class. Eve will share her long experience searching out and growing the truly fragrant rose varieties, heirloom & modern, and will bring samples of as many as possible. $10
We are very excited to invite you to a
FREE (and CARBON- FREE) DEMONSTRATION of
SOLAR, OFF-THE-GRID COOKING , with Mary Carhart
on SUNDAY MAY 16th , from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Experience the technology and sample cookies baked in a solar oven !
At Harlequin’s Gardens Nursery, 4795 N. 26th St., Boulder CO 80301 (303-939-9403)
Solar Cooking is an exciting and important clean-energy technology providing a clean and healthy alternative that greatly improves the lives of millions of people around the world, as well as the large and small-scale environment in which they (and we) live.
Mary Carhart will demonstrate a variety of different Solar Cooking technologies, from home-made to high-tech. Mary is passionate about solar cooking and spreading its use both locally and globally. She has been cooking with solar ovens and educating people around the country about solar cooking technologies and techniques for five years.
Colorado is blessed with optimal conditions for Solar Cooking, and solar ovens can be used to bake, roast, fry, dry-process (dehydrate) or otherwise cook all kinds of foods, from turkey to casserole to cake.
So we hope you will join us for this valuable, informative and fun demonstration!
Thank you for your support and for recommending us to your friends and neighbors.
Sincerely, Mikl, Eve and the Staff at Harlequin’s Gardens