Greetings to our gardening Friends!
Thank goodness we are (for the moment, anyway) starting to cool down and are enjoying some merciful rain. Mikl and Eve spent a few days in the mountains, and it was HOT (not just warm) at 11,000’ elevation! We were going to talk about how July is always the hottest, driest month, how it is best to water twice as much in July if you want to save your perennials, shrubs and trees and if you want your vegetables and fruits to be productive. But now that it’s cooler and pouring rain…..
As we gardeners know, Colorado is full of surprises that are often hard on our plants. It’s best to be prepared for anything, so a little advice on dealing with drought may still be in order.
More plants are killed by over-watering than by under-watering. Plants need oxygen to their roots as much as they need water. Deep, infrequent watering, once or twice a week, is far better than shallow frequent watering. With a trowel, dig a hole to check moisture at 2”, 4” and 6” depths before and after watering to really know if your soil is dry, moist or soggy. Contact the Center for Resource Conservation (303-999-3820) for a FREE irrigation audit.
If watering restrictions are imposed in your community and you have to make tough choices, save your trees first, then shrubs, then perennials, and lawns last. This list reflects the replacement time for each type of planting if you lose them to drought. Obviously, the time investment in a tree is substantial, and its value for shade and cooling is difficult and expensive to replace. To water trees, don’t put the hose next to the trunk – that’s not where the fine roots that take up water are located. Instead, water a wide area inside and outside the dripline (the ends of the branches). One rule of thumb for watering trees is to apply 10 gallons once a week for every inch of diameter of the trunk. One trick that can save drought-stressed plants and to help establish young trees is to drill two holes in the side of a 5-gallon plastic bucket, about an inch apart, each 1/8” diameter and just a ½” above the bottom of the bucket. Place the bucket with the holes near the drip-line, fill the bucket with water and leave it there to dribble slowly and deeply. For larger plants, you can use 3 or 4 buckets.
Turf, especially bluegrass, is naturally dormant and brown in summer and will green up when weather typically becomes cooler and moister in mid-August or early September.
Go to www.colostate.edu and search for Turf Drought Response by Tony Koski.
Mulch is very useful for keeping the soil cooler and for reducing water loss through evaporation. Fine organic mulches like woodchips or small bark blow less and feed the soil better (sheet compost faster). “Monkey Hair” shredded redwood bark and cedar mulches repel microorganisms and take too long to feed the soil. Besides, they are not local products. Fine gravel mulches, like squeegee and pea gravel make good mulches when applied 1” to 2” thick for rock gardens or cactus, succulent and Penstemon gardens. Any larger size of gravel or rock makes weeding and planting extremely difficult.
And of course, choosing Xeriscape plants that need less water will not only save water, anxiety, and the costs and time to replace plants, they will usually look more appropriate in a Colorado landscape. We have specialized in xeriscape for 20 years and have an extensive selection of water-wise plants. Also be sure to group plants together that have similar watering needs. This will save water and make both xeric and water-loving plants happy.
ON SALE though JULY at HARLEQUIN”S GARDENS:
all Summer Vegetable Starts
All ‘Botanical Interests’ Seeds
All Basil (Sweet, Italian Large-leaf, Napolitano, Cinnamon, Thai, Mrs. Burns’ Lemon, Holy (Tulsi), Opal (Purple)
Our COMPOST TEA, brewed fresh daily
TIMELY PRODUCTS IN STOCK NOW:
NOLO BAIT (biological control for grasshopper)
Mikl’s Superior PLANTER’s MIX (for raised planters, filling low spots or holes)
FINE WOOD CHIP Mulch
SOIL PEP Mulch
COMING VERY SOON:
Friday JULY 20th: Our 20/20 Sale on (look for details in our next BLOG in a few days)
FALL VEGETABLE STARTS: We will soon have starts for Broccoli and Cauliflower, then Kale and Swiss Chard and other fall greens. By the way, mid July is a great time to sow seeds for Carrots, which will be ready for harvest in autumn, and can be held in the ground for winter harvest as well.
Fri. 7/13, 10:00 am. BUGS for KIDS: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly, ages5+ with Michele Bailey Learn about insects in the garden and about the pollinators & their favorite plants. $15 (Please call 303-939-9403 right away to pre-register)
Sat. 7/14, 10:00 am: Mikl’s class on ORGANIC STRATEGIES for GRASSHOPPER CONTROL: There’s no perfect solution to stopping grasshoppers, but there are non-toxic methods to significantly reduce their damage. $15 (Please call 303-939-9403 right away to pre-register)
Sun. July 15, 1:30 pm: LANDSCAPING WITHOUT CHEMICALS with Mikl Brawner. Plants do not need petroleum fertilizers and toxic pesticides. They do just fine with organic products and methods. Learn how. Mikl has been researching and testing this for 35 years. $15 (Please call 303-939-9403 right away to pre-register)
Fri. July 27, 10:00 am: Children’s Class: MAKE GARDEN STEPPING STONES, ages 5+. Michele Bailey will guide the children to make a decorated cement stepping stone. $25 materials included. (Please call 303-939-9403 to pre-register)
From Mikl and Eve Brawner
And the Staff at Harlequin’s Gardens