The ancient proverb “March winds and April showers bring forth May flowers” could be revised for Colorado as “March and April heavy snow, freezing temps, and strong winds bring forth May flowers”! And this year was no exception. Two recent cold snaps with temperatures reaching lows of 3 degrees F in our neighborhood, snows up to 36” in the foothills, and winds that will bring down any weak tree branches, wreaked havoc and impacted flower and fruit productivity. So now it’s time to help support our shrubs and trees to recover.
The most influential factor in this process is soil biology, which is activated by warmth in the soil. This week’s warm – and forecasted very warm – temperatures will be of great help in inspiring soil microbes and critters to come to life. You can kick-start this process by temporarily pulling back your mulch to temporarily expose soil to the suns warming rays.
In addition to warmth, soil microbes need food in the form of compost, mild, organic fertilizers and mineral supplements. Harlequin’s Gardens is stocked with a good supply of Age Old (both liquid and dry) and Neptune’s Harvest products, and our own Soil Fertility Mix that can help you. Compost Tea will be available starting Thursday, May 7. More on our individual products.
Soil amendments and fertilizers and come in two forms: liquid and granular. Each form has its own benefits and you can decide to mix and match as needed. Liquid products are faster acting and shorter lasting. Granular products are slower acting and longer lasting. To give extra energy and strength to shrubs, vines, roses and small trees when they make their second attempt at leafing out, you can use a liquid fertilizer like Fish & Seaweed as a foliar spray. Liquids like Age Old ‘Grow’ help your veggie starts, both before and after you transplant them to your outdoor bed. Liquids are also great for house plants on a weekly / biweekly basis. Granular fertilizers will generally last two months in the soil and can be applied now for impact throughout the spring. It’s important to use slow-release, organic products, which will not push growth too fast. (Remember, our average last freeze date isn’t until May 9, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac!) Here’s what it looked like in the Boulder Valley on May 21st, 2019.
For more on this topic, read Mikl’s “Building Topsoil and Soil Fertility” article in the upcoming May issue of Colorado Gardener magazine!