Vail landscape column: Tips to get your garden on track
Even with rains continuing, there is still an opportunity between storms to get outdoors and plant veggies and annuals. With temperatures looking to rise this week, it’s time to take advantage of these warming daytime and night temperatures to get veggies in the ground so they will be mature before the first frost.
PLANNING AND PRECAUTIONS
The success of anything we do is always in the planning — and the precautions — and that’s the same with growing a successful garden. Planting a little later this year means planning a garden with vegetable varieties that mature faster. Read the back of seed packets to see how many days until harvest and select plants that will mature in 90 days or less.
Part of planning also involves where you locate plants. For a healthier garden, rotate crops so that the tomatoes or green beans, for example, grow in a different place each year. Plant diseases, insects and fungus in last year’s garden can overwinter and be ready to hop right back on your plants if you put them in the same location again this year. By moving plants away from where the pest was thriving, you help to minimize their damage the following year.
Another wise precaution is to disinfect tomato cages and trellises so that last year’s diseases don’t attack this year’s plants. Combine 1/4 cup bleach in 1 gallon of water. If you can spray cages and trellises on a hard surface such as a concrete driveway that the bleach won’t damage, then they may be sprayed. If trellises are permanent, then use a wet rag with the solution to wipe them down.
Disinfecting tip: If you have a small kid’s wading pool, then combine bleach with water in the same proportions listed above. Simply roll the cages in the bleach/water solution for quick disinfection. Make sure the pool is safely out of reach of kids and pets and allow it to sit for about 72 hours to let the bleach dissipate. Once you can no longer smell the bleach, water can be dumped out of the pool.
• Loosen the root system before placing plants into the ground — except for cucumbers and squash, which will actually mature faster from seed than starter plants.
• Place the plant in the hole and water it in slightly before filling the hole with soil.
• Place a granular, slow-release fertilizer around the base of the plant following the product’s label instructions for the amount to apply.
• If the garden is watered manually, then create a water well or dish around the base of the plant. This allows you to save water by applying water only to the dish rather than every square foot of the garden. Expand the diameter of the dish as the plant grows.
• If using drip irrigation, then place the drip line around the base of the plant and be ready to extend its distance from the plant as it grows.
Warmer days are ahead, so get outdoors and plant something!
Becky Garber is a member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970-468-0340.