Editor’s note: Get Growing, written by the La Plata County Extension Office’s Master Gardener Program, features timely tips and suggestions for your garden and landscape.
By Judy Bolton
Every February during the snow melt “slush fest,” I start dreaming about growing beautiful flowers and vegetables.
It is a great time to plan what you might like to grow for the La Plata County Fair, which will be held Aug. 10-14. Participation is open to everyone who wants to enter, not just agricultural families and 4-H members.
Here is your challenge: Grow something to show at the fair this year.
First, think about your gardening space. A shade loving, Zone 5 plant that needs lots of water may not do well in a full sun, Zone 3 location with poor soil and little water. Consider whether you are starting from seed or purchasing plants, annuals or perennials, growing herbs or heirloom varieties and if you are interested in attracting pollinators like butterflies or honeybees. Choosing the right place for the right plant is important for your success.
Next, select plants that you want to grow, and pay attention to the planting guidelines. Start a journal and map out where each plant will be placed. Will taller plants shade shorter ones? If necessary, adjust placement. Seek out gardeners or extension agents, join a garden club or check the resource list for help.
Now, it’s time to get growing. Amend your soil if needed, get your hands dirty and start planting. In your journal, enter the date you plant each variety. Keep seed packets or plant tags for future reference. Track plant growth through the season, note information about special nutrient or pest treatments. Record the harvest date and outcome information on plant varieties for future reference.
Finally, enter your successes into the La Plata County Fair. Information will be available in the “Fair Book” online at www.co.laplata.co.us or in print at the Extension Office, area gardening stores, greenhouses and nurseries.
Read the general rules for all fair entries and the specific rules under departments for the best chance to show off your harvest.
Come to the fair to enjoy the exhibits, see how your entries fared and discover our growing community. For now, enjoy mud season and dream of spring!
Judy Bolton has been a Colorado master gardener since 2015. She lives in La Plata County.