I am so excited that I can see my front yard. Over the last couple of weeks, the snow has melted, the grass is slowly
springing to life and the buds on the plum trees are getting ready to pop.
I love spring in Southwest Colorado.
Last weekend, the family was able to get in half a day of skiing Saturday, then on Easter Sunday, we sat in the
yard with flip flops and T-shirts watching the kids find eggs.
Note to self: remember how many eggs you hide. The posse of kids found 46 and I am pretty sure we hid 47. I sure hope
the skunk finds it before June.
On Sunday, I also planted the onion transplants and seeded a couple of rows of spinach.
Onions tend to be tricky, as they have a relatively small window as to when you can plant them. The onion family is
sensitive to the length of night, which triggers bulb development. I recommend planting long day varieties that start
bulbing with day-lengths of 14 to 16 hours and temperatures above 65 degrees. The size of the plant when environmental
conditions trigger bulb development determines the size of the bulb. Therefore, plant onions as soon as soil conditions
allow in the spring.
I'll be honest, I struggle with onions. I have tried sets (bulbs), seed, and now, transplants. It seems that the
environmental or soil conditions don't usually allow me to get my crop in at the right time. So this year, I'll try the
first of April and transplants.
Remind me to give you an update later in the season.
Hopefully, challenges like growing onions won't make you give up on gardening and start crying (ba-da-bump). However,growing vegetables in our climate can be a challenge. The spring snows, the early summer frosts, the intense afternoon
summer-heat and the occasional deer, pocket gopher, bear or grasshopper can make even the experienced growers grimace.
Fortunately, the new and old residents, the professionals and rookies, and even the clueless still have opportunities
to get clued-in.
Fort Lewis College Continuing Education Program is offering a number of classes this spring and summer on food
production; Turtle Lake Refuge is always putting on classes and workshops through its Organic Farm School; the Ignacio
Community Library will be hosting a Gardening Series starting in May on Thursday evenings; and of course, all that CSU
We still have a couple of spaces left for our Backyard Food Production Series, which starts April 28. This season-long,12-session series will teach you how to grow your own food - from design and seed starting to harvest, storage and
preservation. All classes are taught by local experts and will give you the tools to effectively and efficiently grow
lots of food.
We will also be announcing our Small Acreage Workshops in the next couple of weeks. Expect classes on beneficial
insects, farm and garden equipment (how to purchase, operate, etc.), season extension, and hopefully something on home
produced chickens and eggs.
email@example.com or 382-6464.
Darrin Parmenter is director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office.