Editor’s note: Get Growing, written by the La Plata County Extension Office’s Master Gardener Program, appears every other week during the growing season. It features timely tips and suggestions for your garden and landscape.
By Darrin Parmenter
’Tis the season to be jolly.
Gardening season that is. With daytime temperatures in the 60s and 70s, it may be challenging to not find an excuse to run off to the desert, hop on the mountain bike or take the dog and kids to the park and get really sunburned (not speaking from experience, of course). But if your garden needs tending – mixing in the manure you applied last fall, raking out the leaves, adding soil amendments – now is the time to do it.
Once you get the beds well-watered and raked smooth, here are some crops that you can go ahead and plant now:
Peas: The vegetable that hardly ever leaves the garden. Only during bumper harvests do these delectable, sweet treats ever become anything other than “snacks while one weeds.” Plant when soil temperatures reach 40 degrees. Snow and snap peas do well with our cold nights.
Lettuce: My preference is to stick to leaf lettuce – green, red, oakleaf – or those that form small bunched rosettes – bibb, butterhead or mini romaine – as they mature quicker and don’t have as many pest issues. Stay away from planting these from June to late August as the summer heat produces off flavors unless you give the plants adequate shade.
Onions: These are mainstays of my garden as they have the potential to store in a cool, dry place throughout winter and into spring. Make sure you plant intermediate day onions (preferably from transplants) before mid-May. Varieties that we have seen do well here are Candy (yellow) and Super Star (white).
Carrots: If I could (and I do), I like to dedicate an entire raised bed to carrots – kids love ’em, and they store for a long time. Be careful planting this small-seeded crop as it is easy to plant the seeds too deeply. Make sure you keep the soil moist throughout germination, which can be two or more weeks. Stay away from long, slender varieties as they can struggle in our soils.
If you are interested in learning more about vegetable and fruit gardening, we still have some spots available in our annual Backyard Food Production series. See inset for more information.
firstname.lastname@example.org. or 382-6464. Darrin Parmenter is director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office.