Editor’s note: Get Growing, written by the La Plata County Extension Office’s Master Gardener Program, appears during the growing season. It features timely tips and suggestions for your garden and landscape.
By Jill Hoehlein
This summer’s La Plata County Fair will feature an emphasis on floricultural as well as fruits and vegetables.
We are planning not only to show off the fruits of your labor, but also to educate others so they can grow beautiful and tasty plants. We also are going to be highlighting heirloom plants (open-pollinated and grown in an earlier area).
But to do this, we need your help. When you plan your plantings, we encourage you to keep track of this data (examples in parenthesis):
Variety (e.g., glacier tomato, Yukon gold potato – if heirloom, please specify).
Source (e.g., Fedco Seeds, 2015; saved seed from 2014).
Plant spacing (distance between plants and rows).
The use of companion plantings.
Clime/aspect (full sun, east side, west side, partial shade).
Soil amendments (e.g., Black Gold, 10-10-10 fertilizer, composted horse manure, leaves tilled in the previous fall, home waste in home compost, worm compost/worm tea).
Mulch (black plastic, straw, lawn clippings, paper/recycled material).
Garden type (raised bed, in-situ native soil, container, greenhouse).
Pest- and weed-control methods (floating row cover, none, small tiller, hoe, natural pesticide – soap, etc. – or synthetic).
If you have any other secrets of success, we would love to hear about those helpful “tricks.”
You could keep the information in a small binder or on index cards during the growing season so you can have them at the ready for the fair in August.
When you check in, we will ask if you would like to complete a small educational card summarizing your “secrets to success.” If these cards are available early, you certainly can complete the card and bring it to registration. We hope all of you gardeners – individuals, community gardeners, greenhouse folks – will participate in the fair.
We look forward to learning lots of growing tips that we can use to improve our garden results.
Jill Hoehlein has been a Colorado master gardener since 2010. She lives in La Plata County.