Darrin Parmenter

Position: La Plata County Extension Office

Email: parmenterdm@co.laplata.co.us

From the Extension Office

Get Growing

About: Darrin Parmenter is director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office.

The harvest, the weather make September great

I’m a fan of September – if it had an Instagram page, I would follow it; a Facebook site, I would like it. The cool mornings, afternoons in the 80s and nights with open windows make up for the...

DATE: Sept. 3, 2018 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Let the county fair shine its light on you

You look for bright spots. No matter what you have happening in your life, you look for those times, those people or those moments when a bit of sunshine can make a world of difference. As Brandi...

DATE: Aug. 6, 2018 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Remember that we are a community – be kind to each other

It would be pretty easy to write another article about the drought. As someone who deals with plants on a daily basis, I have seen the effects of this drought on trees, shrubs, lawns, weeds,...

DATE: July 9, 2018 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Relentless winds can parch plants, pull moisture from soil

I am sick of this wind, and I don’t even have hair. It’s not uncommon to have blustery days in April, but as we enter June, I always thought they would start to die down. But not this year – the...

DATE: June 4, 2018 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Dry year creates challenging conditions for farmers, ranchers in Southwest Colorado

I write this as the rain is finally coming down in the valley, wet snow in the high country. In Durango, moisture in two of the last five days has been a rarity, albeit welcome. Unfortunately, the...

DATE: May 7, 2018 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Each landscape presents its own demands to gardeners

A couple of weeks ago, I traveled across the Western Slope of Colorado, giving talks to multiple Master Gardener classes about backyard vegetable production. Same talk with 270 PowerPoint slides,...

DATE: April 9, 2018 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Workshop to address managing water needs in a dry year

Last month was all about soil, and yes, soil is where everything starts. If you build it, plants, flowers and fruit will come. If you ask a farmer or rancher – and if they’re worth their weight in...

DATE: March 5, 2018 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Gardeners, this measurement will tell you a lot about your soil

I tried. I wrote an article about watering trees in the winter, I washed the car and I sold a pair of skis. But none of it did the trick. Our weather seems to get only warmer, and even the few...

DATE: Feb. 5, 2018 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Workshop will teach techniques to extend the growing season

As our travels around the sun begin again, we seem to be traversing through a very, very strange and dichotomous winter. This week, we have winter storm warnings for Jacksonville, Florida;...

DATE: Jan. 8, 2018 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Our dry weather may mean trees need winter watering

Over the years, I’ve written articles that seem to initiate a response from Mother Nature that completely eliminates the need to do what I’m writing about. So, in hopes of that happening again...

DATE: Dec. 3, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

I’ve enjoyed a busy 10 years and look forward to more

You know time flies when you’re daydreaming in your office (extremely momentarily) about a topic for the monthly newspaper article and you see a certificate on the wall recognizing five years of...

DATE: Nov. 6, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Plant bulbs this fall to light up your garden in the spring

The autumnal tease is here. A couple nights of frost, the changing colors and the snow up high on the mountain tops signal the changing of the guard. We all scramble to get the wood chopped and...

DATE: Oct. 6, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Green chile season is here, but they aren’t the hottest peppers

There are times during the year when your senses get the best of you: the sight of the first snow, the sound of coyotes while camping or the taste of fruit picked right from the tree. On a recent...

DATE: Sept. 2, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

My Grandpa’s garden put baseball in the dugout

As a kid, my memories of a backyard garden are somewhat vague, and honestly, none too pleasant. For me, summer was meant for baseball. Every day in June and July, the script was already written:...

DATE: Aug. 5, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Hot and dry, June is tough on our lawns

Just like I predicted: June was hot and dry. Fans and window air-conditioning units were turned on before we wanted to. Upstairs bedrooms were too hot to sleep in. The Animas River seemed...

DATE: June 30, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Acclaimed plant experts to share wisdom at Four Corners Horticulture Conference

On June 9 and 10, something amazing is going to happen here in Durango. No, it has nothing to do with the end of road construction, the opening of another hotel or the start of some...

DATE: June 1, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

On neighborhood walks, I watch spring unfold

This past month, I have become pretty intimate with my neighborhood on the southside of Durango. After going through back surgery in early April, my primary means of exercise has been my own two...

DATE: May 4, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Choose the right tree to fit into a smaller, urban lot

Last month, I wrote about ample space in the landscape, a luxury (or detriment depending on your interests) that many of us wish we had. I had some suggestions for large trees that could work if...

DATE: April 3, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

These majestic trees provide shade for large spaces

If I ever have questions about ornamental plant selection, I’m not afraid to ask others for their opinions. I’m a vegetable kind of guy, and the edibles tend to be in my horticultural wheelhouse....

DATE: March 1, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

How to prune your fruit trees this winter

The short days and long nights leave many of us in Southwest Colorado yearning for something: more powder and more turns, a long-lasting snowpack to fill our rivers this spring and summer or the...

DATE: Feb. 2, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

In dark of winter, I’m dreaming about seasons, possibilities ahead

Author and philosopher Albert Camus once wrote: “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” Because Camus was a philosopher, I can only assume that...

DATE: Jan. 5, 2017 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Wrap your new tree to protect it from winter temperature swings

In Southwest Colorado, our coldest months are fast approaching. Allow me to remind you: In December 2015, we had 11 nights that registered below zero at the airport; January had 14 nights that...

DATE: Nov. 30, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

For growers, it was a glorious year in Southwest Colorado

Come November, I traditionally write the “end of the year” or “season in review” column. I lament on the dry winter, the cold spring, the brutally hot summer and even the sneaky end-of-the-season...

DATE: Nov. 2, 2016 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Focus on local food helps fuel Iron Horse event

When my family and I decided to move back to Durango a little more than four years ago, I didn’t quite know what to expect. My most recent background was in commercial vegetable production (imagine...

DATE: July 27, 2011 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Iron Horse Chef competition heats up market

Once upon a time, I worked in restaurants. I washed dishes at the Palace Restaurant, cleared tables at now-closed Father Murphy’s, and was a waiter and cook at Gazpacho’s. Then while in Montana, I...

DATE: Sept. 8, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Local food to be focus of upcoming events

Like many of you, I have stressed over my garden this year. I had mentioned in a previous article that my garden was not growing – even with silver bells and cockle shells – like I wanted it to....

DATE: Aug. 11, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Plants lack umph? Try this fertilizer formula

I hope that I am not alone in the puny garden department this year. It seems as if the tomatoes, which were planted May31, haven't put on much growth. Seeds sown at the first of the month still...

DATE: July 1, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Wise watering the key to defeating drought

My family and I went camping last weekend - the first of hopefully many weekends away from the house. This was themaiden voyage for the recently purchased pop-up camper, which is a luxury - albeit...

DATE: June 17, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Flaunt beauty, bounty in local garden contest

What message does your yard, or garden, or property convey? Is it one of indifference (i.e. rentals that haven't seen ahose, or mower, or trowel for years) or commitment? Does it display your...

DATE: June 2, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Find a story line and be sure to stick with it

In my last column, I introduced the idea of creating your outdoor space. It can be a daunting task, but if you take itstep by step, it can be much easier and useful.I wanted to finish a couple of...

DATE: May 5, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

The landscaping process begins by thinking big

A couple of years ago I wrote about my yard, and my outdoor living space. For an urban lot, it is relatively large andhad been neglected for years. We decided to start with a clean slate, with the...

DATE: April 22, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Area makes for growing challenges

I am so excited that I can see my front yard. Over the last couple of weeks, the snow has melted, the grass is slowlyspringing to life and the buds on the plum trees are getting ready to pop.I love...

DATE: April 8, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

It's time to think about seedlings

As many of my Colorado Master Gardener students and volunteers know, I am more of a “fruits-and-vegetables" than a“flowers" kind of horticulturist. Don't get me wrong, I like flowers. But for me,...

DATE: March 25, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

There is a link between snow fleas and groundhogs

I had two phone calls today that started “My snow has fleas."“Excuse me?" I replied, assuming that “Snow" was the name of their cat or dog.However, in both cases the descriptions were the same....

DATE: Feb. 11, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Five vegetables to grow and eat

I feel like I am risking what little journalism credentials I have - I majored in journalism for one semester at theUniversity of Northern Colorado - because this will be the second article in a...

DATE: Jan. 21, 2010 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

'Tis the season to eat poinsettias, kiss under parasite

Finally, it feels like winter.With all this snow, it is hard not to get in the holiday spirit. Although as I write this article, the seven hours Ijust spent moving snow is making it difficult to...

DATE: Dec. 10, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Offering a food challenge to the community

I feel pretty confident in saying that, other than Arbor Day, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. Of course, on Arbor Day you don't get a free pass to eat whatever you want (why do you think...

DATE: Nov. 26, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Master Gardeners a reason to keep excited

November and December are my down months. Typically, this is the time of year when I can catch up on all the thingsthat got buried on my desk; the time when the phone calls regarding horticulture...

DATE: Nov. 12, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Local growing season keeps us guessing

As I write this article on a gloomy and cold Tuesday, waiting for the forecasted storm to come in tonight and bring 3 to 5 feet (okay, maybe 3 to 5 inches - but it never hurts to wish) of snow,...

DATE: Oct. 28, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Homegrown Festival provides a fruity feast this Sunday

The other day, I challenged myself – I was curious how many fruit trees I could find in my short walk to work.I started at my house and traveled the eight blocks to the office at the fairgrounds....

DATE: Oct. 15, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Durango 4-H agent 'Bob' to say goodbye Oct. 16

The other day I visited a garden space at a local health-care center.It was one of those days when my wife, Andrea, was out of town on business and I had my youngest son in tow. Asher is pretty...

DATE: Oct. 7, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Extension offers help for gardeners

By the time this article hits the Thursday edition, the first fall frost probably hit the Durango area. It is close to that typical time when temperatures usually dip below 32 degrees - near the...

DATE: Sept. 24, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Livestock-judging program useful for kids on many levels

With school getting back in session, I thought it would be useful to give all of the readers an educational lesson.No, it isn't anything like using statistical analysis to forecast the first freeze...

DATE: Aug. 27, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

La Plata County Fair holds opportunities, farewells

Ah, Fair Week. The time of year when the fairgrounds and Extension Office are overrun with volunteers, kids, vendors and the occasional casserole dish to share.Yes, there will be a carnival here...

DATE: Aug. 6, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Durango Farmers Market adds Wednesday evening

I can honestly admit that I love the social aspect of the Durango Farmers Market. And I am not alone.I am confident that there are those who get to the First National Bank parking lot at 9 a.m. and...

DATE: June 25, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Spring's coming: Chores to do and not to do

So we thought that summer was just around the corner.Weeks of balmy temperatures led to a plethora of white legs sticking out of shorts, flies being cast on the Animas, and open windows and doors,...

DATE: April 9, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Summer is a seed catalog away

Ah yes, the middle of winter - the time at which writing an article about horticulture is always a challenge. Nurseries are all but closed, the ground is frozen, and even those wonderful Christmas...

DATE: Jan. 22, 2009 | COLUMN: From the Extension Office

Is your juniper tree looking rusty? Blame it on this fungus

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...

DATE: June 25, 2018 | COLUMN: Get Growing

Drop off sagging jack-o’-lanterns to feed livestock after Halloween

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...

DATE: Oct. 26, 2017 | COLUMN: Get Growing

The name of the game is getting your hands dirty – and getting smart

Gardening in Southwest Colorado is frequently challenging. We have deer, pocket gophers and voles. There can be frosts in June and September and rains that come down in sheets or just seem to...

DATE: April 6, 2011 | COLUMN: Get Growing

Options abound for supporting the local food economy

In honor of those who participated in the 2010 La Plata County Fair, here are some suggestions of things that you can do to support the local food economy. b Plant a garden and grow as much of your...

DATE: Aug. 18, 2010 | COLUMN: Get Growing

Vines are a landscape idea that will grow on you

In an effort to try and beat the heat this summer, you may want to think about using vines to help shade the favoritespot in the landscape. Recently, I planted vines near a willow archway to help...

DATE: June 24, 2010 | COLUMN: Get Growing

End-of-season advice for gardens and lawns

Editor's note: This is the final column of the season for Get Growing, written by the La Plata County Extension Office's Master Gardener Program. It features timely tips and suggestions for your...

DATE: Oct. 29, 2009 | COLUMN: Get Growing

Eww, gross - keep an eye out

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...

DATE: July 30, 2009 | COLUMN: Get Growing

Aspen a target of many insects and diseases

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...

DATE: July 2, 2009 | COLUMN: Get Growing