November 2015
« Oct    
News for Norther Colorado and the world

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Tips from Larimer Master Gardener

Gardening Tips

By: Kathy Roth
Colorado State University Extension Master Gardener in Larimer County

We are enjoying our earlier efforts in the garden—whether it is eating lettuce, spinach and snow peas or admiring our flowerbeds in full bloom.  Now the question becomes what can and should we be doing?  Here are some timely tips:

  • The most efficient time to water the lawn is between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
  • Continue to apply mulch on flower and vegetable gardens to keep plants cool and retain moisture.
  • Now is the time to dig up perennials that have finished blooming, like iris, if you want to divide and replant them.
  • Continue to pinch back chrysanthemums every week until July 4th for fuller blooms in the fall.
  • Pinch newest shoots on geraniums to encourage bushier plants.
  • If you want to divide spring bulbs, and their foliage has completely turned brown, it’s time. It is important to wait and not remove any green foliage from tulips or daffodils; this foliage builds up the health of the bulb to ensure next spring’s showy display.
  • Check tomato plants for any pests or diseases. Refer to CSU Extension Fact Sheet #2.949 from to identify common tomato problems.
  • Weed and mulch asparagus and strawberry beds.
  • Set up trellises to support pole beans, cucumbers, etc.
  • Stir and water compost piles.
  • After the 4th of July, start sowing fall season crops like spinach and lettuce.
  • Consider building cold frames this summer for use in fall to extend your growing season. Many sources explain cold frames construction—both on the internet and at local libraries.


Gardening Q&A

By: Garth Bontrager
Colorado State University Extension Master Gardener in Larimer County

Q. Sometimes I wonder why I bother growing a garden…every year something goes wrong. My peppers and squash are sticky all over and the leaves are splotchy and look like they’re going to fall off. What’s going on?

A. Every year is a new adventure for gardeners and homeowners. Your problem is familiar to many, but don’t fret—there’s hope for your garden, yard and sanity. The “sticky stuff” is likely what’s known as “honeydew. ” It’s the by-product of aphids, who are feeding on your plants or a tree overhead. Aphids are sometimes called plant lice, and they come in several different colors. Populations can increase rapidly in the right conditions, and all feed on the sap of plants.

They’re very small but feed in gross numbers. Aphids are usually visible on the undersides of leaves, stems and in the nooks close to new growth shoots. The honeydew is a nuisance. It’s sticky and attracts ants, as is a food source for a black colored fungus that can discolor trunks of trees and foliage and interfere with plant health. Large aphid infestations can have a negative impact on plant vigor and vitality. Fortunately there are cures.

The first cure may already be present: ladybugs. The ladybird beetle is a prime predator of aphids, especially the immatures that are often called an “alligator. ” These little 6-legged larvae are gray or black with yellow or orange spots or stripes. Green lacewings, syrphid flies and parasitic wasps also feed on aphids, and all may be present in your yard, effectively reducing the aphid populations. An immediate and effective control is to spray your plants with a garden hose to wash off the aphids and honeydew. If the problem persists, then look into an insecticidal soap or horticultural oil. Finally, if the aphids persist, there are many insecticides available, such as acephate, bifenthrin, malathion, esfenvarelate, orthene and imidacloprid. Quite often, aphid populations decline and the plants will be just fine. If you need more recommendations, call your local Extension Office for advice, or visit the CSU Extension website at

The authors have received training through Colorado State University Extension’s Master Gardener program and are Master Gardener volunteers for Larimer County.

Larimer County is a county-based outreach of Colorado State University Extension providing information you can trust to deal with current issues in agriculture, horticulture, nutrition and food safety, 4-H, small acreage, money management and parenting.  For more information about CSU Extension, Larimer County, telephone (970) 498-6000 or visit

Visit PlantTalk Colorado ™ for fast answers to your gardening questions! PlantTalk is a cooperation between Colorado State University Extension, GreenCo and Denver Botanic Gardens.

Print This Post Print This Post