It's August, Almost Harvest Time

It’s August. Time to prepare for the most rewarding experience possible in a vegetable garden- harvest! Chances are, you are already harvesting some veggies, maybe tomatoes, cucumbers, or zucchini. But to maximize your harvest in the short time you have left, it pays to take a few steps.

For your tomatoes, you can still see results from fertilizer. Use a fertilizer with higher P and K numbers. Your plants no longer need to grow greenery, they need to focus their energy on fruits. If you are having blossom end rot, you can apply Yield Booster spray to the foliage and get good results.

Your cucumbers should be flowering by now and maybe growing fruit. The same type of fertilizer that works for tomatoes, like a Big Bloom variety, will help here too. You can remove some flowers if you think there is an overabundance, but for now you should be able to get a great harvest in the next month or so.

Squash (zucchini or winter squash) should be flowering like crazy now. You should be getting loads of zucchini starting soon, and you can keep that going by removing the zucchini as soon as it’s a usable size, before they become zucchini monsters. Check your plants daily! Winter squash will do well with some controlled flower removal at this stage, as the squash will grow better with 5-10 veggies on the vine than 20+. Limit your pure numbers of veggies and the plants will produce better and finish faster. Of course, fertilizer will feed those as well.

Finally, you can still plant some cold-temperature plants for the fall. Lettuce and spinach will do well in the fall season if started now. Water seeds well through the hotter weeks coming up (and maybe shade them with some shade cover) and they will settle in for a September/October harvest. If we get a frost, you can extend the season for your cold tolerant plants by covering them with a frost tunnel or frost fabric. That will even work on your tomatoes with a light frost. We carry both light and heavy frost material to extend harvests in the fall and plantings in the spring.

What else are you planting and harvesting? Let us know at Native Roots!

Summer Veggie Gardening

It’s June and our weather has been fantastic. How is your vegetable garden going?
If it is like ours, it’s pretty happy with all of the sun right now. Pretty much everything can be in the ground at this point, so plant those tomatoes, squash, corn, and beans asap! What else can be done to get your garden in tip top shape to survive and thrive in the rigors of Durango summer heat?

Well, it’s likely that you are already seeing some pests around your garden. Grasshoppers are making their yearly appearance, and they need healthy, strong plants to stand up to them. We carry Semaphore to help with those bad bugs. We have also had an alarming amount of people coming in with spotted blister beetle infestations! These guys are bad news but manageable. Depending on the amount of beetles (and it will likely go up if not managed), you can pick off the individual beetles and drown them in soapy water (wear gloves, please!), or spray a large infestation with pyrethrin spray. We have a concentrate that will help with this and many other infestations during the season. Spinosad is our organic solution to this problem, and it will not only handle beetle infestations but also fire ant and caterpillar issues. Another common problem in Durango gardens is the aphid, who should be making an appearance soon. We have ladybugs that love to feed on the aphids, and you can buy a bag to release in your garden.

Our season is short and challenging, so you will see marked improvements in vegetable output if you fertilize well and often. A well rounded fertilizer will probably work best at this point, as you are likely trying to grow the plant larger and stronger, as well as strengthen roots and bring on flower buds that will turn into happy veggies soon. If your plants are growing fine, you might want to get a bloom-heavy fertilizer like Big Bloom, that will really help bring about the most flower buds possible. More flowers in June/July mean more fruits and veggies in August!
Share with us what has been happening with your garden! If you have some unknown pest, feel free to bring us a closed baggie or jar filled with the buggers and we can find the right treatment for you. Same goes for leaf problems. And share with us your glories and stories, too! We love to hear how your garden is growing.

About Native Roots Garden Center

Native Roots Garden Center has been helping people with their gardens and landscapes since 2004. Our experienced staff can help you select the right plants for your project from the thousands of varieties we carry, most of which we grow ourselves in Bayfield and Durango. We are a complete, year round garden center that prides itself on plant quality, customer service, and horticultural experience.

The Health Benefits of Houseplants

According to the American Society of Horticultural Science, the quality of air indoors is quickly becoming an important health concern, “particularly in the United States and other developed countries where people may spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors.” The good news is there is an easy and decorative way to influence our indoor air quality- houseplants. Houseplants do more than look good in your home or office; they are busy filtering our air. In addition to tending to their own needs, plants offer us a lot of benefits too. Wondering about incorporating plants into your home or office? Native Roots in Durango, Colorado is here to give you the scoop on the benefits of houseplants!

Houseplants Help Clean the Air

Without realizing it, humans and plants are breathing together. Every time we take a breath in we inhale oxygen, and when we exhale, we release carbon dioxide. Plants do the opposite; they absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. This is a relationship that makes us and plants great partners. NASA has even noticed this relationship between plants and people. Because of their air purifying benefits, NASA produced its very own study into the matter with hopes of incorporating houseplants into space stations. Calling it the Clean Air Study, NASA found in its results that “certain common indoor plants may provide a natural way of removing toxic agents such as benzene, formaldehyde and trichloroethylene from the air.” According to their study, you don’t even need a ton of plants in your home or office to benefit from their air purifying qualities. “NASA researchers suggest efficient air cleaning is accomplished with at least one plant per 100 square feet of home or office space.” So if you live in a 500 square foot home, you only need 5 plants to purify your air. That’s pretty easy!

Houseplants make you Happy- and Productive!

Chores and work are hard enough as it is! Researchers are finding that adding a few plants to your home and office might make hard work a little easier, and more relaxing. According to the American Horticultural Therapy Association, houseplants offer cognitive, psychological, and social benefits like increased self-esteem, and a reduction in stress, anxiety, and depression. The AHTA also found that keeping plants indoors helps improve attention and concentration. The University of Michigan further found that having plants around while studying or working might increase memory retention by 20%. Another study performed by Texas A&M found that “work performed under the natural influence of ornamental plants is normally of higher quality and completed with a much higher accuracy rate than work done in environments devoid of nature.” In short, there are a lot of benefits to adding a few houseplants to your home or office, far beyond the fact that they are pleasant to look at!

How to Start Your Garden

Now that spring is almost here, it’s time to start your garden! Sadly, starting a garden is not quite as simple as throwing the seeds down. Depending on what geographical region you live in, and what vegetables you plan to grow, you’ll have to make a plan to start the seeds and determine when to plant them. Native Roots in Durango, Colorado is here to help!

Know your Zone!

Steve Albert from Harvest to Table put’s it best, “The time for sowing depends on where you live. What to plant depends upon the season and weather.” So, to have a successful garden, you must determine the best time to plant based off of your climate. Furthermore, to grow happy vegetables, you’ll have to pay attention to what time of the season to plant them. For example, squash grows best when planted later in the season when it’s warmer, whereas broccoli is a bit tougher and can handle being planted early in the season. In order to determine when to start your growing process, you’ll have to approximate which planting zone you are in. Zones are determined by first and last frosts of the year. Here in Durango, Colorado, we live in Zone 5 which means that our last freeze will be around May 15th, and our first freeze will be around October 15th. This acts as a guide to help you schedule your growing season, and will ensure that you get the most out of your garden.

But you don’t have to wait for the planting season to start growing vegetables. Once you’ve established your growing period based on where you live, you’ll need to sort your seeds according to which part of the season they need to be planted in. You can start your seeds indoors to get a jump-start on growing your garden.

When it comes to growing vegetables, there are two types of groups: cool and warm season vegetables crops.

Cool Season

What exactly are cool season crops? Cool season crops are plants that have adapted to cold climates, so they actually prefer cooler weather. If cool season crops are planted in warmer temperatures, they can potentially grow to be too woody or bitter to eat. Steve Albert explains, “Cool-season crops should be planted so that they mature when the weather is cool, either in spring or early summer or in autumn or winter.” This means that cool season crops will be ready to harvest when the weather is still cold outside, or about 40°F. These make great for a great early start to your garden because they can be planted early in the spring, or late in the summer for a fall harvest before winter comes. Consider planting them in the shade if you plan to start any cool season crops towards the end of summer. Get some of these started now to kick off your garden!

  • Cabbage

  • Carrots

  • Broccoli

  • Spinach

  • Onions

  • Radishes

  • Peas

  • Lettuce

Warm Season

Warm season crops are plants that have adapted to a climate that is warmer. Because of their dependence on hotter temperatures, they are very sensitive to frost and should only be planted after the last predicted frost has occurred in spring. If warm season vegetables are planted while temperatures are still below about 50°F, they will not grow well until the soil is warmer. Plant these after the last frost!

  • Tomatoes

  • Peppers

  • Eggplant

  • Watermelon

  • Squash

  • Beans

  • Sweet corn

Starting Seeds Indoors

You don’t have to wait to start your garden! Getting a start on sprouting your seeds is a great way to set your garden up for success. For a foolproof way to start your seeds indoors, check out the Old Farmers Almanac.

Have more questions?

Stop by Native Roots any time to talk gardening tips, get supplies, and meet the cat, Guido! To learn more about gardening tips and techniques, keep an eye out for upcoming gardening classes. All classes are free and open to the public. Stop by or visit the website to discover more!

10 Easy-to-Grow Houseplants

Living in Durango, CO comes with many benefits. We are able to enjoy a variety of outdoor activities all year round, whether it’s mountain biking in the summer or skiing in the winter. However, this lifestyle can come at the sacrifice of other hobbies that we might enjoy. One of these is being able to garden outside year-round. Luckily, however, we can satisfy our green thumbs with indoor plants. The following ten indoor plants are some of the easier plants to care for. So whether you’re a new gardener who’s getting their feet wet for the first time, or just busy with obligations outside of your home, you’re sure to success when it comes to these plants.

1. Pothos

Pothos can thrive in an array of lighting conditions and room temperatures, making them especially easy to grow indoors. You will want the soil to dry somewhat between waterings so you don’t drown the plant. Because this houseplant does so well in a variety of conditions, the stems can trail eight feet or longer. You will simply want to trim them when they get too long. Your plant will continue to look full and healthy, even if after trimming it. Possibly the greatest thing about this plant is that it has an air-purifying quality that is able to absorb and strip toxins, such as formaldehyde, that live in materials in your home

2. Aloe

Aloe is a succulent that contains medicinal properties in its long and pointed leaves. In addition to the medicinal properties, aloe is easy to care for. Since it’s a succulent, it prefers dry soil. It’s best to avoid frequent watering to help it thrive. Also, try to keep it in a lot of sunlight in room temperatures around 70 degrees.

3. English Ivy

English Ivy likes moist soil and room temperatures ranging between 50 and 70 degrees. The great benefit of this plant is that it is easy to start a new plant by simply cutting a section of the stem and re-planting it. This can make for a thoughtful and easy present.

4. Rubber Tree

If you’re looking for a larger plant in your home, a rubber tree makes the perfect candidate. These plants can grow up to eight-feet-high, but can be pruned to maintain a smaller shrub shape. To do this, just prune any long stems. When it comes to watering, rubber trees thrive when the soil dries out in between watering. The plant prefers medium to bright conditions and a room temperature between 60 and 80 degrees.

5. Peace Lily

These plants are simple and elegant looking in addition to being easy to care for. Peace lilies favor low humid conditions, making them a great plant for the arid climate of Colorado. They also prefer low light, so try and keep them in a room with few windows. Finally, these plants thrive with moist soil throughout the pot and can stand room temperatures up to 85 degrees.

6. Snake Plant

This is quite possibly the easiest houseplant to care for. It thrives in a wide range of lighting conditions and room temperatures. It does prefer drier air and soil, making it a great houseplant for Durango. The leaves on this plant will grow upright and has small white flowers that bloom on rare occasions.

7. Spider Plant

Spider plants can be a great conversation starter with their long and narrow leaves. To grow these, look to have evenly moist soil in their pot in a room with medium to bright lighting conditions. To help them thrive, try to maintain a room temperature between 60 and 75 degrees.

8. Areca Palm

This plant can help you dream of being on a tropical beach during the long and cold winters in Durango. They can grow to roughly seven feet high, which can help bring a beautiful and decorative touch to tie any room together. If you don’t want the plant to grow that high, simply keep the plant in a smaller pot to keep it contained.

To care for this plant, keep it in indirect light and water it every other week. It prefers a somewhat dry soil.

9. Heart-Leaf Philodendron

This houseplant is very low maintenance when it comes to care. It does well in a wide range of lighting conditions, but just try to keep it in indirect light. Allow the surface of the soil to dry between watering, as it does not like to be constantly wet. This will help it grow into a plant with trailing stems with heart-shaped leaves.

10. Jade Plant

Jade plants are easy to care for. Try to keep the soil somewhat dry, as they do not require a lot of water. They also prefer bright light and normal room temperatures. By following these instructions, you can grow this elegant looking succulent with lush leaves and beautiful branches.

For more information or tips on growing indoor plants, speak to a knowledgeable staff member at Native Roots Garden Center today. Happy growing!

Fall Soil Building with Native Roots Compost

Native Roots and Durango Compost have teamed up and now offer locally made composted mulch. Crafted with Durango’s soil conditions in mind, this composted mulch offers a balanced level of organic material that will improve any soil. As the saying goes, ‘happy soil makes for happy plants.’

Removes two items from the waste stream- wood waste and beer mash.

Locally made

Manure free

2% nitrogen & slightly acidic (soil analysis available)

Planning Your Garden

If you are planning your first garden there are many elements to consider:

Test your soil before you plant so amendments can be added before you plant. You can have your soil tested any time during the year. Go to the extension office at 2500 Main Ave. (Fairgrounds). They have bags for your soil with instructions printed on the bag. You collect soil in the bag and mail it to the address given on the bag. There is an 800 number on the bag if you have any questions. The cost per bag runs about $28.

We carry organic products to amend your soil and will be happy to help you choose the products you need. (go to the Soil Amendment page for more info on what we carry)

The next step is to decided what you want to plant and designate the areas in your garden. Plant sun-living plants such as corn, tomatoes, peppers etc. where they will have full sun. Cool-temperature plants such as your salad greens and cabbage family can take some shade. Salad greens and the cabbage family can be planted early in the season. Tomatoes and peppers are subject to early freezes and need protection such as water-walls if they are planted before June. Next you need to decide which to plant from seed and which to are grown from plants. Directions are found on seed packs which will give you all the information as to when, where and how deep to plant seeds and whether they should be started indoors.

Other ideas to consider for your garden are:

Companion planting: Companion plants provide natural pest control, others live happily together and some plants need to be kept away from each other.

Flowers in your garden add beauty and act as a natural pest control. Plant marigolds throughout your garden and with beans to keep the bean beetles away. Other plants attract beneficial insects. Black-eyed susans and asters attract hover-flies and lacewings which eat aphids. Sunflowers attract pirate bugs which dine on white flies. You can purchase ladybugs and lacewings at Native Roots. Release these in your garden.

Edible flowers are the new rage in haute cuisine as proclaims. Once you have all the zucchini you can eat, feel free to eat the blossoms. This site has a chart of edible flowers, their flavor, and how they are used. When harvesting flowers be sure of your identification, do not use flowers that have been sprayed with a pesticide, and if you are allergy-prone, it’s probably best to forego consumption of flowers.

Check out our herbs & vegetables. Our herbs and vegetables are grown pesticide-free at our nursery in Bayfield.