Sage & Snow Garden Club Tips for growing in Wyoming
by Sage & Snow Garden Club
June 8, 2006
Dig It!"We have a 60 day growing season, just depends on what 60 days we get each year."
Gardening season is here and we want to share some ideas to try for the summer. The variety of plants at the Home and Garden Show tempted all of us to try some new plants and ideas for our summer season. Just be aware of starting too big a project given the other summer activities such as camping and weekend sports. So start with a small or portable project.
Enjoying gardening success is a combination of considering the strengths of our area such as: lots of sun, long days, cool weather, less wind in summer, long Indian summer weather, few garden insects or mildew problems. Also we have to consider the challenges of our area such as: we live in a Zone 3 growing classification (zone 2 to 4), short season, lots of rocks and little soil, dust, deer, rabbits, early frosts, wind, cold, altitude, pets in yard, other summer interests (camping, sports& company), alkaline soil, pH of well water, wide daily temperature fluctuations, lots of UV light and an extended warm fall, so be sure to water trees and shrubs late into the fall.
Look for established landscaping projects to help develop you own ideas. If you are new to the area, now is a good time to walk around the older streets of Pinedale and notice the shrubs and flowers in established yards. Honeysuckles, oriental poppies and Icelandic poppies are starting to flower. The Bank of Pinedale on Pine Street features a mixture of evergreen and deciduous shrubs that add texture and color to the landscaping in a small area plus beautiful fall colors. Experiment with a variety of hardy perennials, annuals and new flowers each year. Re-seeders include California poppies, Icelandic poppies, snapdragons, and some violas such as Johnny jump-ups.
Shrubs are a good way to fill in bare spots in your yard and provide a screen from road traffic or as a living snow fence in the winter to reduce the snow drifts in your driveway. Many shrubs such as Red Osier Dogwood and Chokecherry are hardy, tolerate browsing by animals, and add fall color to any yard. Consider buying from local nurseries in the area that carry plants suitable to this climate and growing season to ensure success for your efforts. Remember to fence shrubs in fall from deer and rabbit browsing and to water frequently.
Experiment with gardening in containers this summer. Container gardens can be an efficient and colorful way to enjoy flowers and vegetables during the busy summer season without overwhelming oneself with yard work. Also containers are easier for small children or elderly adults to work with as they are up off the ground surface and can be moved around a yard with a small dolly. You can use all types of containers, with drainage, for gardening and then have the ease of emptying them out and stacking them away during the winter. You can get pots from nurseries or even paint an ugly bucket or cover it with contact shelf paper in bright colors.
Use pots that are deep enough to hold enough soil and not require daily watering. Earth boxes or similar systems with a self watering water reservoir are handy as you can empty them at seasonís end and store the containers till next year. Decide on containers in a few areas around your house or yard that will brighten up an area and also provide some fresh vegetables. You can grow peas and beans on a trellis or bamboo pole tepee in a pot. An inexpensive frame of a tomato wire cage and chicken wire wrap provide support for vines and can be easily stored in winter. Tomatoes also do well in big containers, just water deeply and not on the leaves; they need a warm sunny area to flower and fruit, so see if there is a south or west facing side of your house that will support a couple pots of tomatoes. Tomato starts from a nursery are a good way to get going this season.
Encourage children to garden with you and to grow some easy vegetables. Lettuce, peas, beans, spinach, chard and carrots are healthy snacks, and can be grown in pots or small beds. Lettuce germinates easily. Soak pea seeds overnight before planting to hasten germination. If your kids like to draw and color, plant colorful mixed colors of pansies or petunias and encourage them in art projects as they watch the flowers develop and bloom.
Try growing potatoes in wide deep pots this summer. Yukon Gold and small red potatoes do well in pots here and are easy to handle. Use a large wide and deep pot with drainage (some people are successful with stacks of tires for their potato beds) and fill 1/3 with dirt, plant some potato sections that have eyes or green sprouts and cover with dirt. As the plants grow up to 3 to 5 inches tall, cover with more mulch, compost or dirt as the new potatoes will sprout off the main plant stem that continues to grow upward. When the plants die back after a frost, simply dump the pot over and harvest the new potatoes. It takes about two months to get new potatoes so there is still time to start potato pots now.
Keep a record of your garden success and failures over the summers to share with others. A disposable camera, an informal journal, a listing of seeds and sources, a max-min thermometer and comments from experienced gardeners are all helpful resources to enhance your gardening success and inspiration during the winter when planning next yearís garden. Take photos of gardens you admire or plants you want to try in following summers. Enjoy yourself as you learn to garden in the Pinedale area.
For more information, contact the Sage and Snow Garden Club at firstname.lastname@example.org or 859-8606.