Sage & Snow Garden Club – March newsletter
by Sage & Snow Garden Club
March 17, 2012
Flora is ready for spring. We know that our growing season in Sublette County is pretty darn short, so Flora has gathered some information about how to extend the growing season. .
I just moved here and would love to meet other gardeners. How can I accomplish that?
Signed, How 2 Grow
The Garden Club meets the third Tuesday in the month, so the next meeting will be March 20. We get together at the Sublette County Weed & Pest Office at 12 South Bench Road, Pinedale (307-367-4728). Social time starts at 4:30 P.M., followed by a short business session at 5:00 P.M. To find out more about the Garden Club, go to our website at www.sageandsnow.org.
Is there an inexpensive way for me to keep a garden producing longer?
Signed, Never Give Up
You might consider a cold frame made from scrap lumber or hay bales covered with old window sashes. They're called "cold" because they have no internal heat source, being warmed by the sun. Both cool season vegetables and flowers can be grown early in the season using this method as well as into the winter. Be sure to vent the cold frame, manually or automatically, to avoid "cooking" the plants on sunny days.
I have a greenhouse, but find it gets so hot during the summer that many of the plants wilt or die. Any ideas on how to prevent this from happening?
Signed, Heat Exhausted
An inexpensive way to combat overheating is to install a mister system on a timer and have it come on frequently during the day. Mister tubes can be placed anywhere throughout your planting areas including along ceiling supports.
I love to grow some easy vegetables in my garden during the summer, however I am frustrated when the first frosts or snow come often in late August or early September which kill off some of my vegetables and then we get some more warm weather. Do you have any suggestions on how I should protect some of the very frost tender vegetables?
Signed, Chilled Out
One of the joys or challenges of gardening in Sublette County is that we never really know when we will have the last frost in June or the first frost/snow in August/ September. It is always wise to choose seeds or plants which mature quickly. For the slower maturing vegetables, start the seed indoors and then plant out in mid June (make sure you keep a very close eye on the weather). Local gardeners extend the growing season for vegetables by covering plants at night when there are the first frost warning. Popular options are small tunnel houses which will fit over the plants, cloches or even a frost cloth which will protect your plants in most cases so that the vegetables will have enough time to ripen during the month of September.
What can I do in my greenhouse to avoid getting diseases and bug infestations while I am prepping for planting?
Signed: Addy Vance
A good way to start with a clean greenhouse is to clear out old plant debris. You can also let the air circulate through the greenhouse for about a week to freeze out any of the warmer "bugs". I also think it is a good idea to wash the walls of the greenhouse with some sort of disinfectant. I use a capful of bleach in a bucket of water to clean mine. I also like to spray neem oil in the greenhouse right before planting. Neem oil is a natural spray that will detract a lot of insect pests as well as some fungicidal pests.
Sometimes store bought plants bring with them pests such as aphids and mites. Is there any way to not get bugged?
Signed: Itching For A Cure
The only guaranteed way is to start your own plants from seed and control the environment in which they live. Of course, this is not always possible so careful inspection at the time of purchase is a must!
I want to build a greenhouse so that I can grow more vegetables here in Pinedale. Should I build it out of wood, pvc, or steel?
Signed, Matt E. Rials
The type of construction materials you use can significantly change the cost of your greenhouse. It is recommended that you start with something inexpensive and relatively small in order to ensure your gardening desire. A wooden greenhouse or a pvc and plastic hoophouse can really do wonders for extending your growing season, while not forcing you to take out another mortgage. If you are rooted here (forgive the pun) and have the dough, a steel frame greenhouse kit will be your best long-term investment. A good word of advice in regards to our particular weather situation is to not worry so much as to what is going to hold the greenhouse up, but rather, what is going to hold it down!
I see there are many types of hoop and greenhouse structures out there. Are there any features I should look for?
Signed: Too Many Choices
Wood deteriorates when exposed to our weather elements, so something made of metal or robust poly carbon is best. A high profile must be strong enough to combat the prevailing and gusting winds. Don't overlook the use of rocks, a natural material that is in abundance. Larger rocks can form a foundation and smaller rocks can make a good floor material that can be sprayed to cool and create humidity inside the growing area.
I really love growing lettuce, but it seems to get bitter in the summer. What am I doing wrong?
You aren't necessarily doing anything wrong. What may help you out is for you plant only some of the lettuce when the time is right, then plant another batch two weeks later, and continue this planting scheme until you run out of space or seeds! What this will do is ensure that you will have young, sweet lettuce all growing season.
My neighbor and I have an ongoing gardening contest to see who can have something to eat from the garden the earliest in the season. What can I do to win?
Signed, Victor Spoils
I suggest you plant vegetables that will withstand hard frost and can be planted or transplanted six to eight weeks before the average last frost date. Some of these include asparagus, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, garlic, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, lettuce, onions, parsley, peas, radishes, rhubarb, rutabaga, spinach, and turnips. Additionally, some crops will not be damaged by light frost and can be planted two to four weeks before the last frost date. They are beets, carrots, cauliflower, chard, endive, parsnip, potatoes, and salsify. Be sure to choose early varieties listed for Northern gardens or for cold climates because these grow and produce quickly.