Home / World News / It’s warm enough in the fourth week of May to start thinking about planting tomatoes – The Denver Post

It’s warm enough in the fourth week of May to start thinking about planting tomatoes – The Denver Post

It seems like the final spring frost may be behind us (fingers crossed). That means it is OK to plant hardened-off warm-season ornamental annuals and tomatoes outside when nights are consistently above 50 degrees.

In the landscape

• Spring planting conditions are ideal with cooler temperatures. However, use care and avoid planting in wet soil. Digging in soggy soil impairs soil structure making it more difficult to plant when it finally dries out. Keep your new plants and vegetables in a part sun, sheltered location and water them often until the landscape soil dries out. Check out my Denver Post video: Flopping plants.

• Spring moisture brings mushroom growth in lawns and mulch. Remove and dispose of these little fungi forms to prevent kids and dogs from coming in contact. Never consume them.

• Dead patches in lawns could be mite damage from the dry winter (especially on south and west facing lawns). If areas are not greening up, rake out the dead grass, loosen up the soil, mix in some compost, then spread new grass seed and keep it moist. Re-sodding large areas is also an option.

Early pest

• The most common pest insect in Colorado gardens have arrived – aphids. These small, pear-shaped pests range in many colors from green to red. Their specialty is sucking plant juices on the new or existing growth of trees, shrubs and ornamental plants. Ants like to be near aphids to use their sweet honeydew “poo.” Large numbers and long feeding by aphids may cause loss of plant vigor, wilting, leaf curl and tip dieback. There are many “good guy” beneficial insects that eat aphids like candy including lady beetles (commonly called ladybugs) and their larvae, parasitic wasps, green lace wing and flower fly larvae. Try to minimize chemical spraying, which gives the beneficial insects time to show up to start aphid dining. You can also simply use a strong spray of water to dislodge aphids, repeat often.

Vertical gardening

• Gardening upward started as a trend and is now mainstream. It may be the best option if you’re gardening in small areas or want to add interest or maximize an otherwise boring wall or space.

• Choose your system. There are two main types: a trellis that plants can adhere and grow upward, or a shelf structure that holds containers, trays or boxes for the plants to grow. Both types can be purchased in garden centers or online. They can also be built at home with repurposed wood, containers and all your other creative ideas.

• First, trellises. The choices of decorative trellises, obelisks, tepees and arches are many and available in metal, wood or composite materials. If you’re showing off the structure, make it taller or wider than the eventual height of the plant.

•  Match the trellis or climbing structure with how the plant climbs — tendrils, twiners or cane growers.

• Stem or leaf tendrils, like Boston ivy, sweet pea and morning glory, will grow and reach around until a support is found. Spacing should be 4 inches or less for tendrils to grab so use chicken wire, netting, hardware cloth or chain-link fencing attached to a wood or composite trellis or attached directly to a fence.

• Twiners, like clematis, morning glory and mandevilla, prefer vertical structures to wrap around. Fan-shaped or straight-up trellises can be wider spaced.

• Cane growers, like roses and blackberries, have flexible canes that will fall over if not supported. Use solid structures or thick wires for the stems to lean on and use twine, garden ties, plastic fasteners or old nylons to tie and train.

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