We can plant four months from today!

tomatoesGardening in Colorado is a tough job. We can't plant until mid-May due to frost, plants may be hailed out in June and it could snow in September. Still, we plant, water, weed and hold out to savor the early spring lettuce and that first ripe tomato!

Now that we've turned the corner into 2018, we are in the countdown to planting time. Even on a snowy day in January, we can prepare to garden.

Strategic moves
#1 - Plan and rotate. 
If you drew a map of where veggies were planted last year, adjust this year's planting plan to provide for crop rotation. Placing tomatoes and other annual veggies in different locations helps curb insect and disease problems that may linger in the soil.

Did you know that rotating annual flowers is also a key to thriving petunias and other flowers? If you like hot pink flowers in the same place, plant geraniums this year where you had pink petunias last year.

#2 - Order seeds soon. 
Popular varieties and new introductions sell out fast. It's not too soon to get online and place your order. For most home gardens, one or two seed packets per variety are enough for the season. Buy more for early spring crops you will replant at the end of the season for harvesting in the fall. These include leafy greens, radishes, bok choy, carrots, beets, and peas.

#3 - Clean-up and compost.
If debris still lingers in the garden from last growing season, do the clean-up. In spite of cold temps, that debris can still harbor insects and diseases you won't want to deal with when plants start to grow.

Also apply compost soon if you did not apply in the fall. If you have time to till it in, do so. If not, sling it over the snow and it will still do its job to break down and create soil ripe with microbial activity.

Compost does not provide nutrients for the soil, but it develops soil quality by improving its capacity to hold on to water and nutrients. It is a key ingredient to establish a healthy, low-water lawn and for all the other plants in your landscape.

Buy 1 cubic yard of compost per 100 square feet of area. When you shop for compost, look for one that is well aged, low in salt and has little or no fillers.

Plant Select

Spring will be here before you know it! Start your spring wish list by perusing plants developed by Plant Select.

Need help with your landscape? Find a Pro who has the design skills and equipment to create your vision safely and efficiently by searching Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado with members in six chapters statewide.

 
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