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Local advice is the best advice

By Penny Stine

As the person whose name is the contact for this blog, I get all kinds of e-mails from people and companies who would like us to feature their products or services on our blog. Usually, I ignore them, as I'm more interested in posting pictures of tiny tomatoes than plugging someone's pest control solutions.
I got something the other day, however, from somebody trying to sell something and here is a sample of their e-mail: "Spring is here!  And so begins another year of planning and planting.  For others, it means self-picking of peaches in June, strawberries in July, and apples in September on farms across the country. "
Seriously, has this person ever grown peaches, strawberries or apples? Maybe somewhere else, but probably not here. Although local orchards are getting earlier and earlier varieties of peaches, I don't think anyone has a variety that's ready to pick by June. And I don't know about you, but the strawberries in my yard are usually done by July - even the Glenwood Springs Strawberry Days are held in June.
As for apples, although some might be ready by September, some of the best local apples aren't available until October.
That's why it's important to go to local sources for gardening advice and plants. Don't buy plants that won't like our soils, our weather and our growing zone because you'll just be disappointed that you can't grow blueberries like the ones you had in Michigan.
Ask the professionals at the local nurseries, not the big box stores or even online sites and blogs (yes, I get the irony... THIS is a blog!). So if you do read a lot of blogs, pay attention to where the blogger lives - if a blogger writes how easy it is to grow lettuce in Colorado, but she lives at 9,000 feet, understand that your experience won't be the same.

Most of the local pros at local nurseries are in the business because they're passionate and knowledgeable about gardening and horticulture, not because the paint department was slow and they had to help out in the garden area.

And if you hate to ask when you're not planning on buying anything, you can always call the master gardening desk at the CSU extension office! The number for Mesa County is 244-1836.

Joan Clark, pictured above, has been a master gardener for seven years. She moved here from the Front Range several years ago and discovered that what she knew about gardening in the Front Range didn't necessarily apply to our  weird micro-climate and challenges, so she took a lot of the master gardening classes over again. 


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