Extension staff to be busy in 2010

Many seminars and symposiums on growing plants and vegetables will be offered by the CSU Extension office in 2010.

This year is going to be another busy year for your local Colorado State University Extension staff. Even with Landscapes West canceled for 2010, there are still numerous workshops and training sessions planned and in the planning stage.

The two-day Tamarisk Symposium ended on Jan. 6.  A joint project between the Tamarisk Coalition and CSU Extension, this project attracted over 200 participants from throughout the western United States. On Jan. 7, the Master Gardener Program began its 11-week training series. The MG program takes Susan Rose, CSU Horticulture Educator, and me out of the office every Thursday through March 25.

In February, I’ll be teaching at ProGreen Expo in Denver.  This is the Rocky Mountain region’s largest professional ‘Green Industry’ educational program.  In mid-February our three-day Pesticide Applicator Training program begins.  The latter program is designed for anyone who currently holds a private or commercial pesticide applicator license. This program will provide all of the Continuing Education Units required for these applicators to retain their licenses.

February is also the start of a new series of workshops on vegetable gardening being coordinated with the Mesa County Library District.  This series will start with “Getting the most out of your vegetable garden” on Friday, Feb. 12. This session will cover the following: designing your garden, selecting the proper plants, plant spacing and plant yield, raised beds vs. conventional systems, irrigation systems, when to start transplants, and cool and warm-season vegetables and planting times.

The session on Friday, Feb. 19, “Starting transplants and growing under lights” will cover how and when to start transplants and include a hands-on exercise. Specifics will be provided to ensure your transplants are started at the proper time based on the average last spring frost-free date.  Techniques for growing under lights will be demonstrated to include lighting systems, height requirements above plants, and length of time lights should be used. Watering, fertilizing and hardening-off transplants will be covered.

Additional sessions will cover “Soil preparation for maximum vegetable production” and “Maintaining the vegetable garden.” The soil prep session will cover soil preparation, compost and other soil amendments, depth of soil preparation, vegetable fertilizer needs, how to test your soil, and interpreting your soil test report. Raised bed and square foot gardening will be emphasized. Problems such as hard pans and salty soil will be discussed.  Participants should consider bringing a soil sample (1/2 pint) to this session so their soil can be tested for salts.

This session on garden maintenance will help you prepare for the growing season.  Insect, weed and disease control (providing specifics on synthetic and natural products available and their use) will be covered. When and how to water based on the stage of plant growth and plant needs as well as when to fertilize and what fertilizer to use to ensure you achieve maximum production will be covered in this session.

Information on registration and times for the library sessions will be added to the library web site at http://www.mcpld.org soon. Attendance at the library sessions is limited so be sure to sign up as soon as registration information is available. If there is more interest in these sessions than space allows we’ll try to conduct additional sessions.

Info on these as well as other local educational sessions of Colorado State University Extension will be posted at my web site http://WesternSlopeGardening.org.

Dr. Curtis Swift is the Area Horticulture Agent for the CSU Extension’s Tri-River Area office. He also oversees the Master Gardner program. Dr. Swift can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or by phone at 244-1840.


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