CO-Horts

CO-Horts

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Fall is here! A Re-cap of the Season from Colorado's Western Slope

Posted by: Susan Carter, Tri River Area Extension horticulture agent

Mr. Eggplant from the garden
Fall is here. Sometimes I wonder where times goes.  In review, it was a great long season on the western slope and particularly the Grand Valley for the garden.  The Master Gardeners in the Tri River Area installed a vegetable garden that kept on giving. We just removed the tomato plants on November 1st. Many vegetables were shared by staff and Master Gardeners, given to the Food Bank, and of course you could catch our Director out eating a tomato for a snack. The tomato viruses that plagued us in 2014 were much less in 2015. 

In the commercial trade, a better spring actually produced a cherry crop.  Peach thinning was assisted by frost, producing large juicy peaches this year. And apples were very abundant.  Only an area in Delta County had some losses due to cold. My personal Fuji tree   
Granny Smith apples
was so loaded, we had to install supports. I did not thin nearly enough, lesson learned.  My granny smiths were perfect, large crunchy tart apples. My husband also has a degree in Horticulture and took care of the frequent spraying for codling moth. If you have an apple tree, you have to do some kind of preventative spraying or the bugs will win and get the apples. There is a great Fact Sheet on apple care from CSU Extension.

We had several very successful festivals. If you live on the Front Range, come and visit the Lavender Festival, Peach Festival or Wine Festival. All three crops did well this year. 

We are watching some new insects that have arrived including the spotted wing drosophila, several aphids, one on Zelkova trees and one on wheat, and grape seed chalcid.

Pumpkins also did well on the western slope. My kids and I went to a local patch and came home with four different colors. We'll plant in spring for next year’s crop. There were minimal problems with the pumpkin crop. One was the weather was so warm close to Halloween, spoilage was a concern and the other main issue was powdery mildew from all the rain.  The spring rains also brought issues on some ornamental plants. Plants in the rose family like crabapples and ornamental pears had fire blight. Typically this issue is seen on the front range but not on the western slope.  We took the prune and wait method.  When is the weather ever the same year after year in Colorado?
Gorgeous pumpkins!

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