Another spring snow storm is on its way – making those days of 70-degree temperatures just last week seem like a distant memory.
Some people have already jumped into their spring planting – despite the old advice about waiting until Mother’s Day.
That’s why we had Photojournalist Mike Grady talk to an expert about what you should keep in mind with your garden ahead of the latest storm.
Trela Phelps, the general manager of City Floral, answered 9 of your biggest questions.
What do I need to pay attention to this time of year?
I think you really need to be paying attention to the weather. The nighttime lows is what’s key for us, and so if we get a blanket of snow, that actual insulates plants, but if we get freezing temperatures and no snow, that’s really when we take a hard hit.
And also if things are dry. So, things can take a freeze much better if they’ve been watered than if they’re dry.
How do I protect my plants from the snow?
We recommend taking buckets and tipping those upside down over the flowers.
The last storm, I actually used my lawn chairs and tipped them upside down. So anything you can do then to give them a little coverage.
Should I cover my plants, or bring them inside?
We say yes, especially the next couple of nights.
Anytime it’s going to go under 35 for hardy-type material, like the stuff that’s perennial going up in the garden, then you probably want to cover. Any other unusual vegetables, things like that, they really don’t like it under 40, so we would suggest you bring them in.
What is safe to plant this time of year?
The cool weather ones, annuals like pansies, violas, kale stock, we try to put anything outside as safe, anything that’s in the greenhouse under glass as not safe, that’s our rule.
Is just before a storm a good time to fertilize?
For your lawn, it’s an excellent time to it, especially because most of us have mowed the lawn now.
That’s when the plants really start growing, so if you can throw some lawn down before the moisture come in, you don’t have to use the hose or turn on the sprinkler system.
How short do I cut my grass?
The key is never to cut your grass too short, because what you want to do is not stretch the plant by any means, and the longer you can do it, it actually keeps the root cooler, and helps on water retention and so forth.
I wouldn’t adjust my settings – I normally cut it on the higher side and leave it that way.
I’m new to Colorado. What should I be aware of?
The dryness of course, but also altitude. I mean a lot of things, they can grow in the sun other places, they just don’t really adapt well here. And with the humidity that’s another issue.
So it’s a different kind of gardening, but we can still have those gorgeous, gorgeous plantings and so forth.
Can I garden in my apartment?
Absolutely, yeah we love that. Because we’re right here in the city, we’ve got all sorts of unique gardening experiences, you know high-rises, apartment buildings, all that kind of stuff.
So normally, those folks like to grow something edible, and we can show you all different types of things that you can do. Even on small spaces, small gardens, even a balcony or just a sunny window.
It’s not working! Who can help?
There’s a whole group of garden centers that are independently owned and operated, and they’ve been in busy for a long time. So if you need help, they can usually refer you to a gardener. They can come out to your home and either give you some ideas or actually do it for you.
If you’ve lived in Colorado for just even a short while, you’ll know this is pretty typical spring weather. As long as you’re prepared to do the due diligence of running out there, putting a blanket over things then go ahead and take the risk, but otherwise, I would wait.
Patience is always a virtue, and that’s the way it is in gardening too.