Diane Prather: Farmers at heart

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Diane Prather

This time of year, most of us are farmers at heart.

It doesn’t matter what we plant, where we plant it, or the size of the planting area.

We just like to garden.

We enjoy getting our hands in the soil, planting seeds, and watching the tiny leaves pop through the ground.

We like to browse through the bedding plants at nurseries and garden centers, too, selecting colors that go together for flower beds and pots.

We gardeners like to pick flowers that produce blossoms that last all summer.

We select plants of various heights for our patio plants and hanging baskets.

As we study the vegetable plants, we can envision a harvest season with plump tomatoes hanging thick on the vines, fat cabbages ready for the picking, and big orange pumpkins.

Oh, what to buy? We’re farmers at heart, indeed.

Here in Northwest Colorado, you know it’s gardening season when:

• Everyone drags out their hoses, spades, rakes, hoes, cultivators/tillers, and other garden tools.

• The “sprinkler heads” for the hoses have to be hunted up.

• The family has to eat somewhere other than the kitchen table because it’s full of bedding plants, waiting until the danger of frost is gone so they can be set out.

• The busiest places in town are the nurseries and garden centers.

• Conversations between neighbors focus on the dry weather and frost.

• Seeds for cold weather plants, such as onions, carrots, and lettuce are put in the ground early in the season.

• Gardeners get in a hurry when planting green beans and corn, knowing full well that it will frost as soon as the plants come up.

• "Walls of Water” appear in garden plots.

• Garden rows have to be kept damp enough so that plants can get through the soil.

• Everyone’s trying to guess the last frost date.

• People go from nursery to nursery hunting for bedding plants that are hard to find, depending on the year.

• Dried-up blossoms are cut off tulip and iris plants, and the locations of tulips are marked so they can be found in the fall.

• Pieces of wood and coffee cans are seen in gardens where they have been used to protect tender plants from hot winds.

• Started plants are brought out of residents’ greenhouses.

• The favorite time of day for some people is early morning, when the garden is checked for plants that are coming up.

• Rhubarb is pulled so that it won’t start going to seed.

• There’s a daily watering of potted flowers.

• Gardeners hope for a season when ladybugs and bees are plentiful.

• Stakes are put up for climbing beans and tomatoes.

• Seed potatoes are cut into pieces, each with an eye, for planting.

• Gardeners can hardly wait to see the results of planting new varieties of seeds.

• People share ideas as to how to keep deer from eating their plants.

• Strawberry plant runners are cut off so the plants will produce bigger berries.

• Everybody’s trying to get a head start on the weeds.

• Gardeners are hoping for rain.

Happy gardening, everyone.

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