Special to Delta County Independent

The members of the Plant and Dig Garden Club of Cedaredge, after two months without a meeting, finally got together for a very informal — but welcome — meeting last month.

Members gathered (after obtaining permission) on the patio outside the Indian museum at Pioneer Town, observing the rules of social distancing and with masks in place. How good it was to see friends and be together. The group then toured part of the grounds, checking the two beds outside the Welcome Center that the club maintains, as well as a new area outside the Doll House (another of the outstanding museums at this complex) where members, at the request of Greg Hart, the head volunteer groundsman, have taken on the task of beautifying these beds. Many plants are already in place, and others will be added until the areas are once again adding beauty to the landscape and giving pleasure to visitors and volunteer staff members.

A large contingent of club members returned to Pioneer Town later in May to clean up the two upper beds, weeding, removing a thick cover of elm seeds (the little darlings), as well as other debris. These areas are ready for visitors. And news just received is that Pioneer Town will indeed open on June 13.

Members were also busy earlier in the month planting the four pots in the courtyard at Horizons Care Center. Once again this year, Phillip Espinoza, owner of Mile High Greenhouse, generously discounted the flowers for this project. And once again, the group thanks Espinoza for doing this, and for caring so much for the community in which you live.

June’s activity for club members is a planned trip to Zenzen Organics in Paonia to learn about hemp farming. Everyone has seen it growing in the fields. But few know the procedures needed for its growth and harvest, or how this product is used in industry and medicine. It will be interesting.

A major aspect of the club is learning about gardening. The organization’s members enjoy sharing information with each other. This helps members become better and more efficient gardeners. Now they wish to share some of these tips with you.

From Phyllis H: “When I buy flowers or veggie packs from the greenhouse, I transplant them into larger containers filled with good potting soil, then water them with diluted “blue water” to wean them from the watering/fertilization process at the greenhouse. Then when ready, I plant them in my garden which has been prepared with a 50/50 mixture of regular soil and my home-made compost.”

Charlotte P. states: “Irish Spring soap, grated around flowers that deer love to eat is a good deterrent and encourages them to go elsewhere.”

These tips from Sonia S: “With our water situation as it is, I have learned to mix water — absorbing granules into my planting soil. I am also successful in keeping the many rabbits we have out of my garden by planting onions around the border of the area.”

And this final tip from Alissha C: “After researching alternatives to grass for lawns, I find that micro clover (Trifolium repens) is the winner for me. It is shorter than Dutch clover, growing half as tall, with leaf heads half as big. It transplants easily, is great ground cover and adds nitrogen to the soil, making fertilization unnecessary. It is also drought-tolerant (having a very deep root structure) and tolerates foot traffic. This product is often added to grass seed to help it get established, fertilizing the new grass in the process. Seed purchase, unfortunately, is back-ordered and unavailable until at least July, which is a good indicator of the worth of the product.”

The group hopes these gardening tips will help you in your own gardening/lawn adventures.

Spring is rapidly moving into summer. As gardens are shaping up, getting ready to burst into full bloom and to provide its owners with nutritious/delicious produce. It is a time of promise. Mother Earth is once again bringing enjoyment and nourishment to souls as well as tables. The air is sweet with the smells of turned earth and the fragrant scent of newly-blooming flowers. We have much for which to be thankful.

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