Gardening Hacks to Try Now!

March 13, 2018

Whether you’re thinking about planting flowers — or vegetables — this year, it’s not too soon to get serious about gardening! We talked with a horticulture expert in Aurora to get tips for a blooming good experience this summer!

Jake Wolf, AKA the Flying Dutchman, has been with Nick’s Garden Center in Aurora for 20 years. Originally from the Netherlands, Jake is an expert in everything related to horticulture and botany and not only works with customers on their gardening questions and needs, he’s also the engineer on Nick’s Fall Fest train every October!

We asked him for a few basic tips and hacks to pass along to homeowners in Aurora who know it’s time to think about planting season in the backyards and front yards of Southshore!

Bring it Inside

Growing vegetables is fun and rewarding – because at maturity, you’re rewarded with healthy foods for the dinner table!

With vegetables there are two types – cool season and warm season crops. And  according to Jake the best time to start the seeds indoors for cool season vegetables — cauliflower, broccoli, leeks, greens, chards, spinach and cabbages – is during the first part of March. Or right now!

For warm season vegetables — tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, corn, watermelon and pumpkins – those seeds should be sown during the first part of April. Then, Jake says, plant them outside in your garden around the 15th of May.

“I’m 62 and in the old days, we didn’t really have accurate weather forecasts as we do today, so we’d say wait until after Mother’s Day. But now those new satellites really work!” Jake says.

“The average frost in Aurora or east metro,” Jake says, “is May 5th, but I’ve seen frost as late as May 20th. I always look at the forecast for the next seven to 10 days before I put my tomato plants out.”

According to Jake, plants can handle a frost between 28 and 30 degrees, but if you find out the temperature is going to dip below 25 overnight, he recommends putting a sheet, towel or a five-gallon bucket over your plants for protection.

Bulbs Everybody Loves

Nothing quite lifts the winter-weary spirits than seeing those first flowering bulbs peek through the snow and soil. Tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and crocus that are planted in the fall start blooming in March, April and May, depending on the variety, Jake says. “They need to be in the ground by December 7 and go through the cold winter months to bloom.”

If you missed your window of opportunity, Nick’s Garden Center took last fall’s leftover bulbs and planted them in pots for you to enjoy now. “And then you can plant them in the yard this fall,” he adds.

“Spring bulbs – the gladiolas, lilies and dahlias — are planted in late April and early May for summer blooming,” Jake says.

The most important thing with all these bulbs, Jake adds, is after they’re done flowering, they need to be fertilized. “Blooming takes a lot of energy out of the bulb and if you don’t fertilize, next year you’ll get a flower only half the size, then the year after that you’ll get a spike with a bud that doesn’t open!”

The Dutchman’s Final Tips

“Now’s the time to prep your garden, pick up compost, and work it into existing flower beds and garden beds to get them ready for the middle of April, or middle of May,” says Jake.  “Another thing.” he adds, “is to clean up all the dead debris from perennials from the previous year and do some tree pruning, before they start leafing out.”

Nick’s Garden Center is open every day from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Jake, AKA the Flying Dutchman, is there ALMOST every day to answer your questions. Just head to 2001 S. Chambers Road in Aurora!

Getting Ready for Spring in Southshore

The master-planned community of Southshore is a gorgeous neighborhood offering lakeside living in Aurora. The beautiful models from Toll Brothers, Richmond American Homes and Century Communities are worth a look, all thoughtfully-designed by three of Colorado’s top builders. New homes in ranch and two-story designs are priced between the upper $300s and the $700s so stop by today!