When and how to properly plant a spring garden in Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Springtime in the Rockies can bring all types of weather, which can make it difficult to know when to spruce up your yard, but for those with a green thumb, there are some options.

“Colorado Springs is a challenge for gardening,” said Donald Humphrey, owner of Don’s Garden Shop.

But that doesn’t mean you can’t start planting.

“Right now is a very good time to plant your cool season crops,” said Terri Skiba, manager of Phelan Gardens. “For flowers, that may be limited to pansies if you’re looking at an annual, as well as some perennials. It’s a good time to plant those right now. Trees and shrubs.”

Annual flowers are those with strong season-long color which tend to bloom between spring and autumn and must be replanted each year. Perennials are those that return year after year and bloom on their own.

If you’re looking to start a spring garden, you have a couple options.

“Planting any of your leafy greens,” said Skiba. “Your lettuces, kale, spinach. Planting radishes, carrots and peas. It’s a great time to put peas in the ground. Those are all things that are going to start now.”

Whether it’s a garden or a lawn, experts say the best thing you can do is use plenty of mulch.

“They should mulch because the wind is sucking all the water out of the ground right now and with mulch on the ground and as a cover it keeps that from happening,” said Humphrey.

The next best thing is taking proper care of your soil.

“Building your soil is essential,” said Skiba. “I highly recommend amending every year, every fall because the soil gets tired.”

With constantly changing weather, protecting your plants is another step you can take to make sure they thrive.

“Some simple frost cloth, row cover,” said Skiba. “You can use something as basic as a blanket or a sheet just to keep them a little protected from the brunt of the storm.”

The rule of thumb is to begin planting after the last expected frost date. This year that falls on May 15, so if you want to plant any flowers or plants with a lot of color it’s best to do so toward the end of May.

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