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Colorado gardeners: full steam ahead

Linda Michel Bullock's Orioles bird
Posted at 2:00 PM, May 14, 2021

In Colorado, when to plant is always a tough question. There are plenty of waypoints on the calendar that gardeners look towards, like Mother's Day, May 15th, or not until after all the foothills snow is melted. Experienced gardeners know, those are just guidelines.

Some gardeners go with the strategy of planting earlier, then cover or bring in pots during colder nights or late-season snow. Another strategy is just to wait until after these common calendar dates. And for most, a mix of both, with hearty planting early and more sensitive plants going in when the forecast is warm.

This season has been a bit unusual. May has been cooler than average most days so far. And each week has brought cold snaps with a couple of days with freezing overnight temperatures and snow.

Even with the cold snaps, Pam Hamamoto, an expert gardener and long-time volunteer with the Horticultural Art Society of Colorado Springs, says most plants are running on time and loving the water. She notes that most native plants don't mind an inch or two of snow.

In addition to the cooler weather, plenty of rain and snow has fallen which has replenished the soil and reduced drought.

So far, Colorado Springs has seen 1.6 inches of liquid equivalent precipitation, the May monthly average is 1.99 inches. Pueblo has received 1.71 inches so far, well above the average for the month of 1.57".

And the better news, there is more where that came from. Over the weekend, expect afternoon thunderstorms. And Monday through Tuesday will be cool, cloudy, and rainy throughout the day. Over the next few days, most of the front range will receive between 0.5-2.5 inches of rain. Hamamoto notes that adding fertilizer granules to your soil or garden would be a good idea before the rain.

As far as overnight lows are concerned, most elevations will drop to the 40s overnight in the next 10 days. Even high mountain valleys like Woodland Park will only drop to the upper 30s and low 40s. So, no hard freezes are in the immediate forecast. And statistically, another one would be unlikely.

Colorado gardeners, full steam ahead!

If you would like to take advantage of the Horticultural Art Society's annual plant sale, join them May 15 from 9-4 and again May 21 and 22 from 9-4.