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Master Gardener: Gardening is an activity of hope


Ellyn Myller
For Steamboat Pilot & Today
Ellyn Myller planted a productive stand of garlic in a hayfield near her new home in the county.
Courtesy photo

Here we are, again, at the end of summer. If you found this year to be challenging as a gardener, you are not alone.

A couple of frosts early on in my backyard, seed supplies not available, a dry hot summer and grasshoppers. Throw into the middle of all that a move to the county, and a season of gardening joy is almost lost. My summer mantra, “What have I got to lose?”

I was pleased to get some things planted in the beds I left in town. The onions looked like they were becoming some of the best I’ve ever grown. There were a few cuttings of lettuce before leaving; the carrots and cabbage looked hopeful, too. 

On our way out, the flower garden had several late blooming perennial surprises coming in that made me smile. I have to say though, there’s nothing like not seeing the harvest of your labor. This year’s gardening was one of those years that farmers over the ages have experienced, a bit of a loss. 

However, I have a new canvas of land to paint gardens on. Observation, a key principle of gardening, has been my consolation this summer. I have been able to watch what’s going on before digging in too much. 

I know I will have a new battle against bindweed to wage, along with its noxious cousin Canadian thistle. There’s a 10-degree morning temperature difference in this backyard than the one in town, which will require some planning for. The soil is good though, as the horseradish and catmint have tripled in size since planting them. 

But all I will be harvesting from my new digs this year is potato soup. It may turn out I only get French onion, if the potatoes yet to be harvested didn’t mature due to lack of consistent watering at the right time. Oh well, what did I have to lose?

It was about this time last year that I planted a stand of garlic in the middle of the hay field on our land. In August, it actually gave me a good return. In a few weeks, I will be planting next year’s garlic crop, and I am hopeful for another year of good gardening and grateful for whatever will come from it. 

Master Gardener: For more

Colorado State University Master Gardeners are available to answer your gardening questions. Email csumgprogram@co.routt.co.us or call the CSU Extension office at 970-879-0825 and ask to leave a message for the Master Gardeners. Thursday morning office hours and scheduled site visits are currently suspended.

Gardening is an activity full of hope. Let’s all be hopeful.

Ellyn Myller has lived in Steamboat Springs for 24 years. She loves a vegetable garden as much as flowers. She is looking forward to cultivating her new corner in Routt County.   


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