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April 2009
Ogden Botanical Garden changes workshop to help new gardeners
by Jerry Goodspeed, Ogden Botanical Gardens

I love the spring! The only problem I have with this time of the year is about the time you think the weather has turned and warmer days are here, it snows and freezes your enthusiasm.  But fortunately, this is the intermountain area, which means eventually spring will stay and summer is not far behind. 

As with nature changing, we also must sometimes make changes that
we think are beneficial and helpful when needed. With this in mind, we are going to do a little changing with our workshops (it is still spring after all). We have received requests to help people who are new to gardening and determined to have a successful and productive vegetable gardens of their own. So we are going to change our trough class and turn it into a raised bed and organic gardening class. This class, "Stretch Your Food Dollar: Grow Vegetables in Raised Beds" will be held on April 2 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Ogden Botanical Gardens, and April 9 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Utah Botanical Center; to reserve a spot, call 801-399-8201.
We will be offering hands on instruction on how to construct a raised bed, improve the soil, fertilize, control weeds, and will also give some organic options for controlling insects and other pests. We will also be giving all who attend a small starter kit, including some seeds, transplants, and fertilizer, plus some plans to help build their own raised beds. 
We appreciate your support as we fulfill our directive to improve the quality of life and help educate those who seek further knowledge and education.

Feature Article:
"Raise" your gardening sites

by JayDee Gunnell

 Many Utah soils are typically low in organic matter, have a high clay content and often "cultivate" feelings of frustration in backyard gardeners. Raised bed gardening is one way to take the toil out of your soil. Because most vegetables perform well with only 6-8" of rooting depth, extravagant raised beds are not always necessary. In fact, one of the simplest ways to create raised beds can be done by tilling 2-3" of well-composted organic matter into the existing soil. Excavated walkways are then created by shoveling the amended soil into windrows about 8-10" high and 24-36" wide. More permanent structures are also popular and can also be easily constructed using an array of materials. These beds are typically 3-4' wide and vary in length. 

Materials such as redwood or cedar contain natural preservatives. Other construction options include: cement blocks, vinyl, Trex®, railroad ties, and pressure-treated lumber.  Railroad ties are treated with creosote, and if being used for raised beds, should be older and have no visible oozing. Pressure-treated lumber is infused with compounds (usually copper-based) to help preserve the wood from insect damage and decay. For gardeners sensitive about plants coming in contact with these compounds, a layer of plastic may be used to line the inside (sides) of the wood to prevent roots contacting the wood directly. 

Soil mixes for raised bed gardens are as diverse as gardeners themselves. There is no perfect recipe when it comes to soil mixes. Many local nurseries sell their own garden soil mix-many of which contain varying proportions of compost, peat moss, and perlite, pumice or vermiculite. These mixes are considered soilless (no sand, silt or clay). These soilless mixes are light-weight, tend to dry out quickly, and may not provide sufficient physical support for plants. Sandy loam top soil can be added to soilless garden mixes to help with these issues. Once the labor of building the raised beds and filling them with the soil mix is complete, then the growing fun begins. For information on planting times, vegetables spacing and variety recommendations, go to:

Featured Pest:
by Jerry Goodspeed

As a kid, I remember being fascinated by small inchworms that would get in our maple tree every spring. I was never worried about the damage they may be causing, but instead loved to watch them as they 'looped' their way along a twig. I am now a little older, and find that instead of enjoying their movements and grace, I detest their voracious appetites and ill manners. 

Cankerworms, also known as inchworms, are those green caterpillars that attack our oaks, maples, and other ornamentals some springs. Although they can be fun to watch crawl around, they can also defoliate many of our trees in the early spring. This can weaken the tree, but is rarely fatal. Most trees will recover and leaf out later in the season. 

The larva are typically green, a little less than an inch in length, and feed for between 4 to 6 weeks right in mid- to late-spring. They can drop to the ground or move to adjacent trees by lowering themselves on silken threads. They will eventually mature, drop to the ground, and pupate in the soil. They are somewhat cyclic in nature, meaning some years will be worse than others. 
You can reduce the amount of overwintering eggs by applying a horticultural or dormant oil to oaks and maples in late winter. Be sure to cover the tree thoroughly. Reduced-risk insecticides for control include spinosad, Bt products, and azadirachtin. Apply as soon as worms are observed. There are also other registered insecticides available for control. If you wish to read more on the subject, go to

Featured Tree:
Eastern Redbud
by JayDee Gunnell

Eastern RedBud
(Cercis canadensis)
Type:  Small to medium flowering tree
Zone:   4-9 (to -30°F)
Size:    20-30 feet tall
           25-35 feet wide
Description: Between late March and early April, the limbs of the Eastern Redbud become scattered with clusters of rosy pink flowers, just about the same time that enduring gardeners are shaking off the melancholy of winter. This showy display often stimulates homeowners into purchasing this spring flowering tree from the local garden center when a simple appreciative perusal may be the better option. Redbuds are considered an understory tree and grow well in either full sun or filtered shade. They tolerate different soil types, except constantly wet, but prefer a well drained soil.  Because many of the newer residential areas are being built on marginal sites where heavy clay soils predominate and water drainage is poor, other spring flowering trees such as crabapples may be a better option. These small specimen trees, however, do well along the bench areas or other locations with well-drained soils.   

Featured Perennial:
Gold Nugget Ice Plant
by Richard Anderson

Gold Nugget Ice Plant

(Delosperma congestum)
Type: Groundcover
Zone: 4-9 (-30°F)
Size: 2-3 inches tall
        18-24 inches wide
Description: Gold Nugget is a true alpine succulent, coming from the highest peaks of distant South Africa. In bloom, Delosperma congestum is irresistible; the large, shiny yellow flowers sit right on top of the succulent foliage and have a distinctive white eye. It blooms once in early summer, and then gathers energy to put on a fall show of reddish foliage. An excellent choice for groundcover companions such as Callirhoe, Ajuga, and Thymes. Spreads slowly and sometimes suffers in extreme heat. Plant Gold Nugget where it receives some afternoon shade, particularly where summer temperatures are hot. A gem for mountain rock gardens (Photo Credits: Richard M. Anderson 2007)

Down and Dirty Question:
When do I spray my apples for codling moth?

by Marion Murray, IPM Project Leader

In general, codling moth sprays should begin around 14 to 28 days after bloom. For greater accuracy, we can determine the exact starting spray date using "degree days" (Click here).  Because degree days are based on daily temperatures, the predicted date varies from year to year. For example, in Davis County, the first spray for 2006 was May 23; for 2007, it was May 16; and for 2008, it was June 4!  For this reason, we never provide a static calendar date for controlling codling moth. To determine this spring's starting spray date for codling moth in your area, check the Utah Pests Web site for the weekly IPM pest advisory (, or ask your county Extension agent starting about 1 to 2 weeks after bloom.  

Learn About Utah's Natural Systems

Have you ever wanted to learn more about Utah's natural systems, but never quite found a comprehensive program? If so, then the Utah Master Naturalist Program is for you!  

The UMNP is a Utah State University Extension program that consists of three 40-hour modules - watersheds, deserts, and mountains - with at least half of the time spent in the field learning from resource experts. The deserts class has already sold out, but the watersheds class still has several openings this spring:

Watersheds Module: Utah's Hogle Zoo in Salt Lake City on Fridays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., May 1-29, 2009. From high alpine lakes and streams to the Great Salt Lake and unique temporary wetlands of the arid desert, Utah has a vast diversity of aquatic systems that interact with each other throughout, and across, watersheds.

For more information or to register online, please visit


Upcoming Programs and Events

Free Open Public Classes
No pre-registration or fees required

► "Dessert First" Grafting Class with Mike Pace, Box Elder County Agriculture Agent
April 17 - 12 to 1 p.m. at the Ogden Botanical Gardens
Enjoy eating your lunch in the gardens early, then prior to the class we will serve you dessert to eat during the present
► Spring Celebration Family Night
April 20 -
6 to 8 p.m. at the Utah House
Celebrate the arrival of spring at the Utah House. This free event will include Utah House tours, garden walks, and children activities. Bring the whole family and explore the new Wetland Discovery Point. Staff will be on hand to lead families through the new facility. For more information call 801-544-3089.

► Plant Sale
May 14 - 4 to 6 p.m. at the Ogden Botanical Gardens, Members Only Preview Sale
May 15 - 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Ogden Botanical Gardens, Public Sale
urchase great perennials, annuals, vegetables, herbs, water-wise plants, and much more at great prices!
► "Dessert First" Perennials Class with
JayDee Gunnell, Davis County Horticulture Agent
May 15 - 12 to 1 p.m. at the Ogden Botanical Gardens
JayDee will share lots of great ideas for creating and caring for perennials in your landscape. Enjoy a complimentary dessert along with the presentation.

Gardening Classes
Pre-registration and
fees paid prior to taking the class.

"Stretch Your Food Dollar: Grow Vegetables in Raised Beds"
April 2 - 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Ogden Botanical Gardens
April 9 - 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Utah Botanical Center
Learn from the ex
perts how to construct raised beds, prepare the soil, plant, and select the most desirable varieties. We will share helpful shortcuts to garden maintenance, pest and disease control, and tips for harvesting delicious vegetables. Each participant will go home with some seeds, transplants, and plans. Please call to reserve a spot in the class. This will be $5 for all members of the gardens and $10 for the public. 
"Creating a Hanging Basket" Class
May 7 - 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Ogden Botanical Gardens
Learn to design and fill a basket for sun, shade, or any other location. Participants take home a large hanging basket of their own creation.
Fee: $25/OBG Members*; $30/Non-members.
For a full schedule of classes to register for, go to
*Contact Ogden Botanical Gardens or Utah Botanical Center to find out about becoming a "friend" of the gardens to receive many discounts on classes/plant materials/other merchandise, and be invited to attend special plant sales, flori-tours, and much, more.

Click here for a complete list of events at the Utah Botanical Center
Click here for a complete list of events at the Ogden Botanical Gardens

Get Growing

► Plant pansies and primrose to enhance the bulbs that will soon be up.
► Aerate the lawn to avoid compaction and help water and nutrients penetrate better throughout the growing season.
► Control annual weeds such as crabgrass, spurge, and foxtail in lawn by applying a pre-emergent by April 1 (sooner in areas next to cement structures or curbing which break dormancy slightly earlier).
► Prune flowering shrubs that bloom after June 1.
► Prune and clean up roses.
► Plant some new perennials in the landscape to add season-long color.
► Apply a high-nitrogen fertilizer to the lawn.
► Towards the end of the month, plant semi-cool season crops such as beets, carrots, lettuce, Swiss Chard, and potatoes.
► Add some new strawberry plants to the berry patch.
► Register for some of the wonderful gardening classes offered at the Ogden Botanical Gardens and Utah Botanical Center.

UTAH BOTANICAL CENTER-801-593-8969                                                OGDEN BOTANICAL GARDENS-801-399-8080                                                                   
GARDENING HELP LINE                                                                                                                    GARDENING HELP LINE
Phone: 801-451-3204 (M,W,F) 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.                         Phone: 801-399-8080 (Mon-Fri) 12:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Click Here for Map                                                                                                                             Click Here for Map