Valley Gardening: Valley Important Stuff

Well … all is good in the neighborhood! A week ago Sunday, as the snow fell all day long, over 300 people showed up to the Alamosa Senior Center to show “the love” for Ruth Heide. 

Ruth is beginning the next chapter in her life. She will be deciding whether or not to fight the battle against Stage IV Pancreatic Cancer. It’s a personal choice. And I know that many folks, including me, have offered advice But now … it is Ruth’s choice and we need to honor that. We need to include her in our prayers. We need to send her our good energy and thoughts. Sometimes you make a choice, and you have to learn NOT to second-guess that decision. You need to be strong and just do it — whatever that may be. 

Thank you to everyone who helped make this day so memorable. Thank you to Lloyd Engen for making the trip from Fort Collins. When I noticed a “senior” being wheeled into the center about 10 a.m., all I could think was, “those seniors just have to be early!” When I focused and saw that it was Lloyd, I just cried. They were good tears!

I can’t stop without mentioning the beautiful rocks, painted by Sharon and Ken Turpin! Words such as “Strong, Warrior, No One Fights Alone, Hope, Fight, Brave, Ruth Heide Strong, Believe and Courage” graced large stones in pink and purple. They made the day really, really special!

While at the seniors I noticed California Poppies already coming up, from seed, in their big planters. I’m hoping to gently lift them, add more soil and plant back in place in the next couple days. The soil in the planters has sunk over the years, so the flowers don’t show up as much as they used to. If you have seen any of the pictures of mountainsides in California — they are masterpieces of color with all the poppies. In fact, it has been a real problem because folks don’t know boundaries when it comes to taking pictures and such.

I do love poppies, but I hate pinching them back. They are pretty prolific in putting on a seed head, and then you get the brown color as the pods dry up. The best way to keep them in bloom is to take a scissors and trim them back to 6 inches or so. I had some pretty pathetic looking plants last year that I hadn’t sold, and couldn’t throw away, so I cut them back and planted them in Mom’s Garden Walah … they came back and BLOOMED. I will probably be spreading some poppy seeds this weekend. They tolerate a lot of cold, whereas you don’t want to spread Marigold or Cosmos seeds, because they tolerate NO cold.

Folks are starting to plant spinach outside. And certainly starting all the cold crops like broccoli and cabbages — in greenhouses and sunrooms. Put the date on your calendar because onion plants will be coming in on April 25 — give or take a day. It’s going to be a stampede here at the Green Spot.

Meanwhile, I had my arbor out back covered with plastic this past week. I can certainly understand why so many folks are building their own greenhouses — so nice and warm. I’d like to share greenhouse ideas with folks if you can send me pictures of what you have done. I know that some greenhouses have been built using PVC, and some have been built using hog wire fencing and some have been dug into the ground to lessen the potential wind damage. If you have a design you would be willing to share, please send it to [email protected] or text it to (719)580-7838. THANKS!

Meanwhile, I read in the Courier a couple of weeks ago about an economic pilot program that is going to be between Xcel and the City of Alamosa. As I drove throughout the downtown on Thursday evening, I thought “how nice it would be if all our street lights had the SAME kind of bulbs in them!” I’m talking about the lampposts — the lights are so different AND a minimum of 16 (not sure if all of them were city lights) are burnt out!! What would it take to just replace with the same bulbs? AND, I know it’s not downtown, but part of LODA, I wonder what it would take to get Xcel to keep their substation clean on Eighth Street. After a number of emails last summer, and a couple of months, the trash was picked up, but the weeds are STILL there! Guess I better go pay my utility bill, right?

As I close, GOOD NEWS … Sandy Holtcamp is in REMISSION!! Sandy and Kent owned The Bistro for many years. Sandy’s battle with cancer was a major factor in the restaurant closing in January. Keep these people in your prayers! Thank you!