Happy Plants Begin with Happy Soil


Before Mikl talks about soil enrichment, below, we want to remind you that we have two wonderful classes this weekend: On Saturday morning Mimi Yanus – a renowned veggie gardener – will share How to Get Started with Veggie Gardening.  This is a super class for those that are new to the area, or felt that they didn’t have the success in their garden last year that they wanted.  (Forward this email to your new neighbor!)  Then on Sunday afternoon Mikl shares the importance and techniques for Spring Pruning.  Pruning can be overwhelming, but Mikl will give you insight on how to simplify and approach this task.  Pre-registration is appreciated and highly recommended for all classes with a quick call to 303-939-9403.

Onions are Here!

Bare root onion plants in bundles have arrived, including Copra, Walla Walla, and Redwing varieties.  These onions are robust and can be planted right away!  The earlier you plant them the larger they can grow because they are long-day onions and the sun keeps feeding the plant until Summer Solstice when the bulbs then begin to plump-up.  Note: Avoid planting onions where Brassica family veggies were grown last year, or they won’t thrive.  Plants in the Brassica family include arugula, kale, broccoli, collard greens, mustard, cauliflower, and most Asian greens, etc.  Onions thrive with lots of sun, fertile soil, consistent watering, and free of weed competition. 

Some of Our cool season starts (broccoli, arugula and cabbage) have arrived – come in and get them!  (As a note, the veggie starts do need to be hardened-off.)  As for our other veggie starts, take a look at our 2018 Veggie Starts List to see the wonderful selections we’re growing for you!

Classes List

We offer empowering classes with great teachers throughout the season.  Coming soon will be more of our class offerings.  Our teachers have spent years honing their skills in Colorado and will help guide you to success. We are charging $15 to support our speakers and Harlequin’s educational direction. It is best to pre-register for these classes both in case they fill up or too few people register, and we have to cancel. Pre-payment assures your place in the class.  Pre-registration is appreciated and highly recommended for all classes with a quick call to 303-939-9403.


(This list is also available on our website.)


If you are new to Colorado, new to vegetable gardening, or have been unhappy with the results of your earlier attempts, this class is for you. Learn from Mimi Yanus what you need to know to make your new organic vegetable garden successful, even bountiful, even in Colorado conditions!  $15  (Repeated on Sat, March 31.)

Sun, Mar 18 at 1 PM – SPRING PRUNING with Mikl Brawner

There are shrubs that should not be pruned in the spring and there are shrubs, roses and vines that are best pruned in spring. Learn which to prune when, and how to prune for strength, beauty, and production of fruit and flowers.  (This is not a repeat of the Fall Pruning Class.)   $15

Sat, Mar 24 at 10 AM – DO-IT-YOURSELF DRIP IRRIGATION with Alison Peck

Drip irrigation can be easy! Come learn a simple, easy to design and install system that can be connected to an outside hose bib with a battery-operated timer, giving you inexpensive automatic watering. Alison Peck of Matrix Gardens will also discuss new efficient sprinklers that can reduce water use for lawns and groundcovers.   $15                (Photo credit: BSN Tech Networks)

Sun, Mar 25 at 10 AM – PLANT PROPAGATION 101 with Gary Meis

Propagating and multiplying plants are useful skills that everyone can learn!  With over 35 years of experience, Gary Meis, Harlequin’s Gardens own propagator, will discuss methods of propagation and the pros and cons of each.  Specifically, this class will cover Different ways to break the dormancy of our western native seeds, How to find and collect native seeds, How to clean your seeds, and should you?, How to treat your seeds for optimum sprouting, How to keep your babies alive when small, and Alternatives to seed grown natives.  Cool stuff!  $15

Sun, Mar 25 at 1 PM – BUILDING TOPSOIL & FERTILITY with Mikl Brawner

Mikl will discuss how to support soil life, enrich poor soils, and improve plant health and nutrition from the bottom up: composts, fertilizers, mulching, worms, deficiencies, and tilth.   $15


If you are new to Colorado, new to vegetable gardening, or have been unhappy with the results of your earlier attempts, this class is for you. Learn from Mimi Yanus what you need to know to make your new organic vegetable garden successful, even bountiful, even in Colorado conditions!  $15  (Repeat of Sat, March 17.)

Products for Building and Supporting Healthy Soils

Harlequin’s Gardens has been studying soil health for many years now, because soil health is needed for plant health, for plant resistance to pests and diseases and for nutritional value of plants. We believe that a strong Soil Life with all the beneficial fungi, bacteria, earthworm etc. is the goal to digest the nutrients in the soil and make them into plant-available forms.

Our soils also are deficient in organic matter and available nutrients. Colorado soils do have nutrients, but many are not in a form that’s available to plants. So, Harlequin’s has sourced most of our soil-building products form businesses as local as possible, almost all from Colorado. Local products use our local wastes (like landscape wastes, beer wastes, food wastes, beetle-kill pine, mushroom waste, dairy cow manure, chicken manure). This supports local businesses to recycle and because trucking distances are greatly reduced, we are cutting down on carbon emissions. Putting these organic wastes into the soil also sequesters carbon. And because carbon is one of Life’s main building blocks, these products help build fertility.

This year we have many returning products and some new products that we’d like to tell you about.

Rocky Mt. Minerals

From Salida, this broad spectrum of many different minerals that support plant strength and immune function, including 11% Calcium, 6% Sulfur plus magnesium, iron, and many others. The big difference with this product is that its geothermal source makes these minerals much more available.


This is a mined carbon concentrate that multiplies microorganisms and has the effect of making nutrients in the soil available. We have been using this for years in our potting mixes.

Walden’s Organics

Since Maxfields moved over the mountain and lost quality, we have been looking for a good local soil for larger containers and for raised beds. Local topsoil and Planters Mixes contain too much clay. Walden’s Organics uses an OMRI certified cow manure with 6+ year-aged forest humus (from beetle-kill pine), biochar etc. We have been using their potting soil and forest humus and think they are good and much more economical than Maxfields.  These are somewhat new for us and we would appreciate your feedback.

Walden’s Potting Soil

Is ideal for containers, planter boxes, and raised beds. Contains 8 qts beetle-kill aged wood chips, peat moss, biochar, OMRI cow manure compost, perlite, and nutrients. Voted best new product at ProGreen Expo 2016 and has a 100% satisfaction guarantee.  Last year we mixed this potting soil 50/50 with Foxfarm’s Coco Loco and had good results in one trial.

Walden’s Outdoor Garden Mix

For amending garden soils to increase porosity, organic matter, water holding capacity, and nutrition. Mix 10-25% with soils. Contains: 8 qt. bag containing aged beetle-kill woodchips, OMRI cow manure compost and biochar.  In addition to its use as a soil amendment, Walden recommends using this 50/50 with Walden’s Potting Mix for filling large containers and raised beds. We would also suggest adding Harlequin’s Fertility Mix.

Walden’s Garden Mulch

For mulching perennials, shrubs, and vegetable gardens. Sprinkle some organic fertilizer on the soil, then apply mulch 1-3” thick.  Holds moisture, resists weeds, and feeds worms and microbes. Contains 5-8 year aged beetle-kill wood chips.  This forest humus mulch is so broken down that we are planning to use it this year to mulch our veggie garden. We do sell straw because straw breaks down in one season. Most wood chips are so raw that it is not advisable to turn them into the soil, because they cause a nitrogen deficiency until they break down.

Harlequin’s Fertility Mix

A mix of Biosol Certified Organic 6-1-1 Fertilizer, humate, molasses, endomycorrhizae, and calcium. Increases root mass, top growth, soil life, and productivity naturally.  This is not just a fertilizer. The combination of ingredients and mycorrhizae act synergistically to support fertility. It has gotten rave reviews. Try it and let us know your experience.

Corn Gluten

A non-toxic, weed-and-feed with 9% nitrogen. It inhibits seed germination, but is harmless to plants with root systems, people, worms, and microorganisms. The effect can last up to 6 months and is especially useful in lawns. Apply in September/October, and again in late February/March to prevent the majority of existing weed seeds from germinating.

Alpha One

100% organic fertilizer for vegetables and ornamentals. Contains: 7% Nitrogen, 2% Phosphorus, 2% Potash, 1% Iron, 1% Sulphur, with a pH of 6.2. Formulated in Loveland for Colorado Soils.

Richlawn Organic

A 100% organic product comprised of dehydrated poultry waste. Listed by OMRI for organic use. Ideal for lawns, trees, shrubs, annuals, perennials, vegetables and roses. Covers 2,000 sq ft for turf.

EcoGro Compost

A Class 1 compost made from leaves, grass, chipped branches, and beer wastes. It has a healthy population of microorganisms and diverse nutrients.  It is very stable and will not burn or steal nitrogen.  It is fine textured, low in salts with some woody particles.  The pH is 8.3; the NPK 1-1-1.

Western Grow Compost

From Boulder County landscape and food wastes. Well composted. Good non-burning soil builder, reduces carbon dioxide and shipping. Great local resource. NPK 1.5-0.64-1

Eko Compost

Made from forest and recycled wood products composted with poultry manure. Use in vegetable and flower gardens, lawns, trees, shrubs. Improves soil’s physical, chemical, and biological health.

Eko Lawn Topdressing

Finely screened compost perfect for top dressing lawns after aeration.  Holds moisture next to the roots increasing drought tolerance. Supports microorganisms.

Mushroom Compost

From a local mushroom farm.  Dark, rich humus that feeds soil life, improves soil structure & aeration, saves water. Great soil amendment for veggies, perennials, roses & shrubs. Also, a superb mulch for roses.

Coco Loco Potting Soil

A superior coir-based potting media produced from coconut husks, making it one of nature’s most abundant renewable resources.  This mix also contains earthworm castings, bat guano, kelp meal and oyster shell.  It resists compaction, easily rewets, and absorbs evenly for excellent aeration and maximum drainage.

Ocean Forest Potting Soil

A nutrient-rich soil for planting seedlings. It performed well in our tests. Contains: composted bark, sphagnum peat, fish emulsion, crab, earthworm castings, loam, perlite, bat guano, granite dust, kelp meal.


A highly adsorbent, specially-produced charcoal applied to soil as a means to increase soil fertility and agricultural yields and sequester carbon.


A natural pine coop bedding (or cat litter!). Contains recycled beetle-kill pine and activated carbon, making it very absorbent, with powerful odor control. It outperforms and outlasts hay and wood shavings. Expands up to 5X when wet. Reduces cleaning by 50%. Not a soil amendment, but a local, recycled beetle-kill pine product to help care for your poultry and other small animals.


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We’re looking forward to seeing you this week!

In gratitude,
Eve, Mikl and the super hard-working Staff at Harlequin’s Gardens