Bundle Up Your Plants!

Spring snow is on it’s way!

This week will be a challenging one for gardeners; we will have night temperatures in the mid-20s Wednesday through Friday, before the next warming trend. We are also expecting snow and perhaps sleet.  There are a number of ways to protect your plants including row cover, solar caps, upside-down pots.  See below for details.  

As soon as you are able, take the opportunity to direct-sow seeds in the ground for hardy annuals, such as Phacelia campanularia (Desert Bluebells) – pictured right, Phacelia tanacetifolia (Bee’s Friend), Larkspurs, California Poppies, Sweet Alyssum, Sweet Peas, Bachelor’s Buttons, annual Poppies (Corn poppies, Shirley poppies, Lauren’s Grape, Bread-seed, Peony-flowered), Snapdragons, Cosmos, Love-in-a-Mist, Plains Coreopsis/Tickseed, and biennial Hollyhocks. These flowers are very easy to grow, and will provide plenty of color and lots of great forage for bees, butterflies and other beneficial insects through the season.  Our collection of Botanical Interests, Seed Savers, and Beauty Beyond Belief seeds are available for you to try these special plants.  And, Soil Thermometers will help you accurately gauge when to plant.  At this time of year our propagators are delivering almost 100 flats a week of fabulous pesticide-free, interesting and unique perennials!  And beginning later this week will receive our first few flats of tomatoes – WOW!  Next week more tomato varieties will arrive, and when the time is right, peppers, eggplants tomatillos, and lots of great annual pollinator-friendly flowers will arrive.  See our website for many of our veggie descriptions.  


e inside to our classes this weekend.  Our friend and owner of Matrix Gardens, Alison Peck, has a doubleheader on Saturday at !0:00 beginning with “Edible Landscaping” where your learn how to beautifully grow fruits, nuts, veggies, and herbs in your yard.  Then at 1:00 she’ll show you how to easily set-up a drip irrigation system in “Do-it-Yourself Drip Irrigation”.

The great news is that Panayote Kelaidis’ of DBG fame, will teach “The Art & Science of Planting Drought-Tolerant Plants”.  The bad news is that the class has sold out!  We’re hoping that next year we can offer it in a larger venue.  Stay tuned! 

Later on Sunday at 1:00 Mikl will show us the intricacies of “Spring Pruning”, which is always a valuable thing to know about! 
See below for more details and call 303-939-9403 to reserve your seat!

As of April 1 we’re now OPEN DAILY from 9 AM to 5 PM, and until 6 PM on Thursdays. 


…ARE IN THE HOUSE!  This year we have German Butterball, Kennebec, Mountain Rose, and Purple Majesty selections, all grown here in Colorado.*  We have selected these varieties because they all grow very successfully here.   See below and our website or descriptions.


(Certified ‘seed’ potato) – (heirloom yellow)
German Butterball offers everything you could want in a potato: heirloom quality, deep golden flesh, and a delightfully mild flavor.  Versatile for every kind of preparation.  Best if harvested when small to medium sized. Superior storage.  Approximately 110 days to maturity. 


(Certified ‘seed’ potato)
Kennebec is an excellent, widely adapted, medium to late, all-purpose, white potato, bred by the USDA in 1941. This fast-growing variety has high yields of round to oblong tubers with shallow eyes, buff skin and white flesh that maintain good quality in storage. Plants do best when planted at 8-10” spacing to avoid overly-large tubers. The ivory flesh is firm and starchy with minimal water content and offers a rich, earthy and nutty flavor. Excels as a frying potato (fries, hash browns, chips, etc.) and is well suited for baking, mashing or roasting. Kennebec potatoes keep their shape when cooked, perfect for potato salads, curries, soups, stews.Resistant to Potato Virus A and Potato Virus Y; moderate resistance to Potato Virus S, Potato Virus X, blackleg, and foliage late blight. 


(Certified ‘seed’ potato)
Red inside and out! Bred in & for Colorado. Excellent as potato chips, French fries, oven fries, and also great for baking, mashing, and potato salads. High in antioxidants!  Early to Mid-season.


(Certified ‘seed’ potato)
Uniform, high-yield, deep purple skin and flesh, very high in anthocyanins (high-potency antioxidant).  Bred in and for Colorado. They are delicious roasted, baked, sliced for home-made chips, mashed..

*Our seed potatoes this year are not certified organic. They ARE “Certified Seed”, which means they have been tested and found free of disease (late blight – think Ireland’s Potato Famine). Potatoes sold for eating are NOT tested or certified; that’s why we do not recommend planting potatoes from the grocery store or farmer’s market. Our seed potatoes have been grown the same way as their organic crop, with the addition of an application of sulfur.  Our supplier was unable to sell their certified organic seed potatoes this year for planting because they didn’t qualify as disease-free.

Potato Growing Instructions

From our friend, Frank Hodge

Potatoes grow best in full sun.  Plant seed potatoes (pieces of potatoes or small whole potatoes – plant whole if they are smaller than a golf ball) with at least 2 eyes per piece. If you are cutting up the potatoes, do so ahead of time (couple hours to a day prior to planting) to give them a chance to form a protective layer for moisture retention and rot resistance.

Plant as soon as when soil can be easily worked.  Plants will begin to grow when the soil temperature reaches 45 degrees.  Plants can tolerate a light frost but be prepared to cover them if a hard frost is expected.

Spread and mix compost into the bottom of a 4-6” deep planting trench. Soil should be moist, but not water-logged.  Plant seed potatoes 4” deep, 1 foot apart, with the eye side up. Potatoes thrive in LOOSE, well drained soil with consistent moisture.  

When plants reach about 6” tall, cover them with light compost or straw until just the top inch or two still shows. Continue to cover the plants (called hilling) as they grow. This will result in a fairly significantly sized mound.  Harvest potatoes on a dry day. Soil should NOT be compacted, so digging should be easy, but be gentle so as not to puncture the tubers.  “New” (small) potatoes may be ready in early July.  Mature potatoes should be harvested 2-3 weeks after the vines die (usually late July / early August). Brush off any soil, and store them in a cool, dry, dark place (but not in the refrigerator).  Do not store potatoes with apples as the ethylene gas produced by the apples can cause your potatoes to spoil. Do not wash potatoes until right before use.


This Saturday 3pm-6pm, next door to Harlequin’s at the Boulder Circus Center: FREE!

Come celebrate new opportunities in Local Food, and learn about and join with SOIL–Slow Opportunities for Investing Locally—which is providing interest-free loans to local farmers and food producers. Hear six brief presentations by local food leaders, then join in small group discussions. Enjoy live music, poetry, and

Harlequin’s Gardens is co-hosting this event because we believe in this heart-based, grass-roots, practical approach that can help support local food producers and increase local food security and food quality. It’s already working!

Neighbors, farmers, gardeners, citizen activists, the politically weary, the financially skeptical, the poetically inclined, pollinators, seed savers, CSA members, folks who want to know where their food comes from and where their money goes, and all who would like to put the culture back into agriculture and the civil back into civilization, all who would like to make our community healthier and our soil more fertile (which, as fate would have it, also pulls carbon out of the atmosphere, go figure!), all who take to heart the morning news reports about the collapse of insect populations and the urgency of climate change and who are no longer content to place all our bets on distant markets and distant political solutions. . .yes, you, us, we of Boulder, of the Front Range, of the environs between the Great Plains and the Continental Divide. . . we’re coming together to enjoy


. . .which could stand for Americans for Healthy Agriculture (AHA!), but doesn’t, because there is no such organization, but it stands for bunches of us coming together in a spirit of radical neighborliness, and for AHA! moments towards which we are heading, courtesy of these festivities, CO-HOSTED BY SOIL (Slow Opportunities for Investing Locally) and HARLEQUIN’S GARDENS, with help from our friends at Boulder County Farmers Markets, Savory Institute, Fresh Thymes Eatery, Organic Sandwich Company, Backpacker’s Pantry, Charlotte’s Web, and 78 individuals (on our way to many more, we trust) who have begun making 0% loans to local farmers and food enterprises, in the name of diversity and health, in the name of relationships putting transactions in their place, a small token of the esteem in which we hold those who are tending the soil and building the local food system. . .So, you are cordially invited to join in an afternoon of shared learning and community celebration, along with a few words from

and others, and. . . including poetry, music and other forms of cultural invigoration and mutual appreciation. Conviviality! Conversation! Door prizes! Radical neighborliness!

Who knew?! Something is afoot! AHA!

For more information contact woody@slowmoney.org.   


If you have marginally-hardy plants just emerging or recently planted, or are worried about snow crushing your plants (veggies, blooming bulbs, emerged perennials that aren’t cold hardy, such as lilies, etc.) then consider one of these methods to protect your valuable plants. 


Row Cover gives you several degrees warmer temperature, protection from drying sun and wind for seed beds, tender seedlings and transplants, as well as protection from insects and birds. The fabrics can be “floated” over your rows or beds, using weights of various kinds to keep them in place, and can also be used to cover garden tunnel frames. When handled gently, these fabrics can last several seasons.   We have two types of Row Cover fabrics – Ensulate (1.5 lb.) and Seed Guard (.6 lb), both in pre-cut sheets or custom cut from our 12′-wide rolls.


Solar Caps are a vast improvement over the well-known Wall-o-Water, which are prone to collapsing and crushing your plants! Solar Caps have 8 wire legs that keep it firmly secured in place. Solar Caps don’t have all those seams to leak, and the only part that requires annual replacement is the very inexpensive customized plastic bag. We like to keep the Solar Caps on our vining tomatoes throughout the season to moderate soil temperatures. They can be used to get a head-start on Peppers, Eggplants, Squashes, Cucumbers and Melons, but should be removed from those shorter plants when temperatures allow.  Solar Caps also provide a sure way to protect your plants from cold temps and snow!

Solar Caps consist of a sturdy, re-usable, welded galvanized steel wire frame over which you drape the water-filled plastic bag that comes with the kit.  By positioning the Solar Cap where your tomato (or other warm-season veggies) will be planted, in 5-7 days your soil will be warm enough for planting (55+ Fahrenheit).  Following planting, Solar Caps form a personal greenhouse for your veggies, which improves growth throughout the season.  We’ve had great success using them for many years and regularly plant our tomatoes by April 15.


Another way to protect your plants is to lightly wrap bubble wrap around your plant and then cover it with an overturned planting pot.  The bubble wrap will insulate the plant, while the pot will protect it from being crushed.  Be sure to remove the covering after the freezing temps have passed!


Call 303-939-9403 to reserve your seat!

Our weekends are loaded with great classes you won’t want to miss! Our customers tell us that our classes have given them tremendous value, with practical and current information from local experts who have spent years honing their skills in Colorado and will help guide you to success. We are charging $15 (unless otherwise stated) for our classes 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. You can register at the nursery, by mail, or by calling 303-939-9403. We are unable to take class registration by email at this time.  Most of our classes run from one-and-a-half to two hours in length, and sometimes longer for hands-on classes, or if there are a large number of questions.  See the complete March Class listing below, or on our website.  

Sat, Apr 13 at 10 AM    

Learn how to grow fruits, nuts, vegetables, vines and herbs in your yard, beautifully. Learn which plants are the most successful and how to integrate them into your landscape. Alison has been designing edible landscapes for 25 years; she owns Matrix Gardens landscaping. Class cost: $15

Sat, Apr 13 at 1 PM      

Drip Irrigation can be easy! Come learn a simple, easy way to design and install a system that can be connected to an outside hose bib with a battery-operated timer, giving you an inexpensive automatic watering system.  We will also discuss how to convert an existing sprinkler system to drip irrigation. Class cost: $15

Sun, Apr 14 at 10 AM
with Panayoti Kelaidis


Do you know what parts of the world your xeriscape plants come from? Whether they’re adapted to spring moisture, summer monsoons, or winter snow-cover? In what type of soil conditions they thrive? How to group plants with similar needs so they will all succeed? Don’t miss this rare opportunity for an enlightening explanation of the sets of growing conditions in which our Colorado-adapted garden plants evolved, including prairie, steppe, desert, foothill and montane, with an emphasis on steppes. Panayoti Kelaidis is Senior Curator and Director of Outreach at Denver Botanic Gardens, one of the world’s foremost botanical experts, an internationally acclaimed, inexhaustible and enthusiastic font of knowledge, passionate plant-explorer and gardener, a founder of the Plant Select program, and lead author of DBG’s groundbreaking book ‘Steppes’.  Class cost: $15

Sun, Apr 14 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.) Class cost: $15


Sat, Apr 20 at 1 PM      

Eve will demonstrate and discuss why and how to prune roses in a fearless and confident manner. She will also discuss feeding, watering, etc. to maximize your success with growing roses. Wear long pants, long sleeves, gloves, and a hat and be prepared to be outside. Class cost: $15

Sun Apr 28 at 10 AM

Many beautiful cacti, century plants (Agave spp.), yuccas, and their relatives thrive in our harsh climate. These plants look as good in the winter garden as they do in the summer. Kelly is well known for his work with these hardy plants and is expert at using them in the garden. We’ll discuss companion plants, soil preparation and garden construction. Kelly Grummons is a Horticulturist and Owner of Prairie Storm Nursery (coldhardycactus.com and dogtuffgrass.com).  Class cost: $20

Sun Apr 28 at 1 PM      

Thanks to recent development in grape varieties, you, too can successfully grow table grapes and wine grapes on the Colorado Front Range. This workshop will present an overview of varieties suitable for this region, considerations for site location, trellising options, pest protection measures, and a brush across two basic pruning techniques.  Whether you are interested in fruit or wine, let’s explore how the taste of your grapes and wineswill define this locality. John and his partner, Kayann Short, tend nine different varieties of grapes and make wine at their CSA farm, Stonebridge, in Longmont.  Class cost: $15


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

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