With a Solar Cap, it’s not too early to plant them
It’s veggie planting season and we’re stocked for you!  We have an abundant selection of cool season veggies (think, kale, chard, brassicas, etc.)  that are very keen to get into the soil!  We have four types of potato starts (see below), two types of asparagus (Jersey Knight and Purple Passion), and two remaining selections of onion starts (Copra and Walla Walla).  In addition, our Botanical Interests, Seed Savers, and Beauty Beyond Belief seeds have been restocked, including warm season seeds.   And, if that weren’t enough, our tomato starts have rolled in!  We’re excited about our selections this year and hope that you’ll stop by to get yours soon!  See below for information on early tomato planting.  

We also continue to receive abundant deliveries of fabulous pesticide-free, interesting and unique perennials!   As you clean-up your garden this spring, don’t let rose pruning intimidate you!  This Saturday at 1:00, Eve will demonstrate and discuss why and how to prune roses in a fearless and confident manner. It’s a very popular and valuable class!  See below for more details and call 303-939-9403 to reserve your seat!  

Another helpful spring tool is our new horticultural vinegar.  Green Gobbler is 20% acidity (versus the 2-3% acidity of white kitchen vinegar) and is an effective treatment for emerging and established weeds. Tough dandelions may need repeat application for best results.  Best of all, by using horticultural grade vinegar, you avoid the negative environmental impacts of products containing glyphosate. 

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

Help wanted at Harlequin’s Gardens Doing plant production: planting, watering, weeding, and propagation of organic-no toxic pesticide plants. Physical outdoor work five days a week thru October, possibly later.   
Send your resume to

CURRENT TOMATO AVAILABILITY  Below is our current listing of tomatoes.  Please see our website for descriptions. 

Aunt Gertie’s Gold
Black Cherry
Black from Tula (pictured right, top)
Black Prince
Black Sea Man
Burbank Slicing
Cream Sausage
Everett’s Rusty Oxheart
Gardener’s Delight
Gold Medal
Gold Nugget
Honey Drop
Kellogg’s Breakfast
Malachite Box
Paul Robeson
Pink Brandywine
San Marzano Redorta
Striped German
Sungold hyb.
Super Sioux / Super Lakota
Super-Sweet 100 (pictured right, bottom) 
Weaver’s Black Brandywine
EARLY TOMATO PLANTING  If you want to get an early start on your tomatoes and other warm-season vegetables, it’s important to provide a warm and protected environment for them.  Here’s how you can get the best results. 
SOIL THERMOMETER  For just a few dollars, a soil thermometer can be one of your most valuable garden guides.  Soil temperatures directly affect plant growth, and different plants need different soil temperatures in which to thrive.  Tomatoes need a minimum soil temperature of 55+ Fahrenheit. Planting in cold soil can cause plants to be stunted and weak.
  SOLAR CAPS  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 we usually start planting tomatoes around April 15.  Solar Caps should be used when planting tomatoes between Mid-April and Mid-May. 
  For mountain gardeners: After the tomato plant reaches the top of the solar cap, you can leave the solar cap in place and insert your tomato cage directly into the solar cap (even when using a container or Earth Box!), or place it around the Solar Cap.  This will allow your tomato to remain warmer during cool summer nights. 
POTATO STARTS  We still have a good selection of potoato starts including 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 for descriptions.   KENNEBEC  (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.  MOUNTAIN ROSE   (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. PURPLE MAJESTY (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.
APRIL & MAY CLASS LIST 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 listing on our website.  
Sat, Apr 20 at 1 PM      
FEARLESS ROSE PRUNING with Eve Brawner 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
Sat, Apr 27 at 10 AM       
GETTING STARTED IN VEGETABLE GARDENING with Mimi Yanus 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 what you need to know to make your new organic vegetable garden successful and bountiful, even in Colorado conditions!  (Class repeated by popular demand!)  Class cost: $15

  Sat, Apr 27 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. (Rescheduled from April 14.  This is not a repeat of the Fall Pruning Class.) Class cost: $15

Sun Apr 28 at 10 AM
DRYER PLANTS FOR A NEW LANDSCAPE ERA with Kelly Grummons 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 ( and  Class cost: $20
  Sun Apr 28 at 1 PM      
GROWING GRAPES ON THE FRONT RANGE with John Martin 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
  MAY Sat, May 11 at 1 PM           
VERMICOMPOSTINGwith John Anderson  The many ways worms can save the planet – they are nature’s gift that keeps on giving! Worm Man, John Anderson, will explain why and how you can create worm compost. The hope and change we’ve been waiting for right under your feet!  Worms will be available for purchase at the class for $40, plus the class fee of $15.  Call 303-939-9403 to pre-order worms by April 30th at a $5 discount.
  Sat, May 18 at 10 AM        
GARDENING WITH FRIENDS: INVITING WILDLIFE INTO YOUR GARDEN THROUGH LANDSCAPING with Alison Peck  Living in a garden humming with life is a joy! Share you yard with birds, butterflies, pollinators and more.  You’ll learn how to provide a home for all life (maybe not deer), and why insects are a gardener’s friend, not the enemy. We’ll discuss overall landscape design strategies, as well as detailed information on plants that provide wildlife habitat, including many native plants. Alison has been designing landscapes for 25 years; she owns Matrix Gardens landscaping. Class cost: $15.  Sat, May 18 at 1 PM           
SUCCESSFUL HIGH-ALTITUDE LANDSCAPE GARDENING with Irene Shonle Mountain gardening is a challenge, with the short growing season, cold winters, water rights issues, critters and more. In this class, Irene will talk about ways to work with these challenges, and will discuss a palette of good mountain-hardy perennials, shrubs and trees that are low-water and provide pollinator/bird benefits. Irene Shonle is the Director of CSU Extension in Gilpin County. She holds a PhD in Ecology from U. of Chicago. She teaches and writes about native plants all across the state and is very involved with the Native Plant Master Program. She gardens (mostly with natives) in the mountains at her home and in demo gardens outside the Extension Office. Class cost: $15
  Sun, May 19 at 10 AM
Tomato Tutelage 
with Kelly Grummons: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW TO GROW GREAT TOMATOES! This class takes the mystery out of growing good tomatoes in our area. You always hear “It’s a good tomato year” or “It’s a bad tomato year”. Learn how to make EVERY year a “good tomato year”! Kelly will discuss garden soil preparation, culture in the ground and in pots, nutrition, tomato pests and diseases. Learn about the best varieties to grow here and how to maximize your harvest. Kelly Grummons is a horticulturalist and tomato aficionado. Class Cost: $20
  Sun, May 19 at 1 PM     
with Mikl Brawner Learn which varieties of fruit trees are successful here, which are not, and which are good flavored: Apples, Cherries, Plums, Pears, Peaches. Mikl’s first orchard was in 1976 and he will teach you how to care for your fruit trees. Class cost: $15
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  Social Media Please follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for the most up-to-date information and photos!   We’re looking forward to seeing you this week!  In gratitude,
Eve, Mikl
and the super hard-working Staff at Harlequin’s Gardens

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