Gardening may have to wait

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- Gardeners may have to wait a little bit longer when it comes to using your green thumb. Conditions in the valley are delaying our season for planting.

Typically gardeners would be getting ready to garden this time of year. The sun was shining today, but the temperatures were chilly. The National Weather Service issued a freeze warning tonight for temperatures expected to be in the upper 20's. Gardeners not only have to be concerned about cooler temperatures, but also with the drought facing the Grand Valley.

Nancy Lewis, a local artist and garden enthusiast, uses gardening as a form of relaxation.

“Knowing that you're gonna be growing something, it's gonna pop up, it's quiet, it's beautiful, it's physical and you get to each your produce,” explains Lewis.

And Lewis looks forward to planting her tomatoes every year.

"I think tomatoes are the reason to have a garden and everything else is support," said Lewis.

However, with cooler temperatures this month, Lewis may have to wait to use her green thumb. Susan Rose, a Horticultural Education Specialist at the Tri-River Area Extension of Colorado State University says gardeners should wait to plant certain crops.

“I would hold off on your cold-sensitive crops such as tomatoes and peppers and things like that," said Rose.

Impatiens, a popular plant known for adding color to gardens, is getting a lot of attention in the mid-west, east coast and the south for carrying downy mildew, but it's nothing to worry about here.

“This is a disease we don't generally see here at all- it really does not like hot conditions or dry conditions so I don't think we need to worry about it in Western Colorado," said Rose.

A concern for Western Colorado is the current drought the area is facing.

“Once your water gets on [your plants] don't rush to water everything a lot. It's probably a good idea to check your soil and the best way to check it is just to feel it," said Rose.

For now, Lewis, will stick to an old Palisade adage, when it comes to getting ready to garden this season.

“There's a saying in Palisade that you wait until the swan's neck is broken on the Mesa before you plant," said Lewis.

Joseph Burtard of Ute Water says landscaping is a high water consumption and domestic water users can save the most water by conserving the water they use outdoors.

Ute Water is working with the National Weather Service to determine if Mesa County will enter a Stage 2 Drought.

The announcement will be made on Friday.

If you have already started your gardening, Susan Rose says to cover what you've planted already, for the freeze warning tonight.

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