Get ready for gardening!

SUBLETTE COUNTY – The Sage & Snow Garden Club hosted its first-ever gardening swap in honor of Earth Day at the Pinedale Library’s Lovatt Room and gardeners from all across the county showed up to boost their morale. On offer were seed packets, some hand-dried by local gardeners, as well as catalogues, planters, accessories, straw hats and boxes overflowing with brightly colored artificial flowers.

Then Sublette County’s famous master gardener and teacher Arlinda McLaughlin condensed hours of her classes into one presentation, “Easy Flowers and Vegetables.” The audience was rapt as she showed slides of local gardens and greenhouses and passed out samples of different potting mixes, soil amendments and nutrients.

McLaughlin gave tips on planning a garden, whether in the ground, in raised beds or containers. More sunlight, less wind and plenty of water are basics. She pointed out Sublette County’s very short growing season, advising gardeners look for seeds or starter plants that are suitable for zones 2 or 3 or are frost-tolerant. Our native soils are generally alkaline with little organic matter or nitrogen, meaning many flowers and vegetables will need attention throughout their seasons.

In a nutshell, the easiest vegetables to grow from seed are salad greens like lettuces, spinach and arugula. Next are the “cooking greens” such as kale and Swiss chard.

Moving on are root vegetables including beets, radishes, carrots, beets, turnips and kohlrabi.

Onions and garlic fit in here as well, as do potatoes, peas and asparagus.

Many starters to transplant will become available soon, such as cabbages, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.

As for flowers, McLaughlin points to gifted gardeners sharing a lot of old-time plants with roots, cuttings and seeds from established plants that might be decades old. Some of the easiest to grow are the perennials in old homestead or settlers’ gardens – like Oriental poppies, hollyhocks, Sweet William, delphiniums, bleeding heart, coneflowers, salvia, peonies, cosmos, catmints and day lilies.

One favorite, purple dame’s rocket, was just outlawed by Sublette County Weed & Pest.

Even hardy annuals can thrive if planted here after the frost, she said, such as alyssum, bachelor’s buttons, lobelia, marigolds, pansies, petunias and snapdragons.

To see how she and Sage & Snow Garden Club members put all of this together, people can walk by the Water Wise Garden at Maybell and Magnolia, join the club to participate in planting downtown Pinedale’s summer petunia barrels, attend the annual garden tour or stop by 217 S. Lincoln Ave. in Pinedale. McLaughlin always welcomes visitors to look around and as of June 1, she’ll be planting outside in her raised beds, hoop houses and containers. She also uses movable greenhouses for delicate plants like tomatoes.

McLaughlin provided a simplified handout for the program she will share and invites anyone with questions or looking for in-depth information on specific crops – vegetables, herbs, flowers, berries and fruit – to email her at [email protected].

Sage & Snow Garden Club is also online and on Facebook for membership ($10 a year for the entire family) and upcoming events. New members are always welcome.

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