Soil ammendments

Asked June 4, 2015, 10:42 AM EDT

I come from Long Island NY,where I had a garden for many years.The soil there was very sandy but with a lot of work I made it work for me.I had a local resource where I could get all the compost I wanted for free.Here after one year as a resident I started something small next to my house.I planted a very small patch of string beans.It's been a week and no sprouts.By this time of the year in NY I would already have planted my second crop of beans.Maybe you could help me?Is it possible to get information on local farms who give away manure?I need something for this soil I have.I know how to farm a small back yard garden back east but here I find clay and lots of it.I know I won't have a big garden like I did but but I have no idea about local residents who like me want a small backyard garden and how they make it work. My residence is Monument and I live on a hillside plot.not much more I can say but I need help.I don't want to waste my money and find I need something else to do before I can plant.Again any information you can send or where to go for help would be greatly appreciated.

El Paso County Colorado

3 Responses

Thank you for your question.

80% of plant problems in Colorado are due to poor soil. So you are starting in the right place.

Here is a link from Colorado State University that, in detail, will give you many options. These options have been researched. Please read the information and let me know if you have any additional questions.

We do not have any lists of local farmers who give away manure.

Thanks for the information about soil amendments. I have another question.My backyard has a very steep gradient that I can't cut the grass till I can get a ride on tractor.My son is getting a ride on tractor and will cut mine as well as his He lives within 5 min. drive from me.His backyard is long but the sight that caught my attention was the wildflowers.I counted at least 10. Where can I get a mix of seed that has wild flowers in it?
Since this rain we have been having and the huge growth spurt,my grass in the backyard is close to 24" tall.Can I let it grow and not worry I did something wrong?Wild flowers in the open fields is one of the reasons I came to Colorado.With all the rain the flowers are blooming all over the fields.My backyard faces north toward Denver and from my view there is no obstruction other then roads and the occasional field house for a ranch.
On Long Island your wide open views where the beach and the sprawling sod farms.Your backyard was the same as your neighbor.Here the view is amazing
Any other information you could give me about backyard gardeners would be greatly appreciated


Thank you for following up.

I am not sure what type of grass you have but here is what Colorado State University recommends: mow bluegrass, ryegrass, fescue and wheatgrass to a height of 2 to 3 inches. Buffalo-grass and blue grama lawns can be mowed to this height, but also do well unmowed.

Letting your grass grow longer than that is unhealthy.

Good wildflower mixes can be found at most local garden shops. Try to avoid purchasing them at the big box stores as they tend to sell mixes for a region of the United States rather than local areas.

Here are a few links that you may find interesting regarding backyard gardening