The Utility Notification Center of Colorado
It’s not fall yet, but it’s time to plant your fall vegetable garden!

There is something very special about fall in Colorado. The leaves are stunning and the gardens are full. In Colorado you must always call before you dig, so get your tickets in early if your garden will require any type of digging project. 

It’s Already Time to Plan your Fall Vegetable Garden 

Believe it or not, it’s time to start planning your fall vegetable garden. Really.

Time waits for no gardener, especially when it comes to the fast-flying days of summer. If you want to keep harvesting fresh vegetables long after other gardeners are relaxing on the couch, you’ll need to start soon.

Cool-season vegetables help extend the gardening season, especially if they can be ready to harvest in about 60-80 days. The easiest method is to buy transplants of fall crops, although seeds work for some veggies, too.

The key to fall gardening success is selecting vegetables with the shortest time to maturity and then timing the planting. The goal is to make sure vegetables are ready to harvest before the really cold weather arrives.

Use a calendar to count back from the date of the average first frost for your area and match that to the number of days to maturity for each fast-growing vegetable you want to plant.

In Denver the average is around the first week in October, though it can be earlier or later. If 60-day broccoli is planted in mid-July, plan for a late September harvest. (Plants will be slower-growing than in summer.)

Other fall vegetable choices include beets, carrots, radishes, kohlrabi, parsnips and peas. Look for varieties that are promoted as cold-tolerant.

Read the full article here: It’s already time to plan your fall vegetable garden

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By Harriet
Tough Soil Turned Gardening Gold: How to Grow a Successful Garden in Colorado

Gardening in Colorado changes depending on what region of the state you are in. In general, soil is tough and it can be hard to find the motivation to grow a sustainable garden. The steps required to start a garden may look intimidating, but after your first harvest it will all be worth it. First, make sure to call utility location services (811) to ensure no buried utility lines will be hit. Second, choose the perfect combination of seeds that you want to grow. Third, actually plant those seeds and watch them go! A vital part of any garden is having the perfect soil. Read below about how to turn that rough Colorado soil into gardening gold! 

How to turn Colorado’s tough soil into gardening gold

As any Colorado gardener who has put shovel to dirt can tell you, the hard clay here is a challenge under the best of circumstances. But with much of the topsoil gone, it was near-impossible.

“We started with something like pottery,” Wann says. “We couldn’t get a Rototiller in during the early years. It was sun-baked clay and sandy.”

Often, some digging and a couple of trips to the garden store is enough to get started. Even so, one thing holds true of both monumental and simple garden experiences: the soil continues to get better with time and effort. That’s important, especially with organic gardens, because building a loose, fertile soil is a major factor in garden success.

“Sometimes, it takes three to five years of adding organic matter to get decent planting,” he says. “It’s not that you can’t plant each year, but that it gets better each year.”

For gardeners converting a spot in their yards, he suggests renting or buying a tiller to break up the ground if you’re planning a good-sized space or if you don’t have the time or energy to use a shovel.


In Colorado especially, compost is the gardener’s friend. While you may compost food scraps at home, it’s hard for the average family to produce enough to amend the soil in their garden. You can buy compost, though, and Smith suggests adding compost to break up the soil and add organic matter. Till the soil after adding to mix the compost in well. Repeat with a couple of inches of compost each year. If the soil you start with seems particularly unpromising, add both purchased garden soil and compost.


Smith suggests adding a granular fertilizer with the compost each year before planting and tilling it or digging it to root-depth in the soil. He also advises gardeners to use a water-soluble liquid fertilizer for the plants during the growing season. Gardeners may choose organic or non-organic options.

Read the full article here:
 How to turn Colorado’s tough soil into gardening gold – The Denver Post

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By Harriet
Don’t be a conductor … of electricity

Electricity flows through water almost as easily as it travels through the wire that brings electricity to your house. Your body is made up of 60-70 percent water, so if you touch electricity it will flow through you and you will be badly hurt.

Understanding that contact with electricity can result in serious injury or even death should inspire people to do everything possible to avoid incidental contact with it. But many don’t think twice about the potential hazards of contacting an electrical line.

There are dozens of ways that you can check for electrical hazards to help prevent personal injury. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe:

  • ALWAYS assume that electric lines and equipment are energized, even when overhead lines are lying on the ground and/or equipment is damaged.
  • Before working outside, always look up and all around for overhead electric lines.
  • Keep yourself and any tool you’re using at least 10 feet away from overhead electric lines and carry all tools horizontally, especially ladders.
  • If a fallen power line is resting on or near your vehicle, stay in the vehicle until first responders clear the scene.
  • NEVER swim in or near marinas, docks, boatyards, or anywhere electricity is provided near water, as the electrical current could cause electric shock drowning.
  • Don’t overload your home’s electrical circuits and”>know the warning signsto watch for.
  • ALWAYS call 811 before you dig to learn where utility-owned lines and equipment are buried so you can safely dig around them.
  • Call 911 first in an emergency, then Xcel Energy at 1.800.895.1999.

You can never be too safe when it comes to electricity, knowing where an underground wire location is near your home becomes a quick and easy way to eliminate the possibility of danger.

Read the original article here: Don’t be a conductor … of electricity – Xcel Energy Connect Blog

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By Harriet
Weld County Damage Prevention Golf Tournament

WCDPC 2017 Golf Flyer.Final

Join the Weld County Damage Prevention Council for their 10th annual damage prevention golf tournament on Saturday, September 30, 2017 at Eaton Country Club. Click here to download the team registration form.

Entry fees are due with completed team registration forms no later than September 20, 2017. Please make checks payable to Weld County DPC and mail with registration to WCDPC P.O. Box 200457 Evans, CO 80620. Registration forms can be sent to Russ Hartley at

For questions please contact Russ Hartley at (970) 304-2042 or Darrel Vanhooser at (303) 875-4768.

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By Whitney Cregger
Utility locaters kept hopping by booming Colorado Springs economy

An economic growth trifecta of new-home construction, voter-approved road rehabilitation, and remodeling projects has produced a flood of calls for underground locater services.

“The Colorado Springs economy is booming, and we’re certainly feeling it,” said Sean Daugherty, customer care field supervisor for locating for city-owned Colorado Springs Utilities. It is great news that Colorado utility locate tickets have been increasing since last year. 

By law, property owners and contractors are required to have utilities flagged before a shovel or backhoe hits the dirt on anything from installing a fence and planting trees to adding a garage or deck.

Requests for the free program are increasing in leaps and bounds, Daugherty said.

“We’re on track to more than surpass 2016 numbers,” he said.

The department fielded 68,490 residential and commercial calls last year through the state’s 811 hotline. That was 10,000 requests above the totals for 2015 and 2014, Daugherty said.

It’s the same story statewide, said Whitney Cregger, spokeswoman for Colorado 811. The nonprofit Utility Notification Center of Colorado, based in Golden, operates the state’s call center, which is also known as Colorado 811.

Notifications for locater services throughout the state increased 9 percent last year over 2015, Cregger said, and are up 4.5 percent this year through May.

Read the full article here: Utility locaters kept hopping by booming Colorado Springs economy

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By Harriet
June 2017 CGA Newsletter

Screenshot 2017-07-06 15.06.44

The June 2017 CGA newsletter is now available, read it here.

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By Whitney Cregger
Home ‘Excavation Safety Day’ combines area emergency personnel

Similar to Colorado utility locate services, this demonstration showed off why it is so important to always call 811. 

First responders and utility, oil and gas and Kerr County personnel joined together June 15 for the “Hill Country Excavation Day” and took part in dynamic hands-on scenario safety training. A key point throughout the training was use of the State of Texas’ nonprofit service to “call 811 before you dig to get underground utilities located for free.”

This event was open to the public, and some participating adults brought their children to see the events.

A demonstration was provided by Kerrville Public Utility Board personnel in a highly visible “arc and spark” event, to highlight the dangers of working around live electricity, downed power lines and other dangerous situations.

The KPUB presentation included information that crew members are supposed to wear a hardhat, a high-visibility vest, safety glasses, steel-toed or sturdy workboots, earplugs and gloves. Flame-resistant long-sleeved shirts also were stressed; and combining all that means it’s always hot work. Professionals aren’t allowed to dress for the hot weather and work in sleeveless t-shirts and no protection anymore.

The KPUB demonstration included hitting a series of objects with live electricity to show how easily almost anything will conduct electricity.

They started with a live wire, and progressed to a section of cyclone fence, an aluminum ladder, a hot dog to mimic the water content of a human body, a piece of cotton t-shirt and part of a tree limb. All allowed arcs of electricity to flash between the source and through the common objects.

Read the full article here: ‘Excavation Safety Day’ combines area emergency personnel

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By Harriet
Colorado’s bears are awake. Here’s how to keep yourself — and them — safe

If you are planning a weekend digging project of course, call utility location services (811), but if you plan to go up into the mountains, you might want to read this first! 

Whether they are raiding apartments in Vail, trashing cars in Aspen or Steamboat Springs, or disrupting foot races in Boulder or Colorado Springs, Colorado bears are out in full force. The weather is warming up and as the rising human population encroaches into bear territory, interactions between humans and bruins are becoming increasingly common.

But there are things you can do to reduce potential conflict. Colorado Parks and Wildlife spokeswoman Jennifer Churchill offered some of the best ways to keep you, your belongings and the bears safe, whether you live in bear country or you’re just visiting during the summer months.

Camping/hiking in bear country

  • If a campground provides bear boxes to stow your food and other items, like toothpaste, that smell delicious to bears, the likelihood of a bear showing up to search for a food reward in pretty high. “There are bear boxes at campsites,” Churchill said. “Use them!”
  • Buy a bear-resistant cooler. “They’re pricey and many people won’t want to make the commitment, but they will save your car from bears,” Churchill said.
  • Hide your food out of plain sight, in a locked car. “As a last resort, lock your food up in a car/trunk. If you’re in the backcountry it is recommended that you hang your food far up high between trees in a bag,” Churchill said.
  • Keep your sleeping areas clean. “Don’t bring anything in the tent with a scent,” Churchill said. “No toothpaste, food, deodorant. Don’t wear the clothes you cooked in, keep them with your food.”
  • Keep your kids safe. “Teach your kids how to treat and interact with wildlife or any animals they don’t know,” Churchill said. “We have a SMART sheet on our website to teach kids what to do when they encounter wildlife.”
  • Having a healthy fear of bears not only keeps you safe, but also keeps them alive. “The more folks we have in Colorado, the more visitors, they don’t do the right things and chase them off. It’s great to get cool photos of wildlife, but if a bear, or any wildlife, is changing it’s behavior, you’re too close,” she said.

Colorado’s bears are awake. Here’s how to keep yourself — and them — safe

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By Harriet
Questions We Can Answer About Colorado’s Order To Inspect Wells And Flowlines

Questions We Can Answer About Colorado’s Order To Inspect Wells And Flowlines

An April 17 home explosion in Firestone, Colorado, that killed two and hospitalized a third, has been traced back to an abandoned flowline that bled off gas from a nearby wellhead into the soil next to the home’s foundation.

The incident prompted an initial voluntary shutdown of wells from three operators, renewed attention to the friction between expanding urban areas and oil and gas development, and an order from Gov. John Hickenlooper for oil and gas operators to inspect active and abandoned flowlines.

Frederick-Firestone Fire Protection District investigators concluded May 2 that the flowline was improperly abandoned, meaning it wasn’t capped at both the well end and the far end of the line. The well was inactive for some time. When it was brought back into production in January 2017, methane and propane seeped into the soil near the home of Mark and Erin Martinez from the uncapped line. The gas moved from the soil into the home through a French Drain and sump pit, according to investigators. In contrast to leaking utility pipelines which contain the rotten egg smell — mercaptan — this gas was unscented.

If homeowners are planning to dig underground, they should dial 811, or go to Colorado 811. The nonprofit has a computer system that routes the request to the proper company, including utilities, cable providers and oil and gas operators. They have three days to process the request. If there are lines that homeowners needs to steer clear of, it’s the company’s responsibility to mark on the property where they are. Always remember to call before you dig. 

“We never want anybody out there excavating without having the proper locations out there,” said Colorado 811 Chief Executive Officer J.D. Maniscalco. “If they are ever in doubt. Call us back. Ask for a second notice to be sent.”

READ MORE: 7 Questions We Can Answer About Colorado’s Order To Inspect Wells And Flowlines 


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By Harriet
What to Consider When Selecting the Most Unique Landscaping Ideas for Colorado


traditional-landscapeBought a home in Colorado and don’t know what to do with your sizable new yard? There are countless examples of houses that have been completely transformed through simple landscaping tricks. Whether you want a classy garden, lots of oxygen-giving trees or stone structures and walkways that are completely out of this world, the best Colorado landscaping experts will be able to help you out.


The Most Popular Landscaping Ideas for Colorado


Compared to other states, Colorado is somewhat trickier for landscaping professionals, since there are many regulations pertaining to the climatic and geographic circumstances associated with the landscaping projects in the area. From high altitudes, to low precipitation, to extreme cold weather, there are many factors that could lead to experts pulling the plug on many of your ideas.


So what’s left to consider? As it turns out, you can actually opt for a diverse and imaginative range of landscaping elements you can consider for your projects:


  • Vegetables and herbs is definitely bigger today than it used to be. As a landscaping solution, it has caught on in Colorado, and you can now ask landscaping experts to incorporate unusual

herbs into your potted plants and add basil, kale or thyme to your flowering garden.

  • Outdoor living and exterior lighting is a growing trend as Colorado residents continue to expand their outdoor living areas. You can opt for stylish, natural looking outdoor furniture combined with “dark sky” lighting that reduces pollution and allows you to stargaze more easily.
  • Xeriscaping is also a growing trend that shows much more promise today than in recent years. Now xeriscaping is all about groundcovers, colorful flowers and beautiful trees, as well as the addition of texture and color to the smart use of water.


Hiring a Qualified Landscaping Contractor


Landscaping is only easy when conducted by licensed, highly professional and highly experienced local Colorado experts.


To make sure you’re getting the most out of your landscaping deal, consider landscaping contractors that have at least 5-10 years of experience in the business, and can provide you with copies of their license, insurance policies and testimonials from satisfied customers who have used their services in the past.

Before you landscape, call 811 to find underground cables, wires and pipes.

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By Harriet