Come See My Garden!

Front yard_NewSantaFeTrl-COS-CO_LAH_2653I admit to feeling pretty good about my landscaping this year. I’ve been receiving compliments and relishing each and every one. All that hard work is paying off.

This is kind of our third summer in our new house. The first year, nothing got done outside until early August. Once the landscape was finally installed, we had a lovely long fall and the roots had time grow—but of course you can’t see that. Last summer, the woody plants still mostly sat there. I spent the growing season adding perennials, which was tons of fun, but being new, most of those didn’t grow much either.

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Seeds for Colorado

Glass Gem Corn. Photo: Seeds Trust Facebook page
Glass Gem Corn. Photo: Seeds Trust Facebook page

I love getting seed catalogs in the mail. The flowers are so big and bright, and the veggies are worthy of blue ribbons. Everything looks absolutely perfect. Just order these seeds and you too can have results like this!

Except, we live in Colorado. There’s a very good reason most seed companies are situated in places like South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Oregon, where the soil is fertile and the climate is conducive to growing most crops. With our erratic weather, often we don’t have time to ripen those luscious tomatoes. Long-season flowers freeze before they bloom. Isn’t there a seed company for us?

Yes, there is. Appropriately named High Altitude Gardens specializes in short season, cold-hardy varieties that thrive at higher elevations. If you live in the mountains, this is the seed catalog for you!

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Sky-High Pumpkins

ian-with-pumpkin-2010-10-31Cinderella rode to the ball in one. Peter kept his wife in another. At Halloween, we carve them into jack-o-lanterns. Today, we make pies* out of them.

Besides all that, pumpkins are nutritious (lots of Vitamin A, potassium, and fiber), delicious, and just plain fun. It’s not surprising, then, that I get so many questions on how to grow them.

Living at 7,000 feet as I do, pumpkins aren’t a sure bet in my veggie plot. Gardeners at the other end of town, 1,000 feet lower, are able to produce enough pumpkins to make them commercially successful. Here, I have to baby them along and hope for a long growing season.

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This Book Shouldn’t Be a Secret

“My zucchini plants produce flowers, but no squash. Why?”

“Every year my lettuce gets bitter, then blooms. How can I keep it from bolting?”

“I set out my broccoli two weeks before the last frost, when the books tell us to, but it never got big, and it only produced tiny one-inch heads. What did I do wrong?”

“I want to be a better veggie gardener. What book should I read?”

garden-secretsI’d just given a two hour talk on high altitude vegetable gardening, and a crowd of people surrounded me, anxious to ask questions.

Happily, I knew the answers to all those questions. That’s because I’ve read The Book of Garden Secrets. It’s the most helpful book on vegetable gardening I’ve ever read. Since I’ve read dozens of books on growing veggies, this is high praise indeed.

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