A Late Season Garden

Kale & peas_ColoSpgs-CO_LAH_7909I didn’t plant this year’s veggie garden until mid-August. No, I wasn’t procrastinating. I just had to wait for the new boxes to be built, filled with topsoil and compost, and the drip lines put into place. While we moved to our new house in May, the landscaper didn’t start until the end of July—and my veggie boxes turned out to be the last thing they did.

Now I have two 4-foot wide raised planters, each about 10 feet long. (My garden got downsized along with the rest of my life.) I love the “rumble stone” bricks we used—they’re comfy to sit on as I weed and harvest. The boxes are a little over two feet tall (they’re on a slope, so it varies) and we filled them to about 10 inches from the top. I wanted some headroom for adding future amendments and so I can lay clear panels over the edges to create coldframes as needed.

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Weed? Or Wonderful?

LAH_7583Everything is growing. Buds are bursting, early flowers are in bloom, and millions of tiny seeds are breaking through the soil into eager growth. It’s a wonderful time of year, and a busy one for gardeners. As we sow seeds and pull weeds, the question arises—which is which? Should we dig out that clump of green, or is it a desirable plant?

This is especially difficult if it’s a new yard, and this is our first chance to see what’s growing in it. Let me tell you a short story illustrating my gardening ineptitude.

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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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Oops! I Forgot to Mention That

K garden 3Last spring, our daughter and son-in-law moved into their first home. For the first time, she has a yard of her own. And being my daughter, of course she couldn’t wait to grow her own veggies. Although they moved in March, her advanced state of pregnancy took priority, and instead of carrots and beans, she grew an adorable baby girl. But this year, it’s time to garden!

At first, things seemed to go well. We consulted on the best crops and varieties for her area, and she wrote away for some local seed companies’ catalogs. Seeds were ordered in plenty of time, the packets arrived, and she started preparing the garden space where things were to grow.

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My Garden Miracle

hens_home after fire_LAH_4008-1Our forced evacuation dragged on and on. Glued to the news, we prayed for the firefighters, for those losing homes, for protection for our own home. So far, the closest the flames had come was about three blocks. Thank you God!

On Thursday we called the Humane Society to ask if there was any way to rescue my chickens. I realized they were lower priority than horses, dogs, and other pets and livestock, but maybe if someone was in the area anyway? I was sure they had used up their food and water by now.

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The Garden and the Fire

Photo by by sierachris
Photo by by sierachris

I had planned to write an interesting and informative post about woodpeckers for today, but life was interrupted this past week. I’m sure you’ve heard about the massive fire in Black Forest, Colorado. Well, guess where we live… yup, Black Forest, Colorado. We were evacuated within hours of the fire’s start, and have been unable to get back into our house until now. We are grateful that we still have a house to get back into!

You can read more about our personal experience on my other blog, www.compost-blog.com. Today I’d like to share about what I am calling the miracle garden.

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My Favorite Seed Catalogs – Part 2

More of my favorite seed catalogs. Don’t miss Part 1!

Johnny’s Selected Seeds
Another Maine company, Johnny’s is responsible for the development of over a dozen familiar varieties such as Diva cucumbers (I love these), Lipstick and Carmen peppers, and AAS winter Bright Lights chard. Maybe it’s due to their breeding program, but somehow their catalog seems more scientific than those from other companies. I like to keep it on hand just as a reference, although I’ve purchased seeds from them as well. They include a germination chart for each crop, showing the optimal soil temperatures for sowing. Since I time my spring planting by a combination of calendar and soil thermometer, this is very useful information. They also carry a big selection of organic seeds.

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