- Jane Shellenberger
Gardening in Colorado Tips: Growing Vegetables
In order to grow healthy vegetable plants in Colorado, we need to:
Build healthy soil with organic matter and nutrients to create a healthy environment for the soil food web, (i.e., the mircoorganisms) and for plants.
Provide consistent irrigation as efficiently as possible – drip under mulch is best
Plant varieties that are adapted to our conditions (read seed packets)
Take the edge off our extreme conditions: Keep soil & plants warm in spring & fall using row cover, cold frames, plastic; Keep cool season crops from withering in heat & wind using mulch, shade cloth, shade from other plants or fences
Understand the difference between Cool & Warm Season Veggies: Crops like greens, broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, carrots & onions will germinate & grow in cooler soil and temperatures. They love our cool nights and high intensity UV sunlight and can be grown in early spring. We can also grow a fall crop of most greens here. Root crops (carrots, beets, potatoes) over-winter well under mulch for harvest through winter. Spinach will go dormant and grow again in spring for harvest.
Warm Season crops like squash, melons, and the nightshade family – tomatoes, eggplant, peppers – like warm soil and temperatures. Use techniques to warm soil for planting (microclimates, wall ’o waters, etc.) or grow varieties that have enough time to mature in our shorter growing season.