There is a growing health and wellness trend around the world.  Aside from the exercise and fitness regimens, people nowadays are also conscious with their food intake.  Whereas it was a novel concept before,the idea of eating food made from organic ingredients appeal to a wide range of people.  This may be the reason why there is also a growing interest with gardening and growing your own produce.

Spring Gardening

When gardening in Denver during Spring, it is best to prepare the condition of the general landscape first.   Clean up your raised beads by removing dead plants that are left over from last year. Prevent overcrowding and replant perennials in such as way that they will fully grow and mature.  Refresh and lightly prune ground cover plantings. Capture rainwater using rain barrels. A total of 110 gallons of water can be collected by using two sealable lid barrels. Soak roots of roses, shrubs, trees and fruits.  Soil health and quality should be the topmost priority on the onset of the outdoor gardening season. Do not let the soil to be compacted. Do not dig, work or walk in the garden soil when it is frozen or wet. Prepare your lawns by mowing them.  Lawn weeds should be removed. Take care of your vegetable garden by removing old vegetable roots as you work. Start with planting crops such as warm season vegetable and herb seeds such as pepper, ground cherry, tomatillo, tomato, eggplant, basil, chives, lemon balm, parsley, perilla and tarragon indoors.  Plant ornamental plants indoors then transport them outdoors in mid to late May. These ornamental plants are cosmos, cardinal climber, marigolds, nicotiana, moonflower and alyssum.

Summer Gardening

The planting and growing season in Colorado varies from other places since its duration is shorter compared to others.  There was the unusual appearance of snow in May, and the frequent rain showers and thunderstorms in June.

The trick is to plant your crops earlier to extend your growing season.  One way to do this is to have a personal greenhouse. Another trick for a successful summer garden is to get rid of some unwanted seedlings.  The rationale for this is that not all seeds will eventually grow, so when the seeds grow too close, you have to do the sacrifice of pulling out the ones that you think will not mature.  Also, be prepared with the likely possibility that your plants will be prone to attacks from different animals, such as birds and squirrels and from the harshness of the sun. One technique is to put a net on your plants, and to position a shade above the crops.   You should also watch out for mildew as it can produce fungus problems. Do not water spray the leaves as in actuality, wet leaves lose water due to evaporation. You should also remember to fertilize your crops throughout the growing season.

Fall Gardening

One of the most common misconceptions is that you cannot grow a garden during the fall season in Denver.  Seasoned farmers claim that it is actually feasible, and even recommended to grow a garden during fall, which is in late July to early September.   

It could be difficult to believe that Fall is conducive to gardening, but has some grain of truth to it.  Farmers say that cold season vegetables, like radishes, lettuce, kale, spinach, sugar snap peas and chard yield abundant harvests when planted during fall.  Even exotic vegetables such as tatsoi, mache, sorrel, Hon Tsai Tai and Chinese cabbage are greens that flourish in cooler temperatures.

Planting crops during summer time in Colorado may cause them to “bolt” during the months of June and July.  Bolting is defined as the premature emergence of flowering stems, subsequently stopping the crop’s leaf production.  Planting these same crops in a different Season, say, August or September, allows for the proper germination and maturity of seeds along with the cooling down of the temperature.  This also gives the soil some time to “heal” and “recharge” during winter, making it more conducive for crops like purple heirloom tomatoes, kohlrabi and beans, that will be planted in the spring.   

Using a Cold Frame.  Stretching the length of the fall planting season, starting in the spring until further into winter, can be done by attaching a cold frame to your raised beds.  Cold frames create an insulation and a micro-climate for plants. It makes it possible to harvest greens during snow-covered December. This is also good profit wise, since you can harvest ahead of other farmers, enjoying higher profitable gains.       

Barriers to Gardening in Denver

No matter what the season is, there will be a number of barriers to gardening in Denver.

 These are the following:

Shade.  There are crops that thrive in limited light.  There are also crops who need to be out in the sun, such as microgreens.  The trick is to harvest them in the shortest possible time.

Space.  There should be ample space for your crops.  The good news is that you do not need a big space for this as a 4x4 square is all you need to start planting.

Soil.  In general soil in Colorado is not of good quality.  To augment this, good soil is mixed with the not so good soil before planting commences.

Other factors such as pests, lack of technical know-how, among others, can pose a challenge to your gardening journey.  You should never give up. Instead, take note of all the things you’ve encountered and use these lessons for the next planting season.

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