Before the snow melts: Time to plan your vegetable garden
April 3, 2009
Let your eyes adjust to the sun shining later in the day. Let your arms adjust to a day here and there without a jacket. Let your mind adjust to the idea that ski/snowmobile/ice fishing season is almost over and start looking ahead.
Now – long before the ground is ready – is time to plan your garden.
Last week, the CSU Extension Office, Carol Morales of Morales Farms and the Grand County Libraries hosted a workshop titled “What can grow in Grand County.” It was the second part in a four part series designed to get area gardeners ready for summer.
“I start the class by telling people what they did in Florida doesn’t matter,” Morales said. “What matters is that you’ve learned something about soil amending, but what you’re able to grow and what grows easily here is quite different.”
If you plan ahead, Grand County has a growing season that stretches from May 1 to mid-October, depending on the weather.
Morales Farms plants spinach and garlic in the fall. The seeds lie dormant under the ground all winter and sprout when the ground thaws in May. Horseradish, shallots and perennials can also be planted in May.
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If you didn’t plant anything last fall, plan to put your first seeds in the ground around the first week of June.
The first step to planning a garden is to make a list of what your family eats, then cross reference the list with the list of vegetables that will grow here. (See sidebar.)
Seeds appropriate for this climate are available at all Ace Hardware stores in Grand County.
If you are going to grow your own transplants – broccoli and brussel sprouts cannot be grown from seed in Grand County – count back six weeks from the date you want to plant. Don’t start growing too early or your plants will be leggy and unhealthy by the time you get them to the garden.
In the Grand Community Gardens, which have sites in Granby, Kremmling and Hot Sulphur Springs, popular and successful crops are spinach, lettuce, peas, radishes, beets, carrots and potatoes.
“We encourage people to grow hearty vegetables and then only one or two tender plants that need a lot of attention,” Morales said. “Especially if you are a first time gardener in this climate. Then you won’t be setting yourself up for failure and you’ll want to garden again next year.”