This month the big Maine vegetable seed company, Johnny’s Selected Seeds, reports the strongest growth year in their history, 30 to 50 percent. They say their discussions with other seed companies reveal they are up just as much (New England Cable News, February 16, 2009).
What can be recommended to these many new gardeners? Front Range Colorado is certainly not their mother’s or grandmother’s gardening circumstances on the East Coast or in the Midwest. In those humid climates growing conditions are more predictable.
Our Front Range area features a short spring for growing cool season vegetables, hot summers with cool nights problematic for heat loving vegetables, and a short growing season. Actual frosts may be a month earlier or later than the average last spring frost and first fall frost. Intense sunlight and dry air both tax plants. Then there are the predominant heavy clay soils discussed in the last post.
Don’t assume that advice given for growing in other climate areas is going to work here. Know the Front Range soil and climatic challenges you are up against. Prepare the soil with amendments, observe narrow planting times and use climate modification measures for a big payoff. Future posts will discuss many of these techniques for success.
[Seed packet photo credit Carl Wilson]