Monday, February 15, 2010

Vegetable varieties for high elevation Front Range areas

Larry Stebbins of Pikes Peak Urban Gardens recently spoke at the green industry ProGreen conference at the Colorado Convention Center. His favorite vegetable and herb varieties are listed below. If they grow at Colorado Springs elevations, they must be special. Varieties mentioned first in bold type are favorites. Other adapted varieties follow. If a variety is new to you, try it this season.

Artichoke Globe: Imperial Star (annual, 85 days from seed)
Asparagus: Jersey varieties
Basil: Genovese, Sweet Basil
Beans: Kwintus Pole, most bush varieties (Blue Lake, Tendergreen), Kentucky Wonder Pole
Beets: Detroit Dark Red, Bulls Blood, Chioggia
Broccoli: Premium Crop, Pacman, Early Dividend
Cabbage: most all, try Chinese varieties
Carrot: Mokum, Ya Ya, Kaleidoscope, Nelson, Danvers Half Long, Burpee A#1, Sugarsnax
Corriander: Santo
Corn Sweet: Bodacious, Ambrosia
Cucumber: Cool Breeze, burpless varieties
Garlic: Spanish Roja, Inchelium Red, Chesnok Red, Chet’s Italian
Kale: Red Russian, Redbor
Lettuce: Buttercrunch, romaines, leaf lettuces, mesclun mixes
Mustard: Osaka Purple, Mizuna
Onion: Candy, SuperStar White, Red Candy, Lisbon White Bunching, Copra, First Edition, Red Zeppelin
Parsnip: Hollow Crown
Peas: Sugar Ann, SugarSnap, Oregon Sugar Pod(snow pea), Garden Peas (Maestro, Wando and Marvel),
Pepper Sweet: Carmen, Green Bell (most varieties), Fooled You Jalapeño
Pepper Hot: Mexibell, Anaheim, Big Chile, Jalapeño, Mucho Nacho, Garden Salsa, New Mex Joe Parker
Potato: Russet, Yukon Gold, Red Norland
Radish: Cherry Belle, French Breakfast
Rutabaga: Laurentian
Spinach: Giant Noble, Tyee, Space, Melody, Bloomsdale
Squash Summer: Magda, zuchinni (most varieties), yellow, crookneck,
Squash Winter: Early Butternut, Table King or Table Ace Acorn, Buttercup, Spaghetti
Swiss Chard: Ruby, Rhubarb, Bright Lights, Neon, Fordhook
Tomato: Big Beef, Sweet Million or Sweet 100’s, Celebrity, Fantastic, Early Girl, Better Boy, Mortgage Lifter, Sweet Baby Girl


  1. My Big Beef tomatoes never work in my garden. I've tried three years in a row and while my cherry and early girls thrive, the big beef only grows a big plant with no fruit. Is there something I can do? The blooms just end up drying out every time!

  2. I'm so happy to have found your blog - I am a novice gardener in the Denver area, so it's helpful to have information specific to the climate and growing season here! Thank you for sharing your expertise!

  3. The flowers of some tomato flowers have stigmas that protrude beyond the staminate cone instead of hiding within it. Outside the cone the stigma tends to dry out and die before it can be pollinated to produce a flower. Varieties that work best in dry environments are ones with flower stigmas that hide within the cone. Compare the flowers of Big Beef to varieties that you have found productive and see if flower structure is responsible. If it is, choose appropriate varieties.