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Gardening At High Elevation and Volunteerism

| 5/30/2017 9:55:00 PM

garden box

Challenges of High Altitude Gardening

Growing our own vegetables at 9,800’ elevation is difficult. I have written blogs on this before but seem to forget just how difficult it is in subsequent years. Last year for example I had to start the garden three times because the weather would be ideal with temperatures in the 70’s and a few days later it would be freezing and snowing again. This year I resisted being tempted to plant early but still we had two late incidences of cold and 4-5” of snow.

Fortunately the seeds had not germinated yet so I did not have to replant. It is the end of May and the seeds are just now peeking up out of the ground. In September the nights will start to be cool again and the growing will slow down dramatically. We are able to grow leaf vegetables but root vegetables rarely mature. We have tried hot boxes and starting seedlings inside; however, nothing has worked very well. Possibly a greenhouse would give an extended season but our community is a covenant community and they are not allowed.

As can be seen in the photo we grow in fully enclosed garden boxes which are surrounded on all sides with ½” hardware screen. (see photo) In addition to a short growing season and unpredictable weather we have voles, moles, chipmunks, ground squirrels and deer that will eat vegetables. Even our earth boxes that we put on our elevated deck have to have hardware screen over them to keep the critters out. Gardening at this elevation takes perseverance, patience and lots of determination.

We have grown carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli and occasionally beets. The carrots do not grow to full size but are delicious and flavorful but immature in size. The cauliflower and broccoli are the same. The beets are small and tend to lean to the stringy side but the top greens are delicious steamed and lightly sprinkled with apple cider vinegar


This is a two subject blog and the second half is about volunteering to help others. We have for the past several years invited a local charity to come out and cut up the dead trees on our property. This past winter we had hurricane strength winds and some of the heaviest and wettest snow we have ever experienced. We calculate that we have lost 50+ trees to the harsh conditions (see photo). With some favorable breaks in the weather they brought one of their volunteer groups out last week.

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