Mountain Gardening And The Challenges – Part 2

Reader Contribution by Bruce Mcelmurray
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When I wrote the prior blog about the challenges of mountain gardening I didn’t have the above  photo.  My good friend Armando and his wife Melissa and his mom Kathy read about my struggles with growing zucchini and decided to come to my aid.  Earlier today they brought me some of their zucchini to demonstrate what “real” zucchini look like.  So I put one of my zucchini with theirs to show just how difficult gardening at 9,750′ elevation can be.  If you haven’t guessed my zucchini is the one in the middle and their zucchini surround it.  I carry sprinkler can after sprinkler can all summer long to water my zucchini and my good friends who clearly have a green thumb show me how they are suppose to look.

In addition to the zucchini they brought some beets and turnips.  I attribute my very tasty ‘little’ zucchini not getting any bigger to the higher elevation and cold nights and lack of gardening skills.   San Luis valley clearly  has better soil, higher temperatures, and more favorable growing conditions. I guess I should also admit that they have better gardeners in San Luis valley as well.    I thought that the above photo clearly reveals that growing vegetables at high elevation and colder climate -vs- at a more favorite altitude was so remarkable that it would make my previous point that growing vegetables in the mountains presents its own unique challenge. 

I really appreciate my successful gardener friends, Armando, Melissa and Kathy for sharing their harvest with me.  For me to obtain a complete meal of my zucchini I would have to plant hundreds of plants and it is nice to have friends who are willing to share. I hated to pick my little zucchini for demonstration purposes because i keep hoping it would grow up but when I saw what they had grown I realized that if I had two life times  of warm weather at a lower elevation I couldn’t grow anything like that.  The pitiful part is that I will probably try again next year with the same result.  Gardening is fun and satisfying even when you lack growing skills like I have.  It is nice to have good friends when you lack having a green thumb however. 

For more about Bruce and Carol McElmurray and our victories and failures go to: