Jaipi Sixbear is an established author of hundreds of helpful online articles. Jaipi learned to garden at an early age. She has old and new tips and tricks for growing your best garden ever.
Living the Denver life is gaining in popularity. Those moving to the Mile High City from colder locations might think the vegetable growing season is quite long. Those moving from warmer climates might wish it were longer. Experienced gardeners know that it always pays to extend the growing season, no matter where you’re from or where you live now. Here’s some helpful tips for lengthening the Denver growing season, whether you’re a native or any kind of transplant.
Starting seeds early can be very beneficial. The more mature a vegetable plant is at planting time, the sooner it will be able to be harvested. Since some plants will produce again after the first picking, this gives an additional harvest before the first frost in the fall.
Obviously, using a greenhouse enables you to start seeds earlier. However, even if you don’t have a greenhouse, you can utilize east facing windows to maximize light.
When starting seedlings, don’t forget the second batch. Planting the same seeds, 2 weeks apart gives you back up. More importantly, doing so also means that if all goes well, you’ll have two harvests, thus extending the growing season.
Don’t be in such a rush to lengthen the growing season that you plant too soon. When you do plant, give plants protection from spring elements. Warm weather vegetables stay healthier if planted when all danger of frost is gone. Wait for optimum conditions. Planting later may not seem to extend the growing season, but remember, a dead plant produces nothing.
Cool season vegetables like lettuce and peas may not produce all year in the hot Denver sun. To extend the growing season of these plants, keep them well shaded and plant twice. It may even be possible to get a third harvest in if you monitor plants well.
Varieties that tolerate heat are ideal for Denver. Modify conditions to suit the rest. All vegetables are not created equal. All varieties of vegetables grow fairly well in Denver. Heat tolerant plants grow better and stay strong longer. Still, you can utilize shade cloth, plant location and more for optimum growth on the others.
Don’t give up on your vegetable garden too soon in the fall. Be sure that as your enthusiasm for gardening wanes, your garden care doesn’t wane along with it. Extend the Denver growing season by continuing to water, weed and fertilize on a regular basis into the fall.
Frost protection in both spring and fall will extend the Denver vegetable growing season. Watch for nights that are clear, cool and dry. This is when the frost danger is high. Cover new plants with plastic buckets or plant pots. Larger plants may need to be covered with a tarp or blanket.
Denver often experiences “Indian Summer”. Don’t pack up the rake and shovel at the first sign of cold weather. Hot days may return. Plus, that cold snap may even add a unique flavor to veggies, as long as you protect them from frost. For instance, the best apples experience a cold snap prior to picking.
What if you wait too long to put your garden to bed? Just because your Denver vegetables have experienced a freeze, don’t assume they’re dead. They may look a bit bedraggled but make a miraculous recovery to extend the growing season. After a frost, wait a couple weeks before removing any plants that look the worse for wear. Doing so might save some of your best produce.