Gardening tips for Northern Colorado

Kristin Owens 7 a.m. MDT April 22, 2016

Vegetable gardens in raised boxes are a good idea in Colorado soil.(Photo: ommb, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Fresh, local ingredients just taste better, which explains the popularity of the farm-to-table movement. But, wholesome, organic goodness can come with a high price tag. So bring this trendhome: plant a vegetable garden and reap all the healthy rewards for a fraction of the cost.

Just think fresh veggies whenever you like. Not sure where to start? Our local experts provide the specific how-tos for our Coloradoclimate.

Buildit

Raised garden beds are great for Colorado. Re-purpose old railroad ties or purchase new weather-treated boards and create a rectangle. Jesse Eastman, owner of Fort Collins Nursery recommends beginners try a 4×8-foot container. Its a great starter size; allowing for a variety of plant sizes and easy reach to the beds center to weed and harvest. Use metal brackets to join the corners and a level to square-up the sides. Dont have a lot of space? Try container gardening. A large pot with drainage is all you need.

Fill ‘er up

Soil is the most important thing for growing vegetables, Kevin Goldsberry from Donlath Lake Greenhouse states. Fill the bed with brand new soil, but make sure to blend with the soil below to prevent an abrupt change, Eastman advises, since roots have a hard time burrowing down into the Colorado clay and establishing themselves. The soil should be about 8 inches deep.

The other option is amending the existing soil with compost. This can be grass clippings and kitchen scraps basically anything organic, to get nutrient-rich soil.Once filled, dump into an outside composter (check out: Redmon65-gallon Stationary Bin Composter at Lowes, $53.99), and eventually rotate into details for your garden the garden bed.

Once you get the hang of it, backyard vegetable gardens can be a wonderful food source.(Photo: Anne Greenwood, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Plant thoseveggies

For new gardeners, starter plants offer immediate gratification. Seeds are fun, but take a long time to get going. Starters are a few inches tall, providing a jump on the growing season. Space each plant according to its guidelines, leaving room to grow both up and out. Goldsberry advises planting after Mothers Day and by July, veggies will be ready to harvest.

Three no-fail options for beginners are:

1. Tomatoes Eastman advises the Sun Gold cherry tomato (sweet) and the larger Champion variety for flavor.

2. Cucumbers any type will do. Depending on available space, plant either bush or vining varietals.

3. Lettuce is a great cold-weather crop and tolerant of Colorados crazy climate. Leave one row empty, and in four weeks plant more. This is called successive sowing, explains Eastman. If done well, youll always have a fresh lettuce and salads can be served up from spring until fall.

Eat up

Crops will start popping after lots of summer sunshine and careful watering.Make sure to harvest quickly details for your garden or the critters will enjoy. Whether raw, grilled, or baked, veggies will taste especially delicious because you grew them yourself.

Have more questions? Stop by the local garden centers for advice, theyll be glad to help.

Vegetable gardens in raised boxes are a good idea in Colorado soil.(Photo: Elenathewise, Getty Images/iStockphoto)

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http://www.coloradoan.com/story/life/2016/04/22/gardening-tips-northern-colorado/83251740/

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