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Old 02-13-2008, 09:29 AM
 
Location: CO
2,591 posts, read 5,986,911 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I've had a hard time getting Columbines to grow; they really are a high altitude plant. But I keep on trying!
I've found I can grow Columbines in slightly shaded, sloping north and northeast facing areas; since they're a high altitude plant, that seems to best approximate the right conditions at lower altitudes. An earlier poster mentioned that it's important not to overwater; for me, the key has been to be careful that they don't dry out; you want to mimic those higher elevation, well draining spots. They don't appreciate hot, direct sun and dry soil.
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Old 02-13-2008, 10:45 AM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
14,174 posts, read 23,215,035 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedfly View Post
Is it difficult to have vegetable gardens in Denver?

No. Last year we grew 5 types of tomatoes, green bean, broccoli, green onions, 5 types of peppers, 2 types of squash, cucumbers, peanuts, garlic, various herbs, lettuce, and I think that's it. We did start the tomatoes in pots in early April to get them going earlier, moving them outside on warm days, inside on cold nights. That way we had tomatoes by sometime in June, depending on the variety. We planted everything around May 10th, but even then, double check the forecast for possible light frost.
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Old 02-13-2008, 11:23 AM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,853,550 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by suzco View Post
I've found I can grow Columbines in slightly shaded, sloping north and northeast facing areas; since they're a high altitude plant, that seems to best approximate the right conditions at lower altitudes. An earlier poster mentioned that it's important not to overwater; for me, the key has been to be careful that they don't dry out.
Mine grew in two different spots, facing south (but semi-shaded) and facing southeast. So who knows. They were watered thoroughly, but no more than twice a week.
Quote:
Originally Posted by thedfly View Post
Is it difficult to have vegetable gardens in Denver?
As Denverian notes, if you do all the right things you will be well-rewarded.
I started and kept my tomatoes in pots, and would have them out by around the same time Denverarian does. My favorite tomato varieties in Denver were Celebrity, Yellow Pear, and Champion.
Lettuce can be sowed right now, if your soil can be worked.
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Old 02-13-2008, 11:39 AM
 
Location: Denver
138 posts, read 547,480 times
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Denverian is obviously a talented garderner, but I'm all brown thumbs!

Originally from the Midwest, it was a no-brainer to get things to grow. Tomato plants would pop up out of the soil from the previous years. And during the warmer, dryer days of summer you would need to water. I'm in N. AZ now and the climate is close to Denver...where the sun is a scorcher and my tomato plants (in containers) took a digger when I left for a weekend and couldn't water. Even so I was only able to get a few really small tomatoes the whole season. Half the battle is keeping them alive, the other half keeping them from being a midnight snack for the javelinas.

So I guess I'm wondering what soil conditions are like, if they are high desert and sandy or more black dirt/clay? Does it really depend on the area of Denver too? I was surprised by how many farm fields were there along 285(?) heading North towards Loveland. And the pictures on this thread are soo inspiring!
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Old 02-13-2008, 11:48 AM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,853,550 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thedfly View Post
Half the battle is keeping them alive, the other half keeping them from being a midnight snack for the javelinas.
heh
After a particularly bad hailstorm one summer, my backyard was turned into pesto, the squirrels were ravenous, and they voraciously laid into any and all tomato plants. I had them chewing through my windowscreens!
Quote:
So I guess I'm wondering what soil conditions are like, if they are high desert and sandy or more black dirt/clay? Does it really depend on the area of Denver too? I was surprised by how many farm fields were there along 285(?) heading North towards Loveland. And the pictures on this thread are soo inspiring!
You are looking at mostly clay, and some sandy clay.
You can take samples to soil engineers to be tested.
I always amended my garden soil with organic materials.
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Old 02-13-2008, 12:35 PM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
14,174 posts, read 23,215,035 times
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I have horrible clay, so when I plant something new, I dig the hole twice the size I need and add fresh potting soil. That seem to work fairly well. The soil is also very alkeline, so for all my broadleaf evergreens (hollies, boxwoods, euonamous) and needled evergreens, I fertilize with acidic fertilizer twice a year, which keeps them very green year round.
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Old 02-13-2008, 01:14 PM
 
182 posts, read 603,244 times
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Boulder has a nursery called Harlequin's which specializes in plants that do well naturally and without much water in our Colorado climate. They don't have very many photos on their website, but they do have lists of plants and some information. They are always very helpful whenever I have a question.
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Old 02-13-2008, 02:54 PM
 
Location: CO
2,591 posts, read 5,986,911 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TropicanaRose View Post
Boulder has a nursery called Harlequin's which specializes in plants that do well naturally and without much water in our Colorado climate. They don't have very many photos on their website, but they do have lists of plants and some information. They are always very helpful whenever I have a question.
The Flower Bin in Longmont is another nursey that has an excellent selection of native and other plants that love our climate.
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Old 02-13-2008, 07:19 PM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
86,883 posts, read 102,281,764 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by denverian View Post
I worry every time it hails! Especially as my banana trees leaves became bigger and bigger- although they shoot out a new leaf every week. I have a big jade plant that got very nicked up last year from hail, but recovered. It's obviously inside now, but the older leaves still have the nicks.
One summer we were growing pole beans. They got really tall and DH built an extension to the trellis. Then the hail came and ruined them! That's life.

Quote:
Originally Posted by thedfly View Post
Is it difficult to have vegetable gardens in Denver?
I wouldn't call it "difficult" but you have to be willing to put up with some disappointment. Some years there will be an early frost and your tomatoes will freeze, for example. We quit growing sweet corn b/c in Boulder County there are several farms where we can buy it fresh. You learn what works best for your little microclimate.
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Old 02-14-2008, 04:07 AM
 
Location: on an island
13,382 posts, read 40,853,550 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post

I wouldn't call it "difficult" but you have to be willing to put up with some disappointment. Some years there will be an early frost and your tomatoes will freeze, for example. We quit growing sweet corn b/c in Boulder County there are several farms where we can buy it fresh. You learn what works best for your little microclimate.
Yes, I think this is the most important lesson to learn. And you can take those elements and create what you want.
When we finally spent enough time in one home, we got it all figured out.

Our central Denver backyard was sort of an illustration of the Colorado climate: We basically had a shade patio and a sun patio: Harsh sun that baked during summer but felt *wonderful* the rest of the time, and a shady little tree-lined glade with a fountain, which was quite cooling and calming in the summer, and great for watching wildlife during the winter.

Our potted tomatoes were kept on the sunny flagstone patio next to the house. It was a very protected area and they flourished there, along with my herbs. Hail could not hurt them. If late frost threatened, we shoved them into either the mudroom or the garage.
Now, early frost there really is not much you can do about, because by then the tomato plants are huge.
That's where the disappointment Katiana mentioned comes in.
Come September, you do have to pay attention to the weather.
If the green tomatoes have a white star at the bottom of the fruit, they are far enough along that you can pick them and bring them inside to ripen. Not the same as vine-ripened, but certainly adequate.
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