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Old 03-16-2016, 04:57 PM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
2,567 posts, read 1,826,453 times
Reputation: 2667

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hi readers,

I live in Phoenix, but a lot of my family is now in metro Denver. I'm being encouraged to move to Denver area too (since we siblings could be close together.) But one of my dislikes of Denver (besides the higher housing costs) is your short growing season and hardiness zone.

Do you Denver area gardeners dislike the short growing season, hail, late snows, bright sun, etc? Should this minor life dilemma (not being hip on Denver's gardening climate) help make me decide where to live?
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Old 03-16-2016, 05:22 PM
 
Location: Denver, Colorado U.S.A.
14,174 posts, read 23,271,626 times
Reputation: 10428
Quote:
Originally Posted by DougStark View Post
hi readers,

I live in Phoenix, but a lot of my family is now in metro Denver. I'm being encouraged to move to Denver area too (since we siblings could be close together.) But one of my dislikes of Denver (besides the higher housing costs) is your short growing season and hardiness zone.

Do you Denver area gardeners dislike the short growing season, hail, late snows, bright sun, etc? Should this minor life dilemma (not being hip on Denver's gardening climate) help make me decide where to live?
I'm into gardening, and moved here from the L.A. area where it was so easy to garden year round. So I've learned to adapt here.

Right now, I have pansies growing in the ground (planted them last September. They're incredibly hardy and survive the winter, and start blooming again in late winter), plus new ones in planter boxes. They can take freezes down to the mid teens, so a must have for late and early season flowers.

For shrubs, I grow a lot of Holly, Boxwood, and Euonymus for broad-leaved evergreen color all winter. Plus some Pine and Spruce shrubs. You really have to put in a lot of evergreens here, or your landscaping looks like total crap in the winter (meaning, all deciduous trees, shrubs, and perennials that die back).

I fertilized my lawn a couple weeks ago, so it's greening up, and it stays green (you have to fertilize 4 times per year) until early December. I grow odd things like Elephant Ears (have to dig up the bulbs in the fall) and have a cold hardy Banana plant (have to mulch it really well, but it grows taller each summer) for a tropical look.

I get many compliments on my landscape, so I've made it work. It's always exciting to get back into planting every spring, and especially in May when I can put in lots of annuals and have so much color.
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Old 03-16-2016, 05:41 PM
 
Location: Na'alehu Hawaii/Buena Vista Colorado
4,900 posts, read 9,659,628 times
Reputation: 4982
Of course, Denver area gardeners dislike the short growing season, hail, etc. But there are ways to adapt if you want to grow vegetables. (1) purchase seeds that are specifically designed for a short growing season, (2) start your garden inside so that seedlings can be transplanted into the ground when it is warm enough, (3) be prepared to cover your plants when cold weather is predicted, (4) use things like "wall of water" around the plants, (5) build a small hoop house that can be removed when the weather is warm enough, (6) use a greenhouse. I'm sure that just talking with the people who work at the garden centers you could pick up more tips.
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Old 03-17-2016, 12:43 PM
 
352 posts, read 590,721 times
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Nah, it is what it is. You look forward to it, you plan accordingly (a few years experience here helps), enjoy it while it's happening. Rinse and repeat the next year. Relax once the ground is frozen. What's to dislike?

If you think not being able to put your tomatoes in the ground until May 15 is a hardship, well...what can I say?
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Old 03-17-2016, 12:44 PM
 
13,677 posts, read 13,575,490 times
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I'm from Jersey. It's less the short growing season that bothers me than the terrible soil. I had to buy dirt! The soil in Jersey is naturally dark and wet and loaded with nutrients - to start a garden you'd basically just go out into your yard and turn over some soil. Here... not so much. My friends back home laugh at me about the fact that I have to buy dirt.

The hail is annoying, and I think it was two years ago that I lost a ton of plants to a late hail- and snowstorm when I planted a week to early.

But you CAN grow a lot of stuff. There is one poster from the Denver area (I forget his username) who has an elaborate container garden. Do some searches and hit him up. He's got this stuff down.

I would also look into buying or renting a property that has lots of shaded areas since the sun here can be insanely intense.

There are A LOT of avid gardeners in the Denver area, and the Botanic Gardens is a great resource.

It's a big change from other parts of the country, but one you can adapt to.
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Old 03-17-2016, 01:10 PM
 
1,822 posts, read 1,399,225 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DougStark View Post
Do you Denver area gardeners dislike the short growing season, hail, late snows, bright sun, etc? Should this minor life dilemma (not being hip on Denver's gardening climate) help make me decide where to live?
I don't live in Denver, but do live close enough to have the same conditions. I do dislike the short growing season and hail, but also dislike the overall dryness and soil composition. I've been at it for 4 years now, and no longer even desire to garden any more (well, at least while I'm here). I've tried all kinds of edible plants, and have had some decent harvests, but it just isn't like what I'm used to.

As for that being a reason for not moving, only you can decide. I'd think that there would be other factors that might discourage a relocation, based on the differences between this area and that part of the country.

Last edited by Sunderpig2; 03-17-2016 at 01:27 PM..
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Old 03-17-2016, 02:46 PM
 
369 posts, read 841,307 times
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Moved here from the SF Bay Area - definitely takes more energy and guts to be a gardener in Denver. Can't plant veggies until Mother's day, hail, wind, native soil is nearly worthless, and rain will destroy your plants...last year we have a super cold and wet spring so my tomatoes were behind all season.

But it's definitely doable and enjoyable - just needs work. Get a Greenhouse if you're really into it.

It's actually nice because I'm tired and done with it by the time mid-fall rolls around and don't have to think about it until mid-spring.
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Old 03-17-2016, 07:52 PM
 
11,256 posts, read 43,359,526 times
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denver_hacker has it nailed ... there's a time when it's time to harvest for the year, put up/preserve, and call it quits for another season. Enjoy the bounty of your efforts.

Denver area gardening is a highly rewarding pastime with benefits. We were able to supply a substantial portion of our food supply each year, every year. Always able to fill a couple of freezers and canned a lot of tomato pastes and salsa's.

Some years will have weather patterns that won't agree with everything you've planted. So be it. Best to plan on planting several different varieties of the veggie's you want each gardening season to maximize your chances of a successful crop. Some years, everything will grow gangbusters. Some years, some varieties won't. Some years, some vege types won't be happy at all.

Best to check your garden soil and amend as needed. We prefer "natural" compost and compost tea to chemicals. Most of our kitchen food wastes are composted and roto-tilled into the garden each year.

IMO, a "tunnel greenhouse" is a desirable feature to use (check out FarmTek or similar suppliers). Our last Denver area one was 26' x 50' long. Not big enough for everything we wanted to plant, but could extend our growing season a month or so and allow better control for heat/humidity/ventilation/drip feed watering/wind shelter. A most pleasant place to spend time even when not gardening, too, with a couple of lounge chairs in there to watch life go by and relax. Balance of the garden was outside for the corn, potatoes, squash, asparagus, and some of the bean plants. Save some space for the perennial flowers, too.
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Old 03-18-2016, 06:53 AM
 
Location: CO
2,591 posts, read 5,999,468 times
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Read all about adventures growing magnolia trees in Colorado:

Snow thwarts Louisville magnolia tree's rare bloom

Quote:
Time is running out to catch a glimpse of Louisville's champion magnolia tree in rare form.

Spurred by warm spring weather, the state's largest saucer magnolia tree on the northwest corner of Main and Short streets is in full bloom this month.

But this week's dropping temperatures and precipitation will likely strip the tree of its pink and white flowers in the next day or two, said Chris Lichty, Louisville's supervisor of Forestry & Horticulture. . .
And the snow and cold predicted in this article from yesterday has arrived.

Last edited by suzco; 03-18-2016 at 07:12 AM.. Reason: fix quote
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Old 03-18-2016, 08:08 AM
 
13,677 posts, read 13,575,490 times
Reputation: 39884
Quote:
Originally Posted by suzco View Post
Read all about adventures growing magnolia trees in Colorado:

Snow thwarts Louisville magnolia tree's rare bloom

And the snow and cold predicted in this article from yesterday has arrived.
I don't wanna talk about it
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