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Old 03-05-2017, 12:12 PM
Status: "I love Colorado!" (set 13 days ago)
 
Location: Gleneagle, Colorado
400 posts, read 212,757 times
Reputation: 469

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We moved into a house that's on 2/3 of an acre in a forested area of ponderosa pines. Has anyone done a small garden of either flowers/plants or veggies or a small patch of grass in a wooded area in a semi arid (Colorado) environment? I know we will have to create a barrier for deer and rabbits. We love our woods but want a bit of "civilized" landscape close to the house. Not a lot just enough to keep the dust down close to the back door.
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Old 03-05-2017, 05:22 PM
 
Location: East of Seattle since 1992, originally from SF Bay Area
24,020 posts, read 40,536,178 times
Reputation: 20895
There are two problems, the lack of sun, and some acidity is added to the soil from debris dropped by the pines. If the pines are thriving, the soil is probably acidic already. We have several old growth firs and cedars in our yard. I built a greenhouse and placed it to benefit from the most possible sun, on the side lawn area. It gets 2 hours in late morning, then 4-6 hours in the afternoon until the sun goes down. For the best crops, full sun all day is required, but trapping the heat in the greenhouse helps a lot, and I made it vermin proof. The only real problem is having to hand pollinate some plants like zucchini since bees rarely visit through the 1/2 wire screened window and door.
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Old 03-05-2017, 06:30 PM
 
Location: British Columbia
3,594 posts, read 4,111,011 times
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As Hemlock140 mentioned, sunlight and acidity are what you need to take into most consideration, but certainly it can be done.

Re: acidity - Do some research for grasses, flowers, fruits and vegetable plants that prefer acidic soil and semi-arid climate if you intend to have your plants growing directly out of the existing soil. There are lots of plants that like acid soil. If you want to grow plants that need more neutral to alkaline soil you will have to add amendments to adjust the pH of the soil in the garden bed. Another alternative is to make raised beds or large containers filled with soil that is already amended to neutral. You will have to water the gardens more frequently if you have raised beds or containers.

Re: sunlight - depending on how much available sunlight already gets through the trees, and whether or not you intend to prune back or clear away a few trees to open it up to more light, you can research for plants that are tolerant of full shade or part shade/part sun or full sun. If your property is going to remain very shady most of the day then that will of necessity narrow down your choices of plants to put in.

.
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Old 03-05-2017, 09:30 PM
Status: "I love Colorado!" (set 13 days ago)
 
Location: Gleneagle, Colorado
400 posts, read 212,757 times
Reputation: 469
Excellent. This is exactly the info I needed. Thanks! Repped you both.
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Old 03-06-2017, 01:55 PM
 
650 posts, read 438,224 times
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If there is a stream near the area, you could probably grow blueberries by keeping the roots just above the water table. Of course the yields will be diminished due to lower sunlight but its something. Pawpaws might also be worth trying but you may need to hand pollinate since its outside of the native range and is finicky about it even in good conditions. Elderberry might also work in the sunnier spots.
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Old 03-12-2017, 01:01 AM
 
Location: On the Candy Eye Island
316 posts, read 76,556 times
Reputation: 354
Quote:
Originally Posted by DoodlemomCoS View Post
We moved into a house that's on 2/3 of an acre in a forested area of ponderosa pines. Has anyone done a small garden of either flowers/plants or veggies or a small patch of grass in a wooded area in a semi arid (Colorado) environment? I know we will have to create a barrier for deer and rabbits. We love our woods but want a bit of "civilized" landscape close to the house. Not a lot just enough to keep the dust down close to the back door.
You could find some tips from permaculture and forest garden websites/books

I have a different location but our summer castle was untouched for decades and trees took over the garden, yard and everything. Only way which worked for us was to build lifted beds for flowers and vegetables.
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Old 03-12-2017, 06:32 AM
 
Location: Former LI'er Now a Rehoboth Beach Bunny
5,825 posts, read 7,329,569 times
Reputation: 4895
Reach out to you local Co-operative extension board. They are invaluable in situations like yours. Also you local colleges that have forestry or landscaping degrees often are looking for "projects" to work on.
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Old 03-12-2017, 09:43 AM
 
Location: NC
4,852 posts, read 4,922,845 times
Reputation: 8747
Why not get interested in container gardening. You get to chose the soil, supply the water when needed, and only need to pay attention to the light requirements. Not sure if anyone above mentioned it, but those pines will suck out the water from the soil too. Chose freeze tolerant pots if necessary.
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Old 03-16-2017, 07:27 PM
Status: "I love Colorado!" (set 13 days ago)
 
Location: Gleneagle, Colorado
400 posts, read 212,757 times
Reputation: 469
Thanks everyone! Good info!
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