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Old 03-21-2008, 03:22 PM
 
Location: Lambs Book of Life
1,592 posts, read 3,094,641 times
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Hey folks,

Which part of Montana has the best/longest growing season (and soil) for vegetable gardens? I'm still considering moving to Montana and growing my own veggies is a huge part of that. I like having a huge garden and growing more than I need to help out others. With the price of produce these days, this is almost a necessity!

Which reminds me to ask... how are produce prices in Montana?
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Old 03-22-2008, 08:39 AM
 
Location: In an alternate universe according to some, AKA Aspergers
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Produce prices are pretty much like everywhere else except having lived in "fresh" produce states Montana pretty much sucks since the majority is trucked in. Never before had cukes that actually bend! You can grow things here but have to fence for the deer or you'll have nothing but stubs one morning. Very short season and many have green houses to extend it.
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Old 03-22-2008, 10:57 PM
 
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I have to ask if you're into growing produce why are you considering a move to a state that is known for long winters? Jimj is correct that the deer are just awful and will mow everything down very quickly. The growing season usually starts in May in most parts and is over by early September. I don't think the growing season changes much in different parts of the state.

Now I am Montana-born and raised but I currently live in Seattle. Now that's a place where you can grow produce! Everything grows here and it grows wildly fast. I'm going to plant giant pumpkins in a year or two and see if I can get 900 pound pumpkins. Flower gardens are just gorgeous out here and it's really a great place to grow things. Gardening is much more enjoyable out here - throw some seed down and you get guaranteed plants nearly instantly.
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Old 02-28-2009, 03:44 PM
 
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STOP -STOP !!! big trees - you are killing me !!! =) I'm a frustrated gardener living in Bozeman, Montana - and your description of Seattle is enough to drive me crazy !!!! I was raised in the country between Omaha and Auburn, Nebraska where we could grow anything we wanted - I've been here in Bozeman for a decade now, and while you CAN grow things here, it's NOTHING like living in other places. You really must have a greenhouse to use early and late in the season, you must use plants that mature super fast or you'll lose your crops in the early frosts, there are a lot of things you just can't grow easily, you must build a fortress around your garden or it will be eaten by all kinds of wildlife from deer to coons to elk to bears, and good luck when the severe storms come rolling through. I have had better luck on the western edge of Montana near Superior, and also in the area near Billings, but you still have a lot of challenges. I was actually trying to sell out and move north of Seattle last year, but I just became a Grandma for the 1st time, and I just can't leave my baby girl now - so I'll remain "garden challenged !!! "

PS: Also, I learned something new when I moved up here 10 years ago - Just because you look down and see dirt, does not mean that you can garden there. A lot of the land here is just full of rock - river rock actually - and every time you try to dig a hole, say for a fence post, you are going to have to FIGHT to get that hole dug - and each and every hole you dig. So then you try to dig deep and till up your garden space - good luck if you are in a rocky area. I have actually had to build raised garden beds and then pay for dirt to fill them with. You must have determination to garden here !!!

Last edited by MTSunshine; 02-28-2009 at 03:51 PM.. Reason: I forgot to add something.
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Old 02-28-2009, 08:55 PM
 
Location: western montana
214 posts, read 355,351 times
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I live at a mile high in a small town in Montana and I have people come from all over my county to buy my lettuce and beans. They taste better than the grocery chains by far including the organic stores in Missoula. The people that grow vegie's in my area buy seeds from wholesalers from all over the country. I use what's called hybrid seeds and they grow to full maturity by August. They have seeds made specificly for our area. Gardening is very hi tech these days, I don't think it matters too much where you live anymore. Eventually, I'll build a greenhouse. But it's just a hobby to me. Don't buy store bought seeds they just don't cut it in the time alloted but I'm sure your elevation has a lot to do with it.The state of Montana allows you to sell your own vegie's seasonally without a license, I checked up. You just can't advertise it as an organic garden unless you get the garden qualified as one. I forget how much it costs, but they send up someone and they take samples of your soil and the cost for a small grower is maybe worth it if your real serious about it, and have enough land. I had my soil tested by the county and they tell you what to put in it to succeed.

Last edited by Jbechtel; 02-28-2009 at 09:26 PM..
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Old 03-01-2009, 08:37 AM
 
Location: In an alternate universe according to some, AKA Aspergers
10,648 posts, read 11,724,898 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbechtel View Post
I live at a mile high in a small town in Montana and I have people come from all over my county to buy my lettuce and beans. They taste better than the grocery chains by far including the organic stores in Missoula. The people that grow vegie's in my area buy seeds from wholesalers from all over the country. I use what's called hybrid seeds and they grow to full maturity by August. They have seeds made specificly for our area. Gardening is very hi tech these days, I don't think it matters too much where you live anymore. Eventually, I'll build a greenhouse. But it's just a hobby to me. Don't buy store bought seeds they just don't cut it in the time alloted but I'm sure your elevation has a lot to do with it.The state of Montana allows you to sell your own vegie's seasonally without a license, I checked up. You just can't advertise it as an organic garden unless you get the garden qualified as one. I forget how much it costs, but they send up someone and they take samples of your soil and the cost for a small grower is maybe worth it if your real serious about it, and have enough land. I had my soil tested by the county and they tell you what to put in it to succeed.
Could you let me know where you get the seeds? I've got a line on some pre started russian tomatoes from an organic gardener over in Kalispell so I'm good there but beans,peppers etc is what I'm lacking.
I had this conversation with her and she told me pretty much what you're saying that you have to have plants for HERE not just general plants but we were just talking tomatoes, I didn't think to ask about the rest...
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Old 03-01-2009, 04:46 PM
 
Location: western montana
214 posts, read 355,351 times
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Gurney's seed and nursery. Greendale, Indiana. Gurneys.com. Find some prize manure in your area that's dry, stored in a barn for instance, and with a dump truck or wheel barrow, put about 4" on top of your regular top soil, churn it good with a tiller. This will take awhile but keep churning till all the lumps are gone. Oh, try to get all the rocks out too before you start this process. Use a farmer's rake or pick. Then let sit for a week, but water. Preperation is everything. I plant in mid to late June with seeds and I have a bumper crop by August 1st. I have some pictures around here somewhere.

Last edited by Jbechtel; 03-01-2009 at 05:07 PM..
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Old 03-01-2009, 07:52 PM
 
Location: In an alternate universe according to some, AKA Aspergers
10,648 posts, read 11,724,898 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jbechtel View Post
Gurney's seed and nursery. Greendale, Indiana. Gurneys.com. Find some prize manure in your area that's dry, stored in a barn for instance, and with a dump truck or wheel barrow, put about 4" on top of your regular top soil, churn it good with a tiller. This will take awhile but keep churning till all the lumps are gone. Oh, try to get all the rocks out too before you start this process. Use a farmer's rake or pick. Then let sit for a week, but water. Preperation is everything. I plant in mid to late June with seeds and I have a bumper crop by August 1st. I have some pictures around here somewhere.
Thank you! Thankfully we live on what I'd guess you would call sandy loam so there's not many rocks.
We did bell peppers and anahiem peppers last summer as well as tomatoes and corn. The corn didn't do well and the tomatoes didn't red up until they were put in a box about 3 weeks but the peppers did ok.
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Old 03-01-2009, 08:44 PM
 
Location: In The Outland
6,040 posts, read 6,731,010 times
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I find growing corn in a home garden is too much hassle as it takes up so much garden space and by the time it comes in you can buy good corn so cheap anyway. Roma tomatoes, peppers and celantro seems to be all I plant. I don't think I'll even bother with a garden this summer, I plan on traveling about too much to be home to tend it.
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Old 03-01-2009, 10:27 PM
 
Location: western montana
214 posts, read 355,351 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimj View Post
Thank you! Thankfully we live on what I'd guess you would call sandy loam so there's not many rocks.
We did bell peppers and anahiem peppers last summer as well as tomatoes and corn. The corn didn't do well and the tomatoes didn't red up until they were put in a box about 3 weeks but the peppers did ok.
I use early girl tomatoes, their really popular here in Montana, so much so that they usually go pretty fast at the stores by May, so buy them in seed form. If your house has a south facing sun porch, like mine does, plant in small containers in spring and by June they'll have a good start. Tomatoes need the most care, they don't like a dry climate. I water them in the evening, then cover them in plastic till morning. It helps. I move the ones that are still bearing fruit back in the sun porch in September. But tomatoes really need a greenhouse type of environment in our country. Snow peas seem to do well here, those are the really expensive ones you see in grocery stores, and kohlrabi does well in my garden, too. I try to plant things that are expensive in the produce dept's at the stores, that way it's worth your time and effort. I plant a leaf lettuce blend that has all the types of lettuce that grocery stores sell seperately all in one head.

Last edited by Jbechtel; 03-01-2009 at 10:52 PM..
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