gardening in Wyoming (Cheyenne, Casper, Laramie: lawyers, houses, buying)
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First, Hello to all! Been reading for a couple of weeks. Great forum.
I was wondering how hard it is to grow a garden, and what is most commonly grown? How do warm season veggies like tomatoes and peppers do in wyoming? How about fruit trees?
Don't know about fruit trees, but I've got 28 jalapena pepper plants, 4 big tomato bushes, cucumbers, peas all doing pretty good. We have a short growing season so it's best to buy plants that are already 6 or 8 inches tall. I do grow most from seeds but I start them in the house early.
but I've already been getting peppers and tomato's. Cuc's are still pretty small.
Location: My heart is in Wyoming, my body is soon to follow.....
745 posts, read 2,925,801 times
Jgussler forgot to point out that he lives in Sheridan which gets very warm in the summer and helps with growing. It depends a lot on where you live, if you're somewhere considered humid by Wyoming standards then you will have better luck. The humid areas are due to irrigation, places like Torrington or Riverton for instance. In places like Laramie you can grow a garden I've known people who did it but it takes a lot of work. You're best bet is a green house, a lot of gardners have at least a small one to get the season started. Keep in mind it can snow or freeze well into June in a lot of places in Wyoming, so that's where a lot of the extra work comes in.
You're best bet is a green house, a lot of gardners have at least a small one to get the season started.
Great topic! I've been wondering about this. I'm interested in putting up a small greenhouse to grow a few things. How long would a greenhouse extend the growing season up around Buffalo/Sheridan? Also, has anyone had any luck growing more tropical plants in a greenhouse? I have pineapple, plumeria and hibiscus now but unless we can succeed in growing them in Wyoming they'll have to stay behind when we move next month.
We lived in Casper. We had three great gardens in three different places around the city. We grew the best garden when we had a backyard fence that surrounded the yard. On the west side of the yard, along the fence. I had current, elderberry, blueberry, rasberry, blackberry. On the east side of the yard, along the fence, we had strawberries. On the back side of the house we had manchurian apricots, two apple trees-i don't remember the kind.We got apples off every summer. I wrapped these with that shiney insulated waterpipe tape every fall, from the ground to as high up the trunk as I could reach. We had in the garden peppers, cantalopes,watermelons, corn, tomatos, cucumbers, yellow squash,beans, and more. And be watchful for the wind. It can suck the water out of your garden plants in one hot afternoon. We had herb bed with over 50 herbs, I even had ginseng! All came back every year. I cut all herbs back to about two inches above the ground. The we put about three inches of straw on it.With the snow it was comphy all winter, and the herbs could poke up in the late winter if the needed to. We had two hibiscus that came back year after year. They didn't get big maybe three feet tall and the flowers got about three inches across. They were by the west facing wall of the house and close to it. Mulch with straw every winter. We had cold weather crops growing up to october even november sometimes.
We started as much in the house as we could. The best way to get a good garden is to find the fastest growing seeds. Ha, ha.
Oh, and be ready to put bedsheets on the garden plants, at the first warning of your "spring" frosts, that sneak in.
If you do screw up and it frosts, before the sun hits it. Spray with the garden hose, to wash the frost off. I really think this saved that garden more than once. This is one of my wifes ideas. She brought it up from Tennessee with her.
If you are going to try berry plants of most kinds. If your going to be buying them from the locals. Buy and plant them as soon as they come in the stores. They seem to do alot better. If your going to be buying alot of trees and bushes. I would strongly suggest Lawyers Nursery out of montana. They do mail order and are a great company with double great plant products.
While I was out there last month, I stopped by the Cheyenne Botanic Garden. They have a pretty neat green house that keeps the temperatures above freezing year round. It is large enough that it has some tropical and semi tropical plants and trees in it. I remember a fig tree and some sort of citrus, in addition to several flowers that I believe to be tropical.
The basic design of the green house was that the east, north, and west walls were all regular walls with heavy insulation. The south facing wall, and the south sloping roof were made of triple layer polyethylene panels. Along the back of the north wall, there were cylinders from floor to ceiling filled with water. These provided thermal mass, and were heated by the sun during the day. At night, they slowly released the stored heat into the room, to help maintain the temperature. When I am finally able to move there and start a garden, I will definitely have a greenhouse, hopefully one that is large enough to grow a few trees that would not be able to be grown otherwise.
I even had the idea of having an indoor swimming pool in the same building as the greenhouse. The idea there is that the pool would provide thermal mass to regulate the temperature.
Gardens are simple in most of Wyoming's lower elevations.
Typical vegetables, root vege's, lettuce, potatoes, etc., are no problem, but as mentioned, the growing season may be very short and problematic with low temperatures anytime in the season. If you're serious about production for your own use, a greenhouse is the way to go in addition to your outdoor garden.
We've got two FarmTek tunnel greenhouses, the best deal for the dollars spent. They've extended our growing season in the SE corner of the state by several months, so we can start our heirloom vege's early from seed, and then keep them protected and productive through November (or so) without using any supplemental heat. Be sure you get "roll-up" sides on a greenhouse, as you'll need that airflow to keep temp's regulated during the summer months. We typically can see temps into the 100F+ range by shortly after sunrise after a high 60F overnight air temp, so we have to open up the greenhouse.
Do contact your local county extension office horticulturist. The service is free, and there may also be an active master gardener group associated with the program. They all can give you specific local information about what can and has been grown successfully in your area.
Be sure you have a good source of water. Certain areas of the state have groundwater sources that are polluted from excessive run-off from energy production, ranching, or farming operations. The stuff in the water may adversely affect your garden's production, and may also pose a health risk for you to consume the fruits of your labors. So, have your water tested; for example, nitrates in the Torrington or Wheatland areas can be a problem for your well and are not typically tested in a water quality/well report.
Good stuff said so far. I gardened in the South West corner of wyoming for 25 years, grew all sorts of things. Be sure to compost / mulch. Build the soil up with everything you can get your hands on. At my last home I had a back yard with a hill where I built a semi underground greenhouse. Three sides where 5 feet underground one side was where I put in the entrance door. The "greenhouse" part was the A frame roof which was made out of old 2X4's and that corragated clear fiberglass stuff. I grew 7 foot tomatoes and loads of cukes in there.
Worm composting is something else everyone should do. The stuff those little critters make is to die for.
thanks for all the great responses. When you guys grow your tomatoes and cukes and other things in your greenhouse are left in the greenhouse for the whole growing season or do they get moved outside in the warmer weather.
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