Friday, January 6, 2012

Challenges of Mountain Gardening by Molly Nevin

 “ The garden suggests there might be a place where we can meet nature halfway.”  Michal Pollan

Is this a true statement for the residents of Jefferson County that reside in the Front Range Mountains? Is a vegetable garden possible in the Jefferson County Mountains? Several questions must be answered before turning the first spade of soil.  Since most mountain residents are on wells drilled after 1972, a must do requirement, is to research what kind of a permit you have for your well.  Most wells are restricted to household use only, no outside irrigation or watering of livestock. This water restriction alone makes a traditional vegetable plot a non-viable option. Besides water restrictions, other issues are faced by our mountain gardeners: a short growing season, cool night temperatures, wind, slopes, foraging wildlife, and creating defensible space around your house for fire protection – an important priority.

Help for the mountain gardener is available at the Spring Gardening Symposium: Vegetable Gardening A –Z: Hitting the Basics, on January 28, 2012, at the Jefferson County Fair Grounds, 15200 W 6th Ave, Golden, Co, 80401.    We will explore ways to work within water restrictions, solutions to the obstacles of mountain gardening as well as alternatives to growing vegetables and herbs.  Join us for a full day of six classes and covering Soil Preparation & Amendments, Vegetable Basics, Starting your Garden from Seed or Transplants, Tomatoes, Container Vegetable Gardening and Mountain Vegetable Gardening; plus handouts, seeds and lunch for $70.  There is an optional lunch and learn class on Basic Flower Gardening for an additional $10.  Classes are from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.  Spend the day Colorado Master Gardeners who have access to the best research based gardening information, and in addition learn how the Jefferson County Master Gardeners can assist you with your gardening adventures all year long.  Call the Master Gardener line (303-271-6632) for more information or register at