14. July 2014 · Comments Off on I’m Finally in the Mood to Do a Little Writing….So I’ll Talk About My Garden! · Categories: Uncategorized · Tags:
My backyard garden. It isn't big, but it's been a great time seeing what can (and what cannot) grow in Colorado.

My backyard garden. It isn’t big, but it’s been a great time seeing what can (and what cannot) grow in Colorado. See the sprinkler in the lower right? That’s on a timer to run for 15 minutes every night. In this climate, you will never have too much water for your garden. A far departure from Florida.

This may sound strange, but now that we’re done with all of our June/early July travel, our lives will be calming down. We will still be busy, but things will be less chaotic.

I have so much to write about, I’m thinking, where to begin???

The boys’ never-ending baseball season?

The Denver Mint?

Our trip to Pennsylvania and West Virginia (with a little side trip to Penn State in there)?

My returning to work full time?

How about our travels to Durango, the Grand Canyon, and Moab?

I’m going to start with my garden, because that’s been quite the adventure in itself.

We need to go WAY back in time, to late March/early April. That’s when I started working on a seedling plan. The growing season is so short here, one has to start seeds indoors, particularly those plants that aren’t frost tolerant: tomatoes, peppers, squash.

With some inexpensive PVC pipe and cement, a couple screws, Dave’s old shop light sets from his Florida train room, and this plan from the website Vegetable Gardener, I set forth to make a grow light of my very own.

Don’t start on the Colorado jokes. I’ve heard them all already.

I didn’t document every step, but after a morning’s worth of work in late March, I had a finished product!

My homemade grow-light set.

My homemade grow-light set. It ultimately ended up down in the basement, with two trays worth of seedlings.

The seedlings did very well with this light setup!


Peppers, cucumbers, beans, squash, and onions. This was about 4 weeks after planting.

Timmy the gardener, arms full of herbs.

Timmy the gardener, arms full of herbs.

In April, I was able to plant my cold-tolerant seeds and herbs. Dave and I ordered four of these garden box kits from Home Depot and dug up part of our backyard up against the back deck.

A close up of one of our new garden boxes with strawberries, onions, and a grape vine.

A close up of one of our new garden boxes with strawberries, onions, and a grape vine. This was in mid-April.

That same box this week, 3 months later:


Strawberries, onions, and grapes July 2014.

This success wasn’t without a LOT of monitoring of the weather through April and May. I think those poor strawberries spent more time covered than uncovered.

The strawberries are on the right. Under the tarp. It experienced 1-2 days per week of being covered until about Memorial Day. Crazy Colorado Weather....

The strawberries are on the right. Under the tarp. It experienced 1-2 days per week of being covered until about Memorial Day. Crazy Colorado Weather….

What else do I have growing?


We bought a mushroom box. This was fun for a while, but admittedly difficult to maintain in such a dry climate. I’d moisten the box, stash it in a dark location, then forget about it. Mushrooms would come and go in that time. We got a couple meals worth of mushrooms, though. This was our most-successful batch, from April.


This is a potatoes-in-a-dollar-store-laundry-basket. As seen at the Vegetable Gardener blog. I lined the basket with a brown paper bag at the start to keep the soil from running everywhere. But since taking this picture I’ve ripped out all but the very bottom of the bag and I’ve been hilling the soil up. You need to water very slowly to keep the soil from running out of the sides. I’ll speak more about potatoes momentarily.


From front to back: carrots, yellow onions, (some scraggly pole beans that aren’t doing well), and assorted heirloom tomatoes. The tomatoes just started flowering this week — I’m excited to see how well they do here.


From front to back: mesclun lettuce (that had grown bitter in a recent heat wave, it’s since been cut down and allowed to come up again), peppers (in the green supports), pumpkins, and watermelon. Behind the raised bed are containers with herbs and potatoes.


From front to back: zucchini and yellow squash, cabbage, and snow peas and cucumbers growing up the vertical support. I haven’t figured out why the cabbage isn’t growing in “heads”, but I think I can make some yummy stuffed cabbage just the same.


More potatoes. The flowers on the left are from thyme in the pot to the left.


A test harvest of carrots from around July 7th. These are smaller than the picture leads you to believe: they’re about 3″ long.

Allow me to speak about the potatoes. This is the first year I’ve attempted potatoes, after reading that Colorado’s climate is ideal for potato growing (and many local supermarkets sell Colorado potatoes). I picked up some russet seed potatoes at my local Walmart garden center, but then pondered whether I could just toss cut-up potatoes acquired from my local produce section.

A friend suggested that I try organic potatoes, for non-organic might have been sprayed with a seed inhibitor.


My little experiment. Which will grow better?


Which potatoes will perform better? The Walmart potatoes or the organic grocery store potatoes?


The answer is: the organic potatoes sprouted first, but the Walmart seed potatoes weren’t far behind. Strangely, the Walmart potato plant is the one on the right, which has smaller leaves than the grocery store plant. I’ll let you know which ones taste better.

I hope you enjoyed a trip through our family’s garden. We have been enjoying the lettuce, snow peas, cabbage, and green onion tops so far. We had radishes earlier this season, but we don’t eat much of those. Just 1-2 chopped up into the occasional salad.