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Optimism and High-Altitude Gardening

I cannot tell you how much I need a break on just about every front you can imagine. So, last weekend, rather that work / write, I dealt with some family matters, played with Lilly, and got the gumption up to go ahead and plant this year’s vegetable seeds. It’s WAY early. This may be my best year yet, or my biggest flop. Only time will tell.

In 2011, we had consistently cold temperatures and even snow through Memorial Day Weekend. While everyone else already had visions of summer, I still had flannel sheets on the bed.

Like many other places in 2012, spring that looks like summer is already here. Don’t get me wrong. It’ll still be crazy cold. It’ll still snow (we hope) on the mountain. And, yes, I’ll continue to have flannel sheets on the bed for at least another month or two, but I figured I’d put last summer’s best garage sale find — a whole bunch of wall o’ water for $5 — to good use by starting all my seeds a full TWO MONTHS earlier this year.

It’s sort of like making  a little greenhouse / insulator, even in my greenhouse, which is unheated.

It’d be nice to harvest something — anything — before August.

{Check out our 2011 greenhouse harvest report.}


best dog blog, champion of my heart, my favorite baseball cap

My favorite hat

best dog blog, champion of my heart, greenhouse photo

My double-decker greenhouse planting beds. The back half of the top is unplanted for now. The back half of the bottom has cabbage seeds, which tend to do better in the "cold."

best dog blog, champion of my heart, greenhouse photo

Much of what I plant / grow is done in pots of various sizes. I have them on the floor now, rather than the shelves to the right ... mostly because they are heavy, including the wall o' water.

best dog blog, champion of my heart, straw bale gardening photo

Once again this year, I'm planting some things in straw bales as makeshift raised beds. So far the winds have knocked the wall o' water off several times, but I have them staked now, so we'll see.

If you’re an early planter, and you see anything amiss, please let me know. I do have plastic drop cloths at the ready, if nighttime temps get crazy cold.




P.S. If my week doesn’t improve, there might not be any blog posts for a few days. Since I didn’t work last weekend, I’ve been behind all week. The price I pay for *trying* to do just a few things I want to do, instead of only everything I have to do.

Roxanne Hawn

Trained as a traditional journalist and based in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA, I’m a full-time freelance writer for magazines, websites, and private clients. My areas of specialty include everything in the lifestyles arena, including health and home, personal finance and other consumer interests, relationships and trends, people and business profiles … and, of course, all things pet related.

I don’t just love dogs. I need them in my life. Seriously.

Jeanine Barone - April 3, 2012

There have been studies showing that gardening and being exposed to nature and landscapes are all beneficial for mood. I love the idea of high altitude gardening.

Kyla - April 2, 2012

Love the idea of the high altitude gardening. Me too, I like experimenting.
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Tiffany @ No Ordinary Homestead - March 31, 2012

I like your double decker greenhouse planting beds. Seems unusual to me. What plants you are going to put there? How about seeds on the pots? I actually host a weekly gardening link up every Friday on my blog. I’d love for you to drop by and join in.
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    Roxanne Hawn - April 2, 2012

    Thanks, @Tiffany. The double-decker beds in the greenhouse are unusual, I think. My hubby built them for me to maximize space. I’ve had trouble, though, with getting success on the bottom bed. Things get really leggy, reaching for the light. We’ve taken down the black mesh that we’ve used in years past to protect the top bed from scorching in the heat of summer. We’ll see if that helps.

    Typically, I put various salad greens and peppers in the top bed. I’ve tried root vegetables (failure), beans (meh), and peas (failure) on the bottom. I did get a few okra last year, so that was interesting.

    The pots usually house herbs, tomatoes, squash, and peppers.

    Last year, I put cucumbers and 2 kinds of squash in the staw bales, with mixed success.

    I’ll leave your note in my email box so that I remember to pop by on Fridays. Thanks for the invite.

Brien27 - March 30, 2012

These was interesting post.I will do my gardening this weekend with my family.
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merr - March 29, 2012

Wow…this is incredible work you’re doing. I hope you see new growth very soon.
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Kris @ Attainable Sustainable - March 29, 2012

When I lived in northern California, there was a guy who used water walls. We’d see them as we drove by. Every year he had a fabulous garden, and he was able to start long before the rest of us.

I hope these sprout and grow quickly for you!
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Donna Hull - March 29, 2012

I think there’s a therapeutic value in starting a garden. I hope it took your mind off your troubles. Here’s hoping for a very early harvest.
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Jane Boursaw - March 29, 2012

Good for you for planting in the midst of all the stress. Especially when you have to take extra steps in your high altitude area.
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Shalani - March 29, 2012

Hope all the seeds will grow..and have a bountiful harvest.
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ruth pennebaker - March 28, 2012

Roxanne — Hoping for a great growing season and harvest for one of the most deserving people I know.
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Irene - March 28, 2012

Hope it’s a better week and that all the seedlings grow strong!

Pup Fan - March 28, 2012

I need your green thumb to rub off on me… I’m so bad at getting things going in the spring!
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Brette Sember - March 28, 2012

This is really neat looking. I hope your garden does well! I’ve just about given up on gardening and joined a CSA.
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judy stock - March 28, 2012

Love your hat and your optimism! Keep working that dirt and may it bring forth many many vegetables this year!!
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Living Large - March 28, 2012

I’m always anxious to get everything planted in the spring, it brings such hope of what we can grow. I wish you the best on your garden this year!

Sheryl - March 28, 2012

Planting and watching things grow make you feel hopeful. I hope your seedlings grow up to be beautiful, good-luck charms!
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Debra Jones - March 28, 2012

From every wound there is a scar, and every scar tells a story. A story that says, I survived.

– Fr. Craig Scott

Roxanne, you walls of water are awesome! I use them this time of year when I’m ready to put out my heirloome tomato seedlings. Last year this time it got down in the 20’s, but my tomatos did awesome with the WOWs!!! I love them! I never thought about using bales of hay! Planting helps me relax. Just planting gives me a mental lift and watching my garden grow decreases my stress level tremendously. You grow, girl!!! :o}

Alexandra - March 28, 2012

Planting seeds always calms my soul, so I’m glad you are working in your garden. Have you tried baby’s breath? It’s a perennial that I bought one year, for some reason, from a high country gardening catalog and it has worked really well for me. Makes a nice flower in arrangements.
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Nicole - March 28, 2012

seek something that capture your interest and you’ll see you will finish your work in time
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Bassetmomma - March 28, 2012

Take the time to do something you love! If everything doesn’t get done the world won’t end. You’ll see! 🙂
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