Veggie Primer: Growing Tips | SteamboatToday.com
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Veggie Primer: Growing Tips

Veggie primer

Want to grow your own vegetables? Here are some pointers from the CSU Extension Office’s Todd Hagenbuch.

Growing season: With only 59 growing days without temperatures dipping below 32 degrees, the length of our growing season is the biggest limiting factor to gardening in Routt County. Choose plants that can withstand temperatures down to 28 degrees, and the growing days increase to 102. Get help to decide what risks you’re dealing with whether you live in Yampa, Craig or Steamboat.



Microclimates: Not only is our weather variable, but so are our yards. Every yard has microclimates influenced by trees, buildings, shade, soil and slopes. Look at how the snow falls in your yard; are there drifts, while other areas are bare? Wind, sun and moisture variations affect what you can plant where.

Beds: Are you going to plant in a raised bed, containers or the ground? Raised beds and containers allow you to better control soil type, but they increase your investment. Grow in the ground and expect soil variations from neighborhood to neighborhood and even within your yard. Collect a sample to determine what you need to add to help your garden grow. Soil-testing procedures and kits are available at the Extension office.



Grouping: Group vegetables together according to sunlight and water requirements. Some plants need less water than others, and others, like beans, more.

Beware the frost: When an early frost is forecast, cover your crop to keep it producing. Covers can be simple or elaborate. Hint: Hang C7 or C9 holiday lights around the vegetables under the cover to produce heat.

Get help: The Routt County CSU Extension office offers information on growing vegetables, flowers and more (visit its new Garden Library), as well as trained Master Gardeners ready to offer advice and perform site visits. They’re available for consultation every Saturday at the Farmers Market.

Veggie Sampler

Planting/harvest periods

Early June – Late July: 40-day, cool season crops (spinach)

Early June – Early August: 45- to 50-day, cool season crops (lettuce, kohlrabi)

Early June – Mid-August: 55-day, cool season crops

Early June – Late August: 60- to 65-day, cool season crops (beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, chard, peas)

Early June – Early September: 70- to 75-day cool season crops

What to Grow

Hardy veggies tolerant of light frost and low-daytime temps (40 degrees+): Spinach, lettuce, kohlrabi, broccoli, cabbage, radishes, turnips, peas, onions

Semi-hardy veggies less tolerant of frost, but good in 40- to 50-degree temps: Beets, carrots, cauliflower, parsley, parsnip, potatoes, Swiss chard

Tender veggies needing warm days (above 55) and no frost: Beans, celery, corn, cucumbers, summer squash


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