When you live in a high altitude setting, gardening can be a challenge. Fortunately, this does not mean that you cannot grow crisp, succulent, nourishing vegetables in your own garden. You simply need to make certain concessions, starting with selecting the proper vegetables to plant. Choosing vegetables that grow well above 3,000 feet will provide the best results. Learn what to select for the best high altitude short season vegetable garden.
Lettuce and other types of leafy green vegetables grow well in gardens above 3,000 feet elevation, as they can withstand the colder climates and brief growing seasons that come with a higher altitude. Mulching the garden and watering consistently at least once a week will ensure healthy heads of lettuce and other crisp, green veggies. There are certain leafy greens that do best in a high altitude vegetable garden. Select varieties of lettuce such as Crisphead, the category that includes Iceberg lettuce. Butterhead, which includes Bibb and Buttercrunch lettuce and those in the Romaine family grow well above 3,000 feet elevation. Spinach and other leafy greens also do well.
Root vegetables such as carrots, turnips, potatoes and radishes do quite well in gardens above 3,000 feet elevation for several reasons. They are hardy crops that tolerate frost, and you can even leave them in the ground during harsh winter weather. They also mature quickly, making them some of the best high altitude, short season vegetable garden choices. You can harvest radishes in about a month’s time, and you can harvest other root veggies such as beets, carrot or turnips while they are still young, making them ideal during the brief growing season. Should you be fortunate enough to experience warm weather earlier in the spring or later in the summer or fall, you can leave these vegetables in the ground to mature. Otherwise, simply enjoy tender, baby root vegetables fresh from your garden.
Cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage and other types of cruciferous vegetables thrive in high-altitude gardens. Cruciferous vegetables grow best in cooler climates and have a quick maturity span, making them ideal for the brief seasons for which higher elevation locales are known. The Snow Crown and Snowball Imperial varieties of cauliflower are superb choices for elevations above 3,000 feet, as they mature in less than two months. Most common types of cabbage and broccoli will also fare well.
Grow What You Will Eat
When deciding on the best high altitude short season vegetable garden choices, be sure to opt for produce you and your family like and plant only as much as you can eat fresh or will be able to preserve. While starting your own garden is a great way to enjoy fresh, organic vegetables and save money to boot, this only works if you and your loved ones will actually eat them.