I said I’d stick to herbs for a bit, but then got a nice note from a lady in the Arizona mountains, which reminded me of an experience.

We moved to the Colorado Rockies at 9,300 feet a year and a half ago to be with our widowed daughter and two grandsons. Everyone in town said you couldn’t grow vegetables at that altitude, so I just nodded quietly, built a lttle greenhouse (do a search to see it) and began planting last spring, while writing a gardening column for the local paper. The joke around town was that everyone hoped summer would fall on a weekend that year.  The sun was fierce, the air dry, the winds dessicating, and the soil was just pulverized granite.  So I found a free source of composted horse manure, and did pretty well with that, drip irrigation,  floating row covers for sun protection, and straw bales for raised beds.

Word got around about my gardens, so the county extension agent asked to come see the place. “Sure,” says I. And  so here she comes with a camera and notebook, looking around at the tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, beans, peas, summer and winter squash, broccoli, leeks, greens and so on — including the bok choy you see above.

She started taking pictures, and asked “How did you do this?”

“Well, for one thing,” I told her, “somebody said I couldn’t.”

A 9,300 foot summer squash

About lifegrower

Peter V. Fossel has been gardening since he was nine, and has been an organic farmer for the last 20 years. His most recent book, “Organic Farming, Everything You Need to know” was published by Voyageur Press, Minneapolis, 2007. He’s written numerous gardening articles for Organic Gardening, Horticulture, Country Journal, Out Here, and American Profile among others. He was Gardens Manager for The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson in Tennessee before returning to Cape Cod to start his newest organic venture, Swan River Farm in Dennisport, MA.
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2 Responses to Detour

  1. Now that’s a nice summer squash! I probably wouldn’t have believed it either. Yesterday was spring here in the mountains and I raked and trimmed some branches. The plan today, was to put into the ground 3 hostas and do a couple of other various spring time, just gotta be out in the yard things. The weather man has been saying for the last couple of days we had a storm approaching but his degree of accuracy and my want of spring, yep you guessed it I didn’t listen. Right now we have about 4 inches and it is still coming down. Well I got to use the big shovel today, aka the snow shovel, it goes in the shed with the gardening tools, so perhaps it qualfies as a garden implement. I enjoyed this post and the herb articles. thanks for sharing, Marla

  2. Anne says:

    I excel at doing things that people say can’t be done 🙂

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