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Gardening Resources for Southwestern Colorado

If you’re just moving to the San Juan Mountains, the challenges of gardening in your new home might come as a surprise—but there are rewards, too. Here, you’ll be living at a very high altitude, in a very low-moisture climate. Our summers are hot, our winters are cold, the sunlight is bright and strong, the growing season is short, and the ground is mountainous and rocky. It is still possible to grow a beautiful (and delicious) garden in southwestern Colorado, and some gardeners love the challenge. The rewards are great, too. Many beautiful and rare species of wildflowers are native to this area, and the food crops that grow well here, including herbs as well as many vegetables, are delicious. If you’re ready for the challenges of high-altitude gardening, here are some excellent resources to get you started:

Edible San Juan Mountains

The print magazine, Edible San Juan Mountains, is an excellent resource in itself, but the web site that supports it offers even more help and ideas. The whole system is designed to promote local, sustainably-grown foods in the San Juan Mountain community, whether you grow them yourself or buy them from local farmers. On the web site, you’ll find recipes using local ingredients, information about the print magazine, and a blog with occasional posts full of tips on tasting, cooking, and gardening in our region. To get started, check out this interview with John Wickman, an expert on high-altitude gardening.

Telluride Magazine

This is another web site supporting an excellent local print magazine. Telluride Magazine comes out in print twice each year, and it’s a great way to get to know your new San Juan mountain community, whether you live in Telluride or in one of the other towns nearby. From the web site, you can read entire back issues of the magazine, or click on specific articles or recipes. One article, in particular, is an excellent primer for new gardeners in the San Juan Mountain region: “Gardening at Altitude” explains the local climate, soil, and water situation, and gives plenty of tips and tricks, plus a list of crops that do well in our area.

Mountain Gardening

The author of this personal blog lives near Fort Collins, Colorado, at an altitude above 8,600 feet. Like gardening here, gardening there involves dealing with drought, cold winters, hot summers, rocky soil, and critters including deer, moose, bears, voles, and ground squirrels. This blogger is a plant pathologist who has lived and gardened in Colorado mountains for over 10 years, and blogged about it for just over two years. She gives first-hand accounts of what works and what doesn’t, with plenty of very specific advice and explanations.

The Staff at San Juan Realty, Inc.

3180 County Road 23 Ridgway Colorado for sale

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