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The San Miguel Basin Extension office provides assistance and programs for citizens in five main areas: 4-H/Youth Development, Ag/Local Food, Gardening, Natural Resources and Home, Family & Health.

Horticulture-Gardening   arrow

Here are some Resources to help you be Successful
Gardening in our Area!

Frost-Free Growing Seasons in San Miguel Basin and Surrounding Communities & Hardiness of Vegetables and Flowers, click here….
Seed starting Calculator for our Area-You enter your last average Spring Frost into the Date. Click here….

Because you’ll have a bountiful harvest, check out the resources for donating your produce too.  Many food banks accept donations of fresh produce, and garden-grown vegetables are typically popular.  Consider including recipes with your donation.

Free Registration for the Summer 2022 Growing Vegetables online course Register between May 12 and 26 and receive100% off!  You can access the course materials for a year from registration, so need to rush your gardening wisdom. 

The Colorado Vegetable Guide. This 67-page booklet contains a growing summary for a wide range of crops.  Available free online. 

Grow & Give Colorado.  This “Modern Victory Garden Project” webpage is full of CSU vegetable gardening videos, fact sheets, and recorded lectures.  

Vegetable Gardening in the Mountains – 7.248   

by Irene Shonle (12/20)

Quick Facts…

  • If using a well, check your permit for possible outdoor water restrictions.
  • Cool-season vegetables are the most successful.
  • Protect your vegetables from animal intrusion with hardware cloth under beds and use
    floating row covers.
root crops

Growing vegetables in Colorado presents challenges, but growing vegetables in the mountains is harder still. This is due to the much shorter growing season, cool nights, wind, critters, and possible watering restrictions. For the purposes of this factsheet, ‘high elevation’ or ‘mountains’ means anything over 7,500 feet in elevation in Colorado.

The first factor to consider is the short growing season. For every 1000 feet gain in elevation, the temperature drops by an average of 3.5° F. This means that the temperatures will be below freezing later in the spring and earlier in the fall. As an example, the Extension office in Gilpin County (9,300’) has a last average frost date of June 10 and the average first frost is September 15, but in many other places, there can be fewer than 90frost-free days in the mountains. Gardeners at the lower end of the elevation range will have a longer growing season and be able to grow a wider variety of vegetables.

An exception to this general rule is that valleys are often cooler than surrounding hillsides, due to the sinking of cool air at night. Even though the elevation may be lower, valleys may actually have cooler growing conditions than surrounding hillsides. Click here for more….