Modern Gingham

Modern Gingham

Thursday, March 5, 2015

A Jammer's Colorado Garden

Just to give you a sense of winter this year in Denver, on February 14, the temperature was 65°F. On February 21, the temperature was 22°F.  The weather here is gorgeous-it snows like 8 inches, the snow stays white (unless it has seen a territorial dog), and 3-4 days later the snow is gone. We get winter.  We get spring.  Sometimes in the same day.  

After living in Phoenix (which is hot during the summer, like 115°F hot. And even though it is a "dry" heat, it's awful), Chicago (where it is ridiculously cold almost all winter) and Montreal (in which getting 24 inches of snow isn’t abnormal and ice storms are so prevalent one learns how to skate on sidewalks and use installed ropes to keep themselves upright), Denver is a dream.  

You wouldn't think it’s a problem, but as a person who loves to garden, these temperature variations don’t make it easy.  For example, when it’s 65° outside (like it was on February 14) all I could think about was garden planning.  However, there are a couple of things I have learned since moving to Denver about gardening here...1) 70°F happens during the winter months, true.  But 2)  3 hours later the same day could be 32°F.   Which allows one to conclude that 3) temperatures fluctuate like crazy here.  Which is 4) exciting, maddening, and makes it hard to dress for the weather much less garden effectively.  

And to let you in on a secret-I never gardened until I moved to Denver.  And when I started, I dreamed of a preserving garden.  I was going to grow strawberries.  Enough to make jars and jars of strawberry preserves.  I was going to grown raspberries and blackberries.  Hedgerow jam-I was going to make hedgerow jam, from my own hedge.  And I was going to have a rhubarb patch. And, I was going to have several fruit trees.  What I didn’t count on was reality.  This is a picture of my backyard.  

I have 2 gardening beds, a plum tree and a shaded walkway.  Do you know how many strawberries you need to harvest to get one pint of jam?  Rhubarb crowns take several years to make a harvestable crop.  Raspberries and blackberries are thorny and wild.  And take a lot of room.  You know how much room one needs for several fruit trees?  More room than I have.  So my preserving garden has been modified.  I grow a few strawberry plants.  I compete with the squirrels.  So far, they are winning.   I haven’t grown rhubarb.  I have one raspberry plant that catches on my clothes as I walk by.  So this year, I have decided that while I may not have a preserving garden, you may.  And you may want to share with me.  And I won’t stop you.

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