Secrets of High Altitude Gardening
by Watch Staff
Jun 14, 2012 | 4933 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print
INTO THIN AIR – Cabbage and sunflowers thrive at the Ridgway Community Garden. Three high-altitude gardening experts will share their expertise at next week’s ROCC Talk in Ridgway. (Photo by Christine Lance)
INTO THIN AIR – Cabbage and sunflowers thrive at the Ridgway Community Garden. Three high-altitude gardening experts will share their expertise at next week’s ROCC Talk in Ridgway. (Photo by Christine Lance)
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RIDGWAY – How do you garden for success at 7,000 feet with a short, 80-day growing season? “Water-wise,” greenhouses, and heirlooms, say the experts.

Three accomplished horticulturists will share their knowledge and solutions to the challenges of high altitude gardening next week at a panel discussion, Thursday, June 21 at the Ridgway Town Hall.

As part of its ROCC Talks series, the Ridgway Ouray Community Council presents “Unlocking the Secrets of High Altitude Gardening.” The panelists’ presentations will begin at 7 p.m. following coffee and cookies at 6:30 p.m. in the community room. The event is free to the public.

Yvette Henson, Colorado State University Extension Director for San Miguel and Western Montrose counties, will speak on “Mountain Gardening and Microclimates.” Her talk will include a PowerPoint presentation. Henson’s expertise includes high altitude home horticulture, ornamental and organic food growing, season extension, “water-wise” gardening, and growing for farmers markets. She has presented many educational programs on those topics as well as local food systems and native plant species.

Ridgway gardener Christine Lance will present “Best Plants to Grow – Heirloom, Cold-Tolerant, Short-Season Varieties.” In addition to offering tips on organic gardening, she will distribute handouts that list the best vegetables, fruits and flowers to grow in dry mountain environments.

“Gardening for success at 7,000 feet with an 80-day season can be challenging,” Lance says. “But it can also be extremely rewarding when using heirloom varieties that are adapted to our growing conditions.” A certified Master Gardener, she has been the administrator of the Ridgway Community Garden for two years and has been growing vegetables for much of her life.

Heidi Comstock, a local greenhouse gardener, will speak on “Greenhouse Growing for the Home Gardener.” She will explain how to choose an appropriate greenhouse and discuss construction and installation issues.

Comstock will address the realities of maintaining a greenhouse environment and offer horticultural hints and handouts on raising greenhouse plants. She has over 15 years of greenhouse experience and owns a commercial-sized greenhouse on Log Hill. Her business, Gratitude Gardens and Greenhouse, provides educational opportunities for observing year-round greenhouse growing. Comstock also raises organic vegetable and herb starts for local nurseries.

The evening will conclude with a question-and-answer session between panelists and the audience. The public is welcome to attend ROCC Talks on the third Thursday of even-numbered months, and ROCC business meetings, also on third Thursdays, in odd-numbered months. All meetings begin at 7 p.m., after refreshments and socializing, in the Ridgway Town Hall community room.

Contacts: Kate Kellogg, katebkellogg@gmail.com, Roze Evans, evanslowande@gmail.com..
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