It’s mid-February. And while it may seem early to be thinking of spring and summer, Mother Nature is hard at work getting ready. If you believe in the Groundhog’s prediction, 2019 will have an early spring. So, what does that mean for you and your garden?
Colorado gardening has gotten a bad rap through the years by those who think it is difficult to grow plants in the high desert or mountain soil. But what it takes is a little patience, a lot of water and a healthy dose of Colorado’s bright high-altitude sunshine to make things grow.
So, let’s look at some reasons to get outside and grow some of our own flowers and produce. From eating your own plants and brightening up your house with beautiful flowers, you can find many reasons to grow things at home.
how do you know when it’s time to plant?
If you’re like many people, you didn’t grow up on a farm or even with a family who enjoyed digging in the dirt. The U.S. Department of Agriculture takes the guesswork out of deciding on planting times.
The hardiness map divides North America into 11 separate planting zones; each growing zone is 10° warmer (or colder) in an average winter than the adjacent zone. If you see a hardiness zone picture in a gardening calendar or on a plant description at the nursery, it is likely referring to this USDA map.
The USDA has created a vegetable planting calendar that shows when to plant based on where you live. With the help of the Urban Farmer website based in Denver, Colorado, https://bit.ly/2tkNt1X, you’ll be starting your own garden of wonders in no time at all.
Your garden can be your salad bar, your florist and your peaceful haven. You get to decide what to grow and nurture. It can feed both your body and your spirit.
How? Let’s see.
some of the best plants for colorado gardens
Although Colorado is broken into Zones 3-7, many gardeners fall into the planting regions of 5b -6b (Denver/Boulder and Front Range cities). There are microclimates throughout the area. Be sure to check your Zone. You could be living in a pocket of colder or hotter air and soil. Give your plants all the advantages you can by composting, using good nutrient-rich dirt and allowing for the space it will take to grow your prized crop.
Growing your own food is almost a primal act. You are providing for yourself and family by making the food you eat. Making it. You purchase the seeds or seedlings, you nurture them in the late winter months, you till the soil to plant.
After planting, then you wait. Sometimes just a few weeks, sometimes a little longer. But the feeling you get when you see that little shoot spring through the soil is exhilarating.
You did this. You are making food.
Some of the most common vegetables grown in Colorado are due to the cool, wet springs the state has. Greens are one of the most common crops for backyard gardeners in the state. Lettuce, spinach, kale, broccoli, beets and celery. Add in radishes, tomatoes, peppers, corn, potatoes and carrots and you have an incredible bounty of food to keep you healthy and satisfied for a long while.
Colorado is also well-known for growing zucchini and other squash and pumpkins. Of all shapes and sizes.
Let’s not forget fruit. Cantaloupe, watermelon, peach, apple, crabapple, plum trees, strawberries, raspberries, and other vine fruit – they all do well in well-drained, sunny areas.
Flowers are planted by many for their beauty, and by others for their holistic uses. Colorado gardeners know that there are many uses for the plants they grow.
The state is known for its carnations, roses and poppies. But almost as well-known for its flowering plants that both smell good and are helpful for aromatherapy. The lavender plant is hardy and grows very well in Colorado soil. And cornflowers – or echinacea – also thrive in the warm sunny climate.
protect your body from injury and the elements
When you are out and about in your garden – no matter how big or small – always be sure to pay attention to your body while you are planting, weeding or harvesting.
1) Make sure that you are bending and lifting in a smooth motion. If your back is not supported, the muscles of your neck, shoulders, spine and legs will be crying by the end of the day. Don’t overstretch or extend past your limits.
2) Strains can happen by twisting your body when gardening. Be gentle with your muscles as they move while planting, watering, weeding and even bending over to smell the roses.
3) Always cover your skin with sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher), clothes or a hat. The Colorado sun is well-known for burning skin in record time.
4) Drink water and take frequent breaks when working outside. Staying hydrated is a must whenever you are working in the garden. You will be more productive with your energy and time if you don’t push through too much. This can cause you stress and place strain on your muscles that may not have been stretched for a time.
playing in the dirt is good for you
Gardening can be a fun way to enjoy nature. And to see the fruits of your labor is its own reward. Just like when you were a child playing in the dirt, digging in a garden is a great way to reconnect with the earth and ground yourself.
To schedule an appointment for treatment with chiropractic, acupuncture or massage, please contact Shimer Chiropractic today at 720-340-4107. Your body will thank you.