I’m always intrigued to see what other people grow in their kitchen gardens. So, when we went to visit my sister-in-law, Kristin, I went straight out into her back garden to inspect her ‘square-foot gardening’. I was amazed (and I must admit slightly jealous) by what she was growing in such a small space. 

Practically, everything Kristin was growing was bigger than the plants I had in the UK. Her corn was nearly 7 or 8 foot high, and her Basil plant was huge and very healthy (we got a bucket-load of leaves from it to make fresh Pesto). She was also growing a ton of Jalapeno peppers that were already fruiting, a Watermelon and lots of Cherry Tomatoes.

I had assumed that since Colorado is so dry that it wouldn’t be the ideal place for growing vegetables. However, it is sunny; over 300 days of sunshine per year. And the bottom line is that you can provide water, but you can’t provide sunshine, especially in the UK where I live. 

For me it’s always touch and go with veg like Sweetcorn, Tomatoes, Melons, Basil and Chili Pepper – will they ripen in time, will they get enough sunshine? In Colorado they certainly don’t have to worry about that.

11 Responses to “Kristin’s Colorado Kitchen Garden”

  1. Kerrion 25 Aug 2008 at 9:25 pm

    Yes, isn’t her garden the BEST? I too am jealous. Of both of you, actually! ;)

  2. stephenon 26 Aug 2008 at 3:09 am

    hello,

    I’m not sure how or where I came across you blog a while ago, but I’ve been enjoying it ever since. I figured that now would be as good of a time to introduce myself. I live in Fort Collins, Colorado, USA. (about an hour north of Denver) When I read you post I was struck with how surprised I was with how quickly you would trade rain for sunshine. I suppose that it is true that “absence make your heart grow fonder,” because I would gladly trade some sunshine for natural irrigation. Maybe we can work out a barter system. My sun for your rain. We are having such a dry summer; we’re nearly 5 inches below our normal rainfall (which for us is a huge amount).

    I suppose that’s all I have to say. I really enjoy your blog. Thanks for this tips and the good thoughts.

    stephen.

  3. mtpon 26 Aug 2008 at 11:27 pm

    Hi Stephen,

    What a coincidence – the photos were taken in Fort Collins!
    Yes you’re right, the grass is always greener. But I really would like more sunshine in the UK – if only to ripen my perpetually green tomatoes :)

    Today we went to the top of Pike’s Peak (cheating, by car) it was amazing.

  4. Derekon 26 Aug 2008 at 11:57 pm

    Hello,

    I’m also not sure how or where I came across your blog, but have been reading it now for about a year. I have just purchased 1/4 acre of land on Vancouver Island (way north of Colorado) and I’m wondering if we get too much rain! Statistics show that this area receives more than 315 rain days per year! The ‘Plant Hardiness Zone’ is around 7A or 7B so it is mild year round. How much rain is too much? I suppose I’ll have to make full use of the greenhouse that came with the house.

    :)
    Derek

  5. mtpon 27 Aug 2008 at 12:31 am

    Hi Derek,

    I’ve been to Vancouver Island – we stayed in Tofino. It was amazing. It didn’t rain much, as I remember, but then it was in July.

    How much is too much rain? Simple – when your Tomatoes all die from blight. That’s how much is too much :)

  6. Andreaon 27 Aug 2008 at 1:48 am

    Hi there,

    I’ve also been reading your blog for about a year now and loving it. My partner and I are in downtown Victoria on Vancouver Island and have the luxury of buying our veg, flowers and free-range eggs from our neighbors’ “Backyard Farm.” We’ve had a very dry summer here so the veggies are growing like mad, and the trees are dripping with apples, pears, plums and peaches.

    It breaks my heart that we can’t afford to buy acreage of our own in this lotusland, but we’re desperate to start our own organic market garden. So we’re heading to Canada’s east coast or back to Roddy’s native Scotland later this year to pursue the good life.

    We’ll have to adjust to the lack of sun, but we’ll have what’s fast becoming the most sought after commodity in the world: water, and plenty of it.

    We’ll look to your great site for garden survival tips!

  7. SquareFootHammeron 27 Aug 2008 at 4:10 pm

    It’s nice to see other Square Foot gardeners in action. Have to say, I’m really disappointed with mine this year though, but that’s probably down to bad planning, and awful weather. I’ll just keep hoping that our British climate provides some sun at some point this summer? What a joke!

    Keep enjoying yourself out there, you’re not missing much back here :-)

  8. Derekon 31 Aug 2008 at 10:58 pm

    Hey mtp and Andrea. I’m up in Coal Harbour on the northwest coast. I think we get a LOT more rain up here than our fellow islanders to the south (although you get quite a bit as well).

    Too bad land isn’t more affordable so people like you can stay on the island and produce and promote sustainable living. Good luck with your new search!

    Cheers,

    Derek

  9. Parsecon 01 Sep 2008 at 2:58 am

    Beautiful photographs…nice blog, too.

  10. Micheleon 06 Oct 2008 at 2:14 am

    It’s hard to garden here in Phoenix. We have the right amount of sun but too much heat. We container garden here. Lack of water makes container gardening a must.

  11. Kristenon 16 Jun 2011 at 10:14 pm

    Wonderful pictures of SFG in Fort Collins. I also live in Fort Collins and would love to see that in action. I covet those boxes; that is what I want mine to look like. Would your sister-in-law like some admirers?