Edible Landscapes at Altitude: Growing Your Own Food in Colorado


Tips & Tricks



January 11, 2024

Edible Landscapes at Altitude: Growing Your Own Food in Colorado

Embracing Your Green Thumb in the Rocky Mountain State

farm grown green pepper

Colorado's unique climate and elevation present both challenges and opportunities for garden enthusiasts. By starting an edible garden, you gain control over what goes into your food, promote a healthier lifestyle, and find an educational tool for all ages. Whether it's fruit bushes, vegetables, or herbs, the joy of watching your garden thrive is unparalleled​​.

First Steps: Laying the Foundation

Begin your gardening journey by starting small. Choose plants that you enjoy eating and gradually expand your selection as you gain experience. Select a garden location with ample sunlight—at least six hours daily—and easy access to water. Using contaminant-free soil, possibly in raised beds, provides better control over soil quality and plant nutrients​​.

Overcoming Colorado’s Altitude and Climate

Despite the elevation and long cold season, many fruits and vegetables can flourish in Colorado. Starting seeds indoors is a great way to get a head start on the growing season, ensuring a bountiful harvest even in challenging conditions​​.

Fruitful Harvests: Trees and Bushes for High Altitude

In Colorado's unique weather, certain fruit trees and bushes excel. Apples, pears, apricots, cherries, peaches, and plums are all viable options. These trees can withstand low temperatures as Fahrenheit if planted in sheltered areas, and properly watered. For berry enthusiasts, red and yellow raspberries, currants, and strawberries make excellent choices​​​​.

Herbal Haven: Cultivating Aromatic and Useful Herbs

Herbs are not only easy to grow but also beneficial in attracting pollinators and deterring pests. In Colorado, mint, rosemary, parsley, oregano, catnip, sage, thyme, garlic, chives, chamomile, bronze fennel, lemongrass, lavender, and lemon balm are great additions to any garden​​.

Inviting Nature’s Helpers: Attracting Pollinators

Encouraging pollinators like bees and butterflies is crucial for a healthy garden. Companion planting, incorporating seasonal flowers, using native plants, and avoiding harmful pesticides are effective strategies. Planting herbs like mint, oregano, and thyme can also attract these beneficial insects​​.

Safeguarding Your Edible Paradise: Pest Control

Protecting your garden from pests is essential. Physical barriers, such as greenhouses or wire nets, help keep birds and squirrels at bay. Insect-protecting covers can safeguard plants without harming pollinators. Opting for natural pest control methods is preferable to maintaining an organic garden​​.

The Fruits of Your Labor

farm grown tomatoes

Gardening in Colorado is not just about growing food; it's about the satisfaction and connection with nature it brings. The joy of harvesting your produce, sharing with family and neighbors, and knowing you nurtured each plant from seed to fruit is immeasurable. Whether in your backyard or a community plot, the journey of creating an edible garden in Colorado is a fulfilling and enriching experience.

FAQs for Growing Food in Colorado

Can I grow vegetables year-round in Colorado?

While not all vegetables can be grown year-round, a variety of cool-season crops like kale, spinach, and carrots thrive in the cooler months, while others can be grown in the warmer seasons​​.

How can I protect my garden from common pests in Colorado?

Using physical barriers, insect-protecting covers, and natural pest control methods are effective ways to protect your garden from pests like birds, squirrels, and harmful insects​​.

Are there any herbs that are particularly easy to grow in Colorado?

Herbs like mint, rosemary, parsley, and oregano are not only easy to grow in Colorado but also help in attracting pollinators and deterring pests​​.

What are some tips for beginners starting an edible garden in Colorado?

Beginners should start small, choose a sunny location, use contaminant-free soil, and consider raised beds for better soil and nutrient control. Starting seeds indoors can also be beneficial given Colorado's long cold season​​.