When is the best time to plant a garden in Denver?

Posted by Mic Ortega on Monday, April 26th, 2010 at 11:42am.

 

What is the best time to plant in Denver?  Is there a certain date?  With the crazy weather we have in April, case in point the snow we saw on Friday and last night, it can make it difficult to decide when the last big storm will be and at what point you can be confident the time you spent in in the dirt on hands and knees will be worth it.  I have heard, "Don't plant before Mother's Day" and "Wait for the last frost."  But in Colorado, who knows when the last frost is going to be.

As you can imagine, gardening is becoming more popular than ever.  Most gardeners agree that the earth-ripened flavors make planting and growing a veggie and herb garden worth the effort. There's also a budget-friendly incentive. A garden of 600 square feet can yield a $500 return on an average gardener's investment in seeds, plants, fertilizer and other garden supplies, according to the National Gardening Association.

Following the advise of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, now is the time to plant, well at least some items.  Here is the schedule that they recommend to maximize your return for veggies this summer and to believe it or not, actually have three crops of veggies in our short, Colorado growing season.  If you have any other suggestions and certain dates or time-lines you suggest, please let us know.

What to plant when 

Crop #1 - Cool season veggies - plant mid-March

By selecting early-maturing varieties and depending on the weather, these veggies will have completed their cycle by around early May.  A cooler spring may extend the standard days to maturity.

  • Early lettuce, like bibb
  • Radishes
  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Sugar snap peas or other peas that mature early

Crop #2 - Warm season veggies - plant early May

For the second crop, you may want to start from small plants rather than seeds.  When they have matured and been harvested, there will still be time for one more crop.

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Small cabbage
  • Peas

Crop #3 - Cool season veggies - plant mid-July

Repeat your favorites from Crop #1 and add green onions and early maturing snap beans.  Even though you plant in July when it's hot, cooler days and especially, cooler nights, are just around the corner in August.  This last crop should thrive in these conditions and give one last harvest before the fall frost.

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