Why Gardening at High Elevation Is Challenging
Growing vegetables at 9,750-foot elevation can not only be difficult but an annual challenge. Our average snowfall is 264 inches a year and when it finally melts and is only in small patches as depicted in the photo we try to get our seeds planted. Sometimes we then receive spring storms that in other locals would be rain storms but here they are snow events. Just such a storm occurred recently dropping 17 inches of heavy wet snow on us. This year I was not caught by surprise so I only had one garden box planted.
Spinach is a very hardy plant and I had planted the seeds last fall so they would come up this spring. They were earlier buried under 5-6 feet of snow and ice throughout the winter but when it finally melted the seeds germinated and were up about half-an-inch above the soil when this storm occurred. We watch the weather forecast carefully and when we knew this one was going to impact our area I put 50-percent sun screen over the box to protect the tender plants. While we had 17 inches of wet heavy snow piled onto the garden box it now only serves to act as a slow water drip for the plants and the seedlings survived and now have a source of water for the next several days. Other vegetables like carrots, lettuce, zucchini and radishes do not handle the cold nights as well so they have not been planted yet.