30 January 2012

Growing vegetables at altitude/colder climates

I've often commented that growing vegetables 1,000 feet above sea level can be quite challenging at times.

Apart from having to put on an extra layer when we head outside, we're on average three weeks behind the growing conditions of friends five miles below at the bottom of the hill.

In the summer time we can be as much as 6 or 7 degrees cooler (much to our children's horror when they're at school dreaming of the paddling pool on their return home, only to find it's freezing!)

However, don't despair if you do live in colder climes as there are several things you can do which will still make growing vegetables year round possible.

1. If strong winds are a problem consider using wind break fabric or planting a native hedge to lessen the impact. (If you decide upon a hedge, bear in mind shading and space - what starts as a little spindly stick may be taking up two metres or more of precious space within a few years and you will have to prune it).

2. When reading up on sowing times and you're told you can sow between February to April - always choose April! The earlier month is aimed at people who live in warmer areas.

3. Stock up on horticultural fleece to quickly throw over beds if there's a frost - this could be in springtime or autumn.

4. Choose varieties of vegetables that mature quickly, rather than the much longer to grow maincrops (especially carrots!)

5. Save up and buy a greenhouse or polytunnel. This really is worth considering. Ours transformed the amount and variety of veg we are able to grow. If you haven't got the space or cash, consider using cloches.

6. Start seedlings off indoors, giving them a head start so you can plant them outside as soon as it's warm enough.

7. Make sure you're lashings are tight on any supports as the wind is quite likely to test them.

8. If you're more experienced (and really keen), you can cover beds with clear polythene to warm up the soil, remove it, sow your veg then cover with cloches to protect them (not advised for beginners) though does work.

Do you have any more tips? If so I'd love to hear them...


  1. These are all excellent tips on growing in a cooler climate. I tried to think of something to add but it looks like you have all the bases covered. Not heeding the advice in point #2 is what really gets people in trouble where we live. So very often the month of May starts off warm and sunny, tomatoes and peppers go in the ground only to be frozen solid by the end of the month. I fell for this trick of nature a couple times years ago but have since learned my lesson.:) Beautiful garden pictures, I can't wait to see our own runner beans in bloom once again.

    1. Thanks for that lovely feedback :-) I think we all have to experience those failures to truly learn by them - I'm always pushing the boundaries to see what I can get away with. Good luck with the season ahead!

  2. Thanks for the post mate you have written it very well.

  3. Some very good answers. I will ask locally what grows well. One poster suggests I start off with potatoes and move on to other veg. I think I will try this. Thanks.


Please feel free to leave a comment on my posts (if only to let me know that someone is reading them!)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...