Everything is turning green in Northern Colorado! After last year's safer-at-home summer, many have begun to resurrect their gardenbut if this is your first time getting your hands dirty you might be a little unsure of what to plant. While the At Home Realty team isn’t exactly made up of expert gardeners, we know first-hand what it’s like planting (and perhaps accidentally killing a few times) a garden in this sometimes-fickle region of the state. Here’s what our team has successfully grown and recommends for your Northern Colorado garden.
It’s not summer until someone’s best friend’s cousin is looking to offload their overwhelming bumper-crop of zucchinis bigger than your head on you. It’s no wonder warm weather squash like zucchini, cucumber, and eggplant are popular Colorado garden staples as they are just so stinkin’ easy to grow! Beware though, these vines need lots of space to spread out and can quickly take over.
Drive around the Old Town neighborhoods in late summer and you’ll know how much of a local-favorite sunflowers are. Plant smaller ornamental varieties for an easy-cutting garden or go all-in with the larger edible-seed-producing ones. Fun fact, sunflowers track the sun during their bud stage through a natural phenomenon called "heliotropism," by which motor cells in the stem just below the bud cause the head to follow the sun as it moves from east to west. It returns to the eastward orientation at night.
A great multitasker in the kitchen, fennel is also an easy addition to the garden that you'll likely see popping up year after year. There are two types of fennel 'Florence Fennel' is used more like a vegetable and is grown for its bulbous stem. 'Herb fennel,' doesn't produce much of a bulb, and it is typically grown for its foliage and used as an herb. Be careful not to plant in the same area as dill or coriander because they will cross-pollinate easily.
A great option if you're limited on space or want to start a container garden, peppers have a relatively smaller footprint and easy to tend to all summer long. While there is a vast variety of Colorado-friendly peppers, we recommend planting a New Mexican chile variety that you can harvest and smoke or roast later on. Yum!
Corn makes a fun addition to a garden–if you have space. Corn is actually wind pollinated which means it should be planted in blocks rather than long, single rows for best pollination. You’ll also want to make sure you’re fertilizing enough throughout the summer to get the best yield.
Flowers are fickle in Colorado. Soil can be dense and hard and the dry heat of summer can make growing them an uphill battle. But if you just can’t get that English cottage surrounded by flowers out of your head, we highly recommend planting hollyhocks. These fast-growing annuals have a long blooming season and are pretty easy to care for making them the perfect addition to a first-time or low-maintenance garden.
Brussel sprouts get a bad rap, and if your only experience with them is from the grocery store, we kind of understand why. Brussel sprouts are best eaten, young and fresh off the stalk, so growing them for yourself is ideal. Not to mention Brussel sprouts look pretty wild in plant form (seriously if you don’t already know what they look like go look them up know) and make a great conversation starter with any garden visitors.
Kale, lettuce, cabbage, collards, and mustard can all be at home in a Northern Colorado garden. When looking to add greens to your garden make sure to pay attention to what you are buying–ornamental varieties of kale and cabbage are widely popular and a pretty addition for a flower bed but are not tasty.
Nothing says classic garden like tomatoes. Another great option for container or in-ground gardens alike, there is an overwhelming amount of tomato varieties available in Colorado. Talk with your garden center expert about what would be best for you. We recommend getting AT LEAST a few different varieties that will yield at different intervals and with unique flavors to mix things up all summer long. Honestly, an all tomato garden sounds pretty amazing if you ask us.
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