Planting Calendar for the Colorado Front Range

I saw this postcard while I was waiting for my order at Watercourse Foods the other day and I scanned it for a friend of mine. Then I thought other Coloradans would find this useful too so I decided to post it on my blog. The calendar lists the fruits and veggies that are best to grow in Colorado and the right times to start them indoors, when to plant and when to harvest.

Click the image to see the large version.

Thanks to Breathe Yoga and Cycling Studios for putting this together.


Global Warming is Changing Our Vegetable Planting Zones and How You Can Help Save the Environment

I always pick up the free Natural Awakenings magazine from my local Sunflower Market grocery store when the new issue comes out every month. There are regional versions of the magazine, so check your local specialty health store to see if they have one for your city.

Anyway, there was an article in the April 2012 issue in the Denver/Boulder Mile High Edition that really caught my eye. I scanned it so that you can read it yourself.

This is scary news!!

It’s great that we now have a longer growing season, and it’s neat being able to grow foods that previously couldn’t be grown in certain planting zones, but the drawbacks of global warming certainly outweigh those benefits.

We’re killing our planet!

If you’re a gardener, you’ve probably noticed how the early heat-waves have put the growing season in fast-forward. The same thing is happening to commercial growers. Their foods are growing super-fast so they need to harvest early. It’s also causing vegetable yields to wilt fast.

This is putting a dent in their profits, which will eventually pass the cost down to the consumer.

So what can you do to help?

Here’s a great list of things you can do to prevent global warming.

Here are some of the things I do to help the environment.

  • I buy only compact fluorescent light bulbs
  • I use recycled paper (toilet paper, paper towels, writing paper)
  • I take quick showers (I’ve actually switched to cold showers too)
  • I ride my bike to work twice a week (28 miles per day)
  • I try to plan all shopping for one day a week, to cut down on how much I drive
  • I compost what I can, instead of throwing it away
  • I use the Misto oil sprayer for olive oil and coconut oil instead of buying canned aerosol sprays
  • I do all of my dishes by hand and use the dishwasher only as a dry-rack
  • I use a battery-powered lawnmower and weed-whacker

These are just a few things that come to mind right now. I’m sure there are many others. I always try to think about what’s best for the environment with everything that I do. I’m not perfect, but I do what I can.

Do you have your own tips to help save the environment? I’d love to hear them!

Harvested My First Beet of the Year From the Garden


The leaves of the beets in my garden at work are getting pretty big and I was wondering if they might be ready to pick. I heard somewhere that if you start to see the tops of the beets out of the soil, they are ready to pick so I looked for one that fit the description and I picked it.

Guess what!


…they’re not ready (sorta) 😉

But look at the beautiful colors. I love eating my fruits and veggies of color.

I did a quick search online and found a forum thread on when to harvest beets and people seem to suggest that it’s really just a matter of preference. If you pick beets when they’re small, they will be higher quality, but obviously lower yield. Or you can wait for them to grow halfway out of the ground, but the longer you wait, the lower the quality and tougher the beet will get. I guess it’s just something I’m going to have to experiment with.

I’m excited to go home after work today to blend this little guy, and his leaves, into a delicious smoothie. I think I’ll make a beet, ginger, spinach, and banana smoothie. Mmmm.

Get a Head Start On Your Garden By Planting Seeds Indoors

It’s about that time to start getting ready for gardening season. I just bought my little Jiffy greenhouse and some seeds, so I’m ready to go! I’m so excited to get my garden going again. I’ve been planning for the last month on what I’m going to grow this year and yesterday I got my seeds started indoors. Here’s how I planned everything out.

The Last Frost Date

For many states, the last frost date of the year is somewhere around April 1st. For Colorado, where I live, it’s around April 20th. Knowing the last frost date is important, because a little plant won’t survive a freeze outdoors. Check out this handy list of first/last frost dates by state from Victory Seeds to find the date for your area.

Planting Seeds Indoors

Once you know your average frost date, look at the backs of your seed package to find out how early you should plant your seeds before the last frost date. Various plants have different planting schedules, for example the carrots package I have tells me to plant 2 weeks before the last frost, but the tomatoes tell me to plant 5-7 weeks before.

You don’t want to plant too early or those veggies are going to outgrow their containers. I had this happen to me in my first year of gardening and it was a lot of work transplanting them to larger pots. I also had some crazy large plants overtaking my kitchen table and counters. It was a mess, but also a great learning experience. 😉

Not all seed packages will tell you how soon to plant the seeds indoors, but you’re generally safe if you plant them at least 4 weeks before the estimated frost date. Even 6 weeks might be fine, depending on the vegetable, but you’re pushing it if you plant any sooner than that.

I’ve purchased a somewhat large (72 plant) Jiffy greenhouse to get my plants started this year. I bought everything that I needed a couple of weeks ago when it was still too early for me to plant my seeds inside, but I wanted to get everything in order and planned.

Based on the average last frost date for my area, I’m counting back based on that date and marking in my calendar when to plant indoors. I’m actually using iCalendar on my Macbook so that it pops up a reminder on that day, but you can use a simple wall calendar if you want.

Here’s an example of my planting schedule, based on the estimated last frost date of April 20th, here in Colorado. I used this online calendar to count back from my last frost date.

Start indoors 8 weeks before last frost date – Feb. 24th

  • Tomatoes
  • Green onions
  • Yellow onion
  • Peppers

Start indoors 6 weeks before last frost date – March 9th

  • Broccoli

Start indoors 4 weeks before last frost date – March 23rd

  • Swiss Chard
  • Spinach
  • Cucumber
  • Kale

You might notice that there aren’t any root vegetables in my list, which is because root vegetables don’t like to be handled, so it’s best to directly sow the seeds into the garden.

Watch Out For a Freeze After the Estimated Last Frost Date

Weather is unpredictable. It’s impossible to know if there will be a freeze after the estimated last frost date. If you get a freeze, some of your vegetables could be toast. If you’re worried, you can plant your vegetables a little later or you can buy a cold frame. I haven’t actually used a cold frame myself, but I’ve been doing a lot of research about them recently. I’ll probably set one up over my garden near the end of the growing season to get a few more weeks out of my garden.

Plant What You Need

I’m so excited to get started with my garden this year. This is only my third year of gardening, but it has a whole new meaning to me this time. I became vegan back in July of last year, so plants are now a major part of my diet.

In the last couple of years, I sort of just planted random vegetables because they sounded good, but I found that I wasn’t using them as much as I should have. I still ended up going to the grocery store for stuff that I really needed. This time I’m only planting foods that I eat regularly. I’m not wasting space this year.

Update: If you live in Colorado, here’s a great planting schedule.

* image courtesy of”>Scrap Pile