With summer just around the corner and sunlight beginning to draw color out of the spectacular Wyoming landscape, it’s finally time to reach for the garden tools.
Whether it’s a row of spring flowers or a full array of vegetables, the western mountain climate can prove both fruitful and challenging for the everyday green thumb. Typically, gardeners want to keep an eye on plants that can outlast the unique environment of Wyoming landscape: intense sunlight, dry, windy, and average alkaline soils. Here are a few tips for gardeners:
- Jackson Hole’s growing season is short are varied. Knowing this allows you to plan which veggies will work best where you live. Cool-season vegetables are best used in this part of the state. For example, some items we have found that grow best are carrots, squash, zucchini, sunflowers, kale, spinach and sometimes broccoli.
- To be on the safe side, always purchase seeds or plants that will mature in 85 days or fewer. Seed packets will tell you the plants’ days-to-maturity, and just about everything you need to know will be on the seed packet.
- If buying potted plants, be sure to harden them off before transplanting them to the garden.These plants were grown in a greenhouse and were protected from the wind and intense sunlight. Putting them directly into the ground can fry these plants. Hardening off simply means putting these tender plants in direct sunlight and wind for limited amounts of time each day. About a week before planting, start your plants with 15 minutes of sun and wind. Double the time each day thereafter so the plants are outside one hour on the third day, two hours on the fourth day and so on. By the sixth day, your plants should spend eight hours in the sun and wind.
Wind is such a common feature in Wyoming; however its effects on a garden can be disastrous. If a sheltered area is not available, create one. It can be as simple as making a windbreak out of bales of straw on the windward side of the garden or use a shade cloth that can be found at many hardware stores.
Visit with local community gardeners. They can be an excellent source of information. Also, look for local gardening classes to attend.
No matter the level of experience or interest, gardening in Jackson Hole is a great way to kick off the warm weather season. For more information and resources on gardening in Jackson Hole, please contact one of our seasoned gardeners at Jackson Hole Real Estate Associates. Many of our agents have been planting in the area for years.