Creating Your Summer Vegetable Garden

New to gardening, but want to experience the joy of eating the produce you grow yourself? With Colorado’s sunny climate, a variety of vegetables grow very well. Here we share tips for creating your own vegetable garden.

Plan your garden space. When planning your garden, the first consideration is your space. If you own a large property with a lot of land, you can create a large, fenced garden. If your yard is smaller or you only want to manage a smaller garden, consider several 4’ x 8’ raised beds. You can build raised beds yourself or buy a kit to assemble from a home and garden store.

Do you own a townhome with a small yard or patio? Small raised garden beds can be a great option. For very small spaces, container gardening also works well. If you’re going to use pots, bigger is better and plastic retains more moisture than terracotta.

If you don’t have any private outdoor space, there’s still an option for you. Try an indoor garden, such as those from Boulder-based AeroGarden.

Decide how you want to water. Next, you need to choose how you are going to water your garden. With a large garden, you can set up a manual sprinkler or install a sprinkler system. With raised beds and container gardening, your most low maintenance option is to install a simple drip system. You can find drip system kits at your local home and garden store. You can also opt to hand water, but be forewarned in Colorado’s dry climate, this is often a daily commitment!

Choose your crops. Finally, select what you want to grow. In large gardens, you can grow anything that agrees with our climate. However, with raised beds (especially smaller ones) you may want to opt for vegetables that take up less space, like lettuce, root vegetables, or zucchini, or that can grow up a trellis, like cucumbers or beans.

Surprisingly, with container gardening, you still have a lot of options. Here are some recommendations for easy container gardening plants:

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Greens
  • Eggplant
  • Purple Potato Vines
  • Fort Laramie Strawberries
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Mint
  • Scallions

(Scallions and mint can be planted with geraniums and other annuals to deter Japanese beetles.)

If you’re creating an indoor garden, you can choose from lettuce, greens, herbs, and tomatoes.

Tip: Starting many types of vegetables from seed can be tough, especially for first-time gardeners. At nurseries and garden stores you can buy starters or small plants that are ready to be put in the soil today!