The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Mountain Statesby Mary Ann Newcomer
Growing vegetables requires regionally specific information—what to plant, when to plant it, and when to harvest are based on climate, weather, and first frost. The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Mountain States tackles this need head on, with regionally specific growing information written by local gardening expert, Mary Ann Newcomer/i>
Growing vegetables requires regionally specific information—what to plant, when to plant it, and when to harvest are based on climate, weather, and first frost. The Timber Press Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Mountain States tackles this need head on, with regionally specific growing information written by local gardening expert, Mary Ann Newcomer. This region includes Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, eastern Washington and Oregon, northern Nevada, and the southernmost parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan. Monthly planting guides show exactly what you can do in the garden from January through December. The skill sets go beyond the basics with tutorials on seed saving, worm bins, and more.
“Great, beginner-oriented gardening book… it piles on the tips, charts and checklists for everywhere along the Rockies. And the prose in Idahoan Mary Ann Newcomer's Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Mountain States has just the right touch. You can tell she's been there and planted that and knows our region's eccentricities like the back of her trowel.”
“Great, beginner-oriented gardening book. . . . it piles on the tips, charts and checklists for everywhere along the Rockies. And the prose in Idahoan Mary Ann Newcomer's Guide to Vegetable Gardening in the Mountain States has just the right touch. You can tell she's been there and planted that and knows our region's eccentricities like the back of her trowel.” —The Denver Post “How do you use the region's hot, dry summer weather to grow the sweetest bell peppers? And during the long winter months, how can you protect overwintering root vegetables from frost? Mary Ann Newcomer answers these questions and more while covering the many eccentricities of gardening in the arid West.” —The Idaho Statesman “Worth a long look. . . . packed with good information.” —The Pueblo Chieftain
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Read an Excerpt
Preface Growing your own food is a remarkable experience. I am fascinated to know that a seed the size of a freckle can produce pounds and pounds of tomatoes. A seed the size of a fingernail can yield a 300-pound pumpkin. A pencil-sized twig will give you baskets and baskets of raspberries! Our geographic region is well known for its stunning scenery, but did you know it’s also the home of the famous Walla Walla sweet onions, Idaho’s legendary potatoes, and Green River and Hermiston melons? You can grow these mouthwatering vegetables and fruits in your own garden. In fact, you can plan on eating deliciously from your Rocky Mountain garden twelve months of the year. The edible garden season of the Rocky Mountain west starts slowly in late spring with tender new salad greens, crimson red rhubarb, and luscious fat strawberries. Crisp new peas, scallions, and raspberries are ready for the table mid-season. By late summer, with our long, hot, dry days, home gardeners can sit down to tables overflowing with sweet corn, potatoes, tomatoes, and melons. The region boasts some of the finest growing conditions for abundant harvests of late-season vegetables and fruits. Squash and pumpkins enjoy the dry heat, and can be tucked away for a winter’s store. It takes some forethought and planning to reap these tasty rewards from your garden. You will need to have your “garden game on” in this remarkable part of the country. Its amazing topography of skyscraping peaks and vast sagebrush steppe offers up weather conditions as dramatic as they are variable. The mountain states region (also called “intermountain west”) addressed in this guide includes Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, eastern Washington and eastern Oregon, as well as northern Nevada—almost 700,000 square miles. To the north, we’ve also included 400,000-plus square miles of southern Alberta and southern Saskatchewan because plants and pollinators are not restricted by national boundaries. Growing seasons can be as short as 60 days in high mountain towns, while “banana belt” areas at lower altitudes can have almost 150 days. Intermountain gardeners deal with lean and mean soils and serious water issues; late frosts and early snows; hot deserts and nippy mountain nights; and lots of grazing creatures with and without spines. I begin the book with a discussion of what the home gardener needs to know to start and maintain a vegetable garden in the intermountain west. This high and dry region presents unique challenges for the gardener, with its widely varied topography, extreme climates, and surprising ecoregions. And so I explore these issues for you, by state or province, and provide tips on how to accommodate them. Then I guide you through designing your own garden, figuring out what soil type you have and how to work with it, learning about seeds and plants, and choosing what to plant in your area and how to cultivate each selection. By the way, I’ve included some fruits in the book. Although we refer to eggplants, tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers as vegetables, in fact they are fruits, since they are the ovaries bearing the seeds for future plants. Annual fruits, such as melons, are a delicious and time-honored tradition in the food garden. Berries, such as raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries are at their very best right after you pick them. In part 2, I outline a yearlong plan for keeping nutritious, delicious, homegrown food on the table. Each month has a plan of action for creating your own successful garden, with detailed to-do lists, recommended varieties of vegetables and fruits for your particular area, seasonal charts for sowing and harvesting, and tips for getting an early start and extending the growing season as long as possible. Beginning in the short days of January when seed catalogs fill the mailbox, and steadily progressing through the gardener’s year, this month-by-month guide helps you grow an abundance of the finest and freshest vegetables, herbs, and fruits. In part 3, you will find detailed descriptions of the vegetables or fruits that you can grow in your particular location, and listings of exceptional varieties you might select. Each one was chosen for adaptability to our region, productivity, and peak flavor. Included are planting instructions and the number of days until harvest for each particular vegetable or fruit. On pages 000–000 you will also find helpful charts showing approximately when to plant and harvest, depending on where you live. If you don’t have a patch of ground to set aside for an edible garden, no worries. Follow my suggestions for creating raised beds, container gardens, or tucking edibles into borders. Tomatoes climbing upward against a warm fence? Strawberries thriving in fruit crates? Carrots popping up in pots? Of course! Your garden, your food, your table: Delicious!
Meet the Author
Mary Ann Newcomer is an accomplished horticulturist, garden designer, regional garden blogger, and the former President of the Idaho Botanical Garden. In 2011, the American Horticulture Society highlighted her accomplishments in the American Gardener Magazine as a “member who makes a difference.” She lives in Boise, ID.
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