I’ve often commented that growing vegetables 1,000 feet above sea level can be quite challenging at times.
Apart from having to put on an extra layer when we head outside, we’re on average three weeks behind the growing conditions of friends five miles below at the bottom of the hill.
In the summer time we can be as much as 6 or 7 degrees cooler (much to our children’s horror when they’re at school dreaming of the paddling pool on their return home, only to find it’s freezing!)
However, don’t despair if you do live in colder climes as there are several things you can do which will still make growing vegetables year round possible.
1. If strong winds are a problem consider using wind break fabric or planting a native hedge to lessen the impact. (If you decide upon a hedge, bear in mind shading and space – what starts as a little spindly stick may be taking up two metres or more of precious space within a few years and you will have to prune it).
2. When reading up on sowing times and you’re told you can sow between February to April – always choose April! The earlier month is aimed at people who live in warmer areas.
3. Stock up on horticultural fleece to quickly throw over beds if there’s a frost – this could be in springtime or autumn.
4. Choose varieties of vegetables that mature quickly, rather than the much longer to grow maincrops (especially carrots!)
5. Save up and buy a greenhouse or polytunnel. This really is worth considering. Ours transformed the amount and variety of veg we are able to grow. If you haven’t got the space or cash, consider using cloches.
6. Start seedlings off indoors, giving them a head start so you can plant them outside as soon as it’s warm enough.
7. Make sure you’re lashings are tight on any supports as the wind is quite likely to test them.
8. If you’re more experienced (and really keen), you can cover beds with clear polythene to warm up the soil, remove it, sow your veg then cover with cloches to protect them (not advised for beginners) though does work.
Do you have any more tips? If so I’d love to hear them…