I don't know if this is the right place to start a discussion, but I gotta start somewhere. I'm so frustrated trying to grow a decent garden
where I live. The challenges are high altitude (7000' for me), with semi-arid conditions.
We have extreme temperature issues (I've recorded a winter low of -35°F and a summer high of 120°F, and temperature differences of below freezing at night to over 80°F in a 24 hour period).
Half the year it's arid, but the rest of the year there's still not a lot of rainfall. These days if I get a total of 12" of precipitation it's a pretty wet year.
I'm experimenting with hugelkultur
for the moisture issue, but when it's that dry a major issue is that critters, from insects up to elk, are desperate for moisture and eat everything I plant that I don't have protected. That includes leaves above-ground and roots
Plus in extreme aridity the air itself sucks moisture from plants and they tend to not thrive until the first rains.
Then there's the short growing season that comes with high altitude. Frosts end (maybe) in late May, first killing frost in late September.
Greenhouses become ovens. I'm hoping the Wofati Greenhouse
will address that issue as well as some of the others, but I can't grow things like fruit trees
So -- anybody with experience
(hopefully success!) have advice for me? Anybody willing to chew the fat about these kinds of gardening
PS The photo is of one of my apple
trees. It's a dwarf and every year it gets chewed up by either blister beetles or grasshoppers, depending on which appears in greater numbers. Interestingly, the only other surviving apple tree
is standard size and apparently too tall for those insects to get at more than the very lowest branches. Unfortunately I have not been able to get any other apple trees to grow. Also, unfortunately the bigger tree, which is now 15 years old, is a Macintosh and requires a pollinator, the dwarf is a Golden Delicious that will pollinate but has never produced a blossom in the 10 years it's been in the ground.