I feel like I am risking what little journalism credentials I have - I majored in journalism for one semester at the
University of Northern Colorado - because this will be the second article in a row that has a list of five.
Last time I wrote about my five goals for Extension in 2010, and this week's topic is my five most favorite
vegetables that can grow in our climate.
See, I just got done ordering seeds for my vegetable garden - a giddy time for garden enthusiasts (read: nerds) - and
thought I would share my happiness.
Plus, it's the middle of January - aka the lean horticulture months" - and topics tend to run thin this time of
A couple of caveats: Although my garden is full of them, tomatoes are not on this list, nor are green chiles/peppers.
I didn't include tomatoes because they cause me grief and lack of sleep. I am excluding green chiles and other
peppers because I believe they transcend this list and should be their own food group.
Asparagus. We planted 25 crowns of Jersey Knight" last spring and look forward to our first moderate harvest in
2011. But it's worth the wait because the whole family can't get enough asparagus every spring.
Sweet corn. The irony here is that I don't recommend sweet corn for the home garden, nor do I plant it in my
garden. Yet there is nothing like biting into a fresh ear of sweet corn in late August. Unfortunately, sweet corn
has its downfalls - it is a heavy feeder (water and nutrients), is prone to pests, and takes up a lot of space in
the garden. Thank goodness for Olathe. If you want to try to grow it look for early varieties (less than 70 days).
Potatoes. Its addition to this list is a requirement as I spent years working on potatoes during graduate school.
My heritage can also be traced back to Antoine-Augustin Parmentier, who in the 18th century promoted potatoes as a
food source (rather than hog food) throughout Europe. My favorites: Yukon gold, German butterball and Adirondack
Carrots. I could eat fresh carrots all day, and there is a good chance you'll see the family with carrots in their
mouths at the farmers market. Carrots can be challenging to grow in our clayey soils, so I would take the time to
amend a bed for them. Raise it up and add lots of organic matter to create a loose soil that doesn't impede their
growth. Look for Nantes cultivars for the garden, as they tend to be a little smaller and very sweet.
Rutabaga. This was close, with broccoli coming in right behind. But because many of you probably haven't even tried
a rutabaga, I felt like it needed its own cheering section. It is a cross between cabbage and turnips, stores well
and is a perfect complement to the fall/winter garden. I have had success growing American purple tops and
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Darrin Parmenter is director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office.