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High Altitude Gardening

Updated on August 24, 2016

High altitude gardening may be frustrating, but it is possible. Those who live in a high altitude do not have to throw away the passion for gardening. Living at altitudes that are 7000 feet or greater means facing certain realities about the environment. Locations such as the Rockies present obstacles like humidity issues, pests, and rocky land. Knowing how to approach these problems in a high altitude will result in success.

High altitude gardening does not have to be so problematic. With a little care, a high elevation garden can prosper. Searching through gardening guides and asking advice from neighbors is a great place to start the process. Anyone with a green thumb can enjoy a high altitude garden for several months each year.

A high elevation environment lacks humidity. After a rainfall, the ground dries rapidly. This can affect gardening as well. Extra watering and the addition of organic matter will help keep a garden moist. Wood ashes should be avoided, because they have a high alkaline content. Peat moss or horse manure are perfect for creating moisture.

High altitudes also lack top soil, and many properties rest on slopes where there is less than two inches of soil on top of rock. The combination of soil and rock is decomposed granite, and it can limit composting. Additionally, the sun drains the soil of nutrients, which makes it difficult to enrich the soil. Some vegetables that do not need a lot of nutrients to grow are potatoes, peas, lettuce, and spinach.


Gardening at a higher elevation requires specific methods that do not work in lower altitudes. The temperature and amount of light is different in a high altitude, and at levels greater than 7000 feet, the growth period for gardens is shorter. Some gardens are affected by frost until mid April. Choosing plants that take less time to grow is essential between the months of May and October.

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