Park City, Utah – For the past six years my dear friend Sarah and I have been coming to Sundance and staying with her brother’s family. I’ve never met a healthier bunch of people. Ever. Their lovely house is warm and welcoming. When we bought and remodeled a house in 2006 we “borrowed” a lot of ideas from them.
For the past three summers, when the family makes it to Chicago as a stop-over to the family farm in Wisconsin, they’ve detoured over to The Yarden for dinner and reconnecting. Their son has anointed himself “the tomato picker” and this year he showed his younger sister how it was done. She, however, is the lone “strawberry picker” and will share the honor with nobody else. She likes waiting until after dark (to wear the biker safety head lamp we have for evening gardening) to search for elusive alpine strawberries. We’re not sure which she likes more – the strawberries or wearing the headlamp.
The visit last year was eventful in ways we couldn’t imagine. 2009 was a tough, tough growing season due to cold and wet weather. Like many other people we got aphids (and blight, and…). Eeewww. This was really depressing to us until that night when we took several bags of lady bugs we had purchased and spread them around The Yarden. The kids went nuts. The big kids went nuts too. This is possibly the only time I can imagine when aphids turn out to be a good thing.
Now that I say that, I have to mention that the aphid incident also made us notice the activity of the bird visitors to The Yarden. They helped with the aphid situation too and we very much appreciated it…
But, back to my point!
Our Park City friends want a container garden on this sunny, sunny south facing deck. The railing already has horizontal wire decorative supports that will make for great trellising. The family has conferred and this is what they want to grow: Cherry tomatoes, arugula, snap peas, cucumbers, basil, a little bit of mint (we know how that works!), zucchini, pole beans and carrots. I’m also suggesting Mexican Midget Cucumbers…
We are also thinking galvanized horse troughs (drilled and set on bricks) for the containers.
Park City is 7,000 feet above sea level and is in Zone 5. Their growing season is shorter than Chicago as they sometimes get post-Memorial day frosts. All of these factors need to be taken into account.
So, I’m going to start drawing up a plan but, in the meantime, would love advice from other gardeners out there. Any high altitude tips? Anyone gardened in horse troughs? Do you know of specific tomato varieties that grow well under these conditions? (I was thinking currant tomatoes.)
Thanks in advance for your help for this wonderful family.