How does your garden grow?

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Jim Beers has 20 years of experience when it comes to growing a vegetable garden in the harsh conditions of Moffat County.

Beers has found that many vegetables will grow in a Craig garden if a few rules are followed.

"If you dig, dig deep enough and get plenty of good soil," Beers said. "That's the main thing in gardening."

Beers also points out the need to water frequently and heavily enough to soak the plants.

He said it's important to keep the weeds out of your garden because of the water they will take from the vegetables.

Beers is growing tomatoes, lettuce, beets, potatoes, beans and zucchini in his garden. He said of those crops, tomatoes are the tricky ones.

"You can grow tomatoes if you cover them up before the freezes come," Beers said. "They are a sensitive plant and if they freeze, they die."

Beers has 15 different rose colors around his house on Pershing Street, and his wife, Inez, has a peach tree that sprouted from a discarded peach pit some years ago.

The secret to healthy roses, Beers said, is keeping them fertilized. He tends to that every spring.

The best growing items for the Craig growing season include zucchini and potatoes, Beers said. He also said radishes grow well in Northwest Colorado.

"Carrots are harder here in Craig," Beers said. "For some reason, it's hard to get a good carrot to develop in the soil here."

At Sunset Meadows, residents are invited to garden in the dozen plots at the complex on a first-come basis.

Housing Supervisor Janette Harris said eight gardeners are tending plots in the garden, raising a lot of vegetables. One plot is devoted entirely to flowers.

Dorothy Cox has been growing vegetables in the Sunset Meadows garden for three years and she said the easiest to grow are the corn and potatoes.

"We all want to have tomatoes, but they take a little more work," Cox said.

"The season is not long enough for the sweet potatoes I wanted to grow."

Cox said that the deer like to eat the tops off of the peppers she is growing.

The hardest part of gardening is getting the soil ready and then fighting the weeds once the garden is growing, Cox said.

Her garden contains potatoes, tomatoes, onions, lettuce and beets. She also has a crop of jalapeno peppers, a pumpkin, a cantaloupe and a watermelon.

Cox said when she was a kid on the ranch, her family would grow a lot of crops. Now she gets her vegetables planted in the garden during the last week of May, when she hopes the last frost has passed.

For her, gardening is a fun hobby.

"Gardening gives you something to do. We enjoy watching everything grow," Cox said. "I like to do canning for the winter. I can about half of everything I grow."

She also gives away a good portion of the produce grown at the Sunset Meadows garden to the residents who don't have a garden.

Cox said that there's a lot more to gardening than planting and watering.

"We come out in the evening and water the plants and just sit and talk," Cox said. "It's an enjoyable time for everybody."

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