Located at the base of Buckhorn Mountain at 6700' elevation, Buckhorn Gardens is a small, organic vegetable farm 13mi. south of Montrose, Colorado. Our farm is an active part of a 12,000 acre ranch; however, we only manage 3 acres with intensive vegetable gardening.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Although there isn't a whole lot to be done over the winter, we occupied ourselves by planting the dome full of delicious vegetables.

The beds were cleaned out of overgrown and dying vegetation and manure from the cows outside, alfalfa pellets, coffee grounds, dried leaves, and moss that grows and floats upon the pools that regulate the heat in the grow dome, were added as a good base of fertilization for the upcoming growth. In the beds we planted arugula, spinach, lettuce mix, turnips, beets, mustard greens, tatsoi, kale, and swiss chard. Go figure, things will grow in the dead of winter!

Darren, the genius that he is, devised a way to grow things vertically in the dome through the use of grow tubes made of pvc pipes that hang along the walls last spring. Those also needed to be planted. Although you can't grow as much in each tube because of their size, it works well for greens and root vegetables (obviously not carrots). Scallions, turnips, radishes, arugula, and spinach were planted in the tubes.

We also worked a few days ago on pulling up strawberry runners that have been growing in the dome since the fall and placing them in hanging baskets to sell at the farmer's markets in the spring. Its a great way to enjoy strawberries in an easy and transportable way!

While searching for photos to put up on the blog, i found this photo of Cali, one of the local dogs we love, stepping into the dome during the warmer days of the year. It gives us hope that the snow will melt again and then we will be out and about working in the gardens once more.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Howdy all!

Buckhorn Gardens is a small vegetable/herb farm located at the base of Buckhorn Mountain bordering Montrose, Colorado. The farm is part of a 12,000 acre cattle ranch, but we only manage about 3 acres of vegetables and herbs. We can't forget about the goats and chickens!

This past season was our first attempt at a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and we had almost 30 members take part from late May to early November. Although this was our first year working with CSAs, it was our second year in production. The first year we had provided our produce only to restaurants in the area as well as the Telluride Farmers Market. Along with the CSA this year, we also maintained our relationship with the folks up in Telluride providing our produce once more at the farmer's market, but we also introduced ourselves into the Montrose area starting at the Montrose Farmer's Market.

Along with the 2 acres we have in production, we had a 51ft geodestic grow dome (growingspaces.com), complete with a self sufficient heating and cooling system. The dome is most useful from the fall to the spring because we are able to grow desirable crops during some of the coldest days of the year. For instance this winter we are able to grow peppers, lettuce mixes, varieties of greens (arugula,
spinach, mustard greens), herbs, beets, carrots, tomatoes, artichokes and we even have a few citrus plants in the making.

This summer and into the fall a huge hoop house was also erected with a lot of hard work which made it much easier for us to grow more crops well beyond the first hard frost. In fact we are still harvesting greens from the hoophouse for neighbors and past CSA members. Here are a few pictures of the process.

So besides all of the produce we grow we also have lots and lots of animals. Some might say we are a bit of a dog sanctuary. We currently have five dogs living in the house, three of which are locals and two are just visiting. We also have our friendly ranch dog, Bud, who loves hanging out with all of us. Along with the dogs, we have around 40 laying hens and one mighty powerful rooster as well as two female goats. This summer we were at our fullest with two mama goats and four babies, but as the summer drew on, it was time for the three boys to be harvested and one of the moms to be shipped out to a local farm in need. Belle and Chevre are what is left of the goat crew, but fear not, it is mating season, and in five month we will have babies stomping around the yard. We use the chickens for their eggs and sell them at the farmer's markets and to CSA members, the goats produce wonderful milk which we make into cheese and sometimes even the best ice cream around and also sell them at the farmer's markets and to lucky CSA members.
We hope you all have a wonderful and safe new year! Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions!