How to Grow Vegetables at High Altitudes


Avid gardeners in mountainous regions can successfully grow a number of vegetables in their home gardens. Even if your garden is covered with snow for months, the summer growing season offers a good opportunity to grow many cool-season vegetables, such as perennial shallots, asparagus, horseradish and more. Specialty seed companies offer seeds of annual vegetables that are adapted to cooler climates, so you can succeed in growing tomatoes, green beans, carrots, lettuce and other greens, broccoli, onions, cucumbers, squash and more. And you can extend your growing season with the help of floating row covers, cloches and plastic.

Step 1

Select seeds or bedding plants of vegetable varieties that are adapted for higher elevations. If you choose to start your veggies from seed, you'll find a larger selection of varieties than are normally available at your local nursery.

Step 2

Fill nursery pots with a good potting soil and plant your seeds according to package instructions. Water them well and keep them in a warm, sunny indoor location until after your last predicted spring frost has passed.

Step 3

Dig any type of compost into your garden as soon as you can work the soil. If you add peat moss, leaf mulch and other organic materials, they will add nutrients to the soil and give it a good texture for growing vegetables.

Step 4

Plant your young vegetable plants in your prepared garden area after your final spring frost. Cover your plants with floating row cover to help keep them warm during chilly late spring nights. You can also use bell jars, also known as cloches, to cover individual plants.

Step 5

Mulch your plants with compost and well-rotted manure---these materials help to keep the soil warm and also provide nutrients to your plants.

Step 6

Fertilize your vegetables with blood meal and bone meal and do not over-fertilize, according to the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension.

Things You'll Need

  • Seed catalogs
  • Potting soil
  • Nursery pots
  • Sunny indoor location
  • Compost
  • Blood and bone meal
  • Floating row cover
  • Bell jars/cloches (optional)


  • Colorado State University: Plant Talk
  • Front Range Living: New Beginnings: A Vegetable Garden in Colorado
  • Westside Gardener: How to Make a Cloche
Keywords: high-altitude gardens, mountain gardening, mountain farms

About this Author

Barbara Fahs lives on Hawaii island, where she has created Hi'iaka's Healing Herb Garden. Fahs wrote "Super Simple Guide to Creating Hawaiian Gardens," and has been a professional writer since 1984. She contributes to Big Island Weekly, Ke Ola magazine, GardenGuides and eHow. She earned her B.A. at UCSB and her M.A. from San Jose State University.