Another Garden Story


I mentioned a few of our crops last week, but I have long known that potatoes were a big crop up in the upper Ute Pass area in the 1920s into the 1940s. This story goes back to that area in the 1890s when Cripple Creek was getting started. A Colorado Springs paper got really upset that Divide seemed to be getting all the credit when this area was also producing a major crop of spuds!

One of the largest farms producing potatoes was Garden Ranch, north of Austin Bluffs. This farm had 66 acres in spuds on the north side of the bluffs in good soil. The crop did well without irrigation. The farm raised a variety called "Ohio" with an output of 150 tons in October, 1898. Their average size was about four pounds to the potato. Some of the spuds were shipped, but most were being put into storage for sale later in the winter. It was pointed out that a few other farms were producing similar crops throughout the area as far away as Monument and Fountain.

The story has another interesting aspect, "People of this city who have grown tired of scenery and who wish to see something of the more material things of life." The reader was directed to our farms to see the fine Holstein and Jersey cows that also populate the area! So not just vegetables but the fact that most of the milk that was consumed in the county came from many fine herds in the area producing hundreds of gallons of fresh milk every day. Milk was another important crop here up into recent years. The remains of one of these was recently torn down for the widening of the road north of town. This story directs the reader to look other than to the mountains to see what this area has to offer. Most of the active agriculture was east and southeast of Colorado Springs, with a bit to the north.

It is interesting to note how different the area has become, yet like a few buildings in the area, there are still signs of our past.


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