A photography of Phelan Gardens greenhouse and storefront in Colorado Springs Colorado

Warm Season Vegetables

As their name indicates, this group of vegetables prefers warm weather to develop properly.  How warm?  For most of the plants listed below--it's safe to plant when the nights consistently stay at 50 degrees.  For some in Colorado Springs, that may be as early as mid-May.  At higher elevations, that might mean June 1!

You can fool plants and get a jump on the season by using plant protectors (such as Wall O Waters) that will help warm the soil and air around your plants.  It's especially important to acclimate (harden off) these plants prior to planting.   Remember, they've lived in the nice warm protected greenhouse for the first 6-8 weeks of their lives.   You'll need to get them used to the real world realities of their new home!

Tips for Success

Our growing season is relatively short. To give you the best chance for a healthy harvest, we offer short-season vegetable varieties. For more information about when to plant, see Phelan Gardens vegetable planting guideline. Hail is a reality in our area.  We offer hail cloth to help protect your plants from unexpected damage.

Rich loose soil is also a must for successful vegetable gardens. Amend each year with bagged compost OR make your own. See our guide for starting your own compost pile.  Wood chip or "Back to Eden" gardening is also a method being used with success in our area.

Give the vegetables below a spot that receives sun for at least 8 hours, consistent water, fertilizer and warm soil, and you will be on your way to fresh vegetables from your own backyard.


We offer both bush and pole types. Bush beans typically produce quicker than pole beans but for shorter periods of time. You'll need to plant a new crop every 2 weeks for bush types to produce throughout the season. Pole beans will take longer to produce but once they begin, will continue all season. Whichever you choose, try to water at the base of the plants, leaving the leaves dry. This helps prevent the spread of disease.


Blue Lake Bush: 2' vines, stringless snap 5-6" snap bean, wonderful fresh or for canning (48 days)
Goldmine Bush: A yellow wax bean. 15"-20" tall, 6" sweet yellow beans, (55 days)


The biggest trick to growing corn is that you need to grow enough plants for proper wind pollination. To achieve this, plant in 'blocks' with a minimum of 4 rows of a single variety of corn. In a typical home gardening setting, cross pollination will occur if you plant two different kinds of corn in the same yard. Apply a fertilizer (with numbers close to 9-5-3) at time of planting, when you have 10" plants, and again when tassels form.   Please see our seed rack for current offerings.


Cucumbers like it ESPECIALLY warm. Do not plant until at least a WEEK AFTER final frost. Provide ample water but make sure your soil is well drained. Drought will cause deformed fruit. It is very important to acclimate your cucumber starts to Colorado wind prior to planting. While your plants are young, you might even want to place a plant protector around them (Wall O Water) for additional protection and warmth. Cucumbers are like peas in that you need to harvest the fruit to get them to keep producing. If you are short on space, try a bush type which will be a more compact vine (actual fruit can be pickle size or regular slicers).

Vining Type Varieties:

Cool Breeze: Prolific, early variety. Let the fruit grow to 4"-5" long or pick at 2" for pickles. (45 days)
Lemon: 3"-4" round, prolific! (65 days). a pint sized prize! Tastes like a regular slicer, this spiny cucumber is ready when it's about the size of a lemon
National Pickling: Popular heirloom variety. Prolific crops of cucumbers up to 6" but can pick at 2-3" size for mini gherkins.  (55 days)
Straight 8: named for its straight 8" long fruit.  Heirloom variety. Early and vigorous.  AAS Winner in 1935 and still a fan favorite. (65 days).
Sweetest Yet: Super early mild, sweet burpless and non-bitter hybrid. up to 12" dark green cucumbers. (54 days)
Sweet Success: All-America Selections winner from 1983. The 12-24″ long fruits are so tender and sweet you don’t have to peel them. Burpless, with a crispy white interior, it’s perfect for summer salads. An early maturing gynoecious, parthenocarpic hybrid. No pollinator is necessary to assure fruit set! When staked or grown on trellises, it produces a bumper crop of straight, medium-dark green fruit. (55 days)

Bush Type Varieties
Bush Crop: Compact 18"-36" vines produce 6"-8" cucumbers. (55 days)
Bush Pickle: 4" fruit on compact 3'-4' vines. Can grow in a patio pot (45 days)
Saladmore Bush: a semi-bush type that produces 7" fruit at full growth. All America Selections Winner. Disease resistant. (55 days)


Because of our short growing season, eggplant is hard to grow via seed. So, we offer plant starts for your garden. Warm temps and well-drained soil will help you grow this crop. You can remove bitterness from Italian type eggplant by soaking it in salt water prior to cooking.


Black Beauty: large Italian type, up to 12 per plant (80 days)
Ichiban/Ping Tung Long: Asian types with long, slender eggplants.  High yielding. (60 days)


Do you prefer sweet or hot? Bells or bananas?  We've got a lot of choices for you.  One thing they've all got in common is that peppers MUST have warm temperatures to produce.  So, don't be in a rush to get these in the ground--follow our 50 degree night rule above or use plant protectors to warm the soil.   You can keep these protectors on while the plants are young.  Fertilize at planting time and again mid-season.  Keep soil consistently moist.   If you are a beginner, the smaller fruited peppers are reliable producers in our short season (ex. banana etc.).

Peppers: Chili Varieties

Anaheim Mildly hot, 76 days
Ghost: One of the hottest chili peppers in the world. Wear gloves to harvest. 100+ days.
Mosco Pueblo: This 5" chili is meaty with medium heat. Famous variety from Pueblo Colorado for roasting and red chili sauce. Does well in our short season climate. Read about this local pepper variety here. (Limited quantities)
NuMex Big Jim Vigorous Anaheim type with medium heat, and 9" long peppers. 77 days
Poblano Mild when green, hotter when ripens to red, 65 days
Serrano Very hot, 85 days
Thai Super Chili VERY hot, tiny and potent peppers.  Each plant can produce up to 300 peppers. 75 days

Peppers: Jalapeno Varieties

Early Hot Jalapeno (hot, 75 days) mild when green, hotter when red
Fooled You (mild, 65 days) great flavor with mild heat, mild, prolific Jalapeno. Makes great salsa and poppers!

Peppers: Sweet Specialty Peppers

Candy Cane Red: Peppers are striped green and ripen to a solid red on a plant with variegated leaves! A sweet snacking pepper. 65 days.
Carmen:  All America Selections winner. Italian Bulls Horn type, 2½ x 6" red, sweet for salad or roasted, midsize plant. 70 days
Giant Marconi An Italian sweet pepper.  All America Selections winner for smoky-sweet flavor and early yields of 8" long x 3" wide peppers.
Gypsy: Sweet pepper 3-4" size.  All America Selections winner for taste, high yield, and disease resistance. 65 days.
Lunchbox Mix: Small sweet peppers are 2-3" and offer high yields. Consider staking in windy spots as they do bear a lot of fruit. (80 days)
Pepperoncini: Well known as a sandwich pepper when pickled but can also be used fresh.  3"-5" sweet Italian peppers. 75 days
Shishito: 3" long Japanese sweet pepper.  Wrinkled fruits begin green and ripen to red. Mild heat. 70 days.
Sweet Banana Think banana peppers such as for sandwiches. Heavy yields of 2"x 8" peppers. Yellow ripens to red. 65 days.
Sweet Cherry 1½" cherry type, green to red, medium thick skin, pickle or snack. 75 days

Peppers: Bell Pepper Varieties

California Wonder Heirloom. A green bell pepper that produces 4"-5" fruit. 75 days.
Emerald Giant: Heirloom produces prolific crop of thick-walled sweet green bell pepper with 4-5" fruit.  75 days.
Golden California Wonder
Small 3" sweet type that begins green and matures to yellow and then orange.  85 days.

Mexibell: Small but high-yielding, hybrid bell. Can be grown green to red. All-America Selections winner. 75 days.
Mini Belle Chocolate: 1-2" miniatures go from green to a deep rich chocolate color.  Sweet and can produce up to 24 peppers per plant. (80 days)
Orange Blaze:
All-America Selections winner. Mild sweet orange 3"-4"sized bell type peppers.

Purple Beauty Crisp, sweet PURPLE bell peppers. 70 days.

Peppers: Specialty HOT Pepper Varieties

Cayenne Long Thin: very hot green/red, thin walled peppers. 70 days.

Habanero Orange: HOT! HOT! HOT!. 95 days
Hungarian Hot Wax: 6" yellow hot banana type peppers. Especially suited to cooler climates. 70 days.

and the SUPER Hots: 
Ghost, Carolina Reaper, Mosco, Thai Super Chili


Pumpkins need warm and loose soil and consistent moisture. Fertilize when vines begin to run and again at blossom set. Give each plant ample space as vines can grow quite large (a minimum of 3 feet--4-5 ft is better). We offer miniature, standard, and giant pumpkin varieties.


Cinderella: French heirloom. Orange, deeply ridged with a 'flattened' appearance. Up to 15 lbs. Decorative but also sweet as a pie pumpkin. (110 days).
Hijinks: NEW!  7-9lb blocky orange pumpkins with a long handle.  All-America Selections Winner.
Lumina: Pure white, great for carving, flattened globe shape, 10-15 lbs. (95 days)
Small Sugar Pie: 5-6 lbs, Great pie pumpkin with stringless sweet flesh. (100 days)
Warty Goblin: Bright orange pumpkin that is covered in green warts. (90 days)

Pumpkins: Tiny Ornamentals

Baby Boo: pure white Jack-B-Little type, 4 ounce, ribbed. (90 days)
Big vine, little pumpkin.  Multiple mini-pumpkins that are fun for decorating.  Flattened with ribbing (very much like a mini-Cinderella with lighter skin


Summer Squash

If you are new to gardening, try planting summer squash--you'll have so much you'll be giving them away! Give them lots of space (about 3 square feet per plant). Fertilize at blossom set and provide consistent moisture during the growing season. Pick fruit when it is young and tender.


Early Prolific Straightneck: An heirloom yellow-skinned squash that tastes like zucchini. Harvest early at 6" or allow to grow to 12" All-America Selections (42 days)
Golden Summer Crookneck: Mild flavor pick when squash is 5"-6" long (60 days)
Gold Rush: A hybrid yellow-skinned squash that tastes like zucchini. All-America Selections (55 days)
Yellow Bush Scallop Squash:  A golden yellow patty pan type.  Mellow flavor and the right size for stuffing.  Heirloom. 50 days.

Summer Squash: Zucchini types

Black Beauty: Deep glossy green, 12" cylinder, tender rind, all purpose, bush type for smaller gardens (50 days)

Winter Squash

Winter squash takes longer to develop than summer squash but is great for storing for later use. These types are typically harvested when the rind is so hard you can't cut it with your fingernail.


Early Butternut Hybrid: Earlier to mature than older butternut varieties, with a sweet, nutty flavor. The fine-textured tan fruits arise on compact vines which saves valuable garden space. This fruit stores superbly. All-America Selections variety. (85 days)
Spaghetti: Oblong fruit 8-10" long, ripens yellow, good keeper (110 days)
Table Queen (Acorn type)  Heirloom type. Vines produce 6" squash (80 days)
Table King Bush Acorn type heirloom winter squash with dark outer skin with mild orange flesh.  Plants are compact at 2' and produce 5-8 fruits each. All-America Selections Winner (70-90 days)

Tomatillos & Ground Cherries

These are very easy to grow here. Provide loose soil and a sunny spot and you are well on your way. Treat them as you would tomatoes (they are related). Provide consistent moisture. Firm fruit about the size of a cherry tomato will be ready when the papery husks that surround them turn brown and break open.

Verde: Green fruit inside tan husk for green salsa, globe, 2 oz, indeterminate (70 days)

Purple: Purple fruit for alluring salsa, globe, 2 oz, indeterminate (70 days)
Yellow Ground Cherry/Husk Cherry: Sometimes called "Cape Gooseberries" - this plant produces hundreds of tart, sweet fruits that develop in papery husks. Wait for the green husks to turn brown and fall from this sprawling plant (24" high x 2-3' wide) -- then harvest from the ground. Inside the husk will be a yellow-orange fruit a little bigger than a blueberry.

Tomatoes: Hybrid Types

We offer both compact determinate vines (great space savers for those of you who like to plant in containers) and traditional indeterminate vines. You'll need a support for these larger types. If you are a beginner, cherry tomatoes are the easiest to grow here.

Tomatoes are arguably the most popular vegetable garden plant. In addition to bearing fruit, they also produce tons of questions each season. View answers to some of the most common tomato questions.

We still employ growing techniques, developed by Don Phelan, to bring you the biggest, baddest tomato starts around.

Hybrid Varieties: Large Size Tomatoes

Better Boy Plus: (Improved Better Boy) Bright red, juicy & meaty.  8-10 oz. Stocky plant, highly disease resistant. Indeterminate.  80 days.
Big Beef Plus: (Improved Big Beef) 12 oz. Red, juicy, high quality beefsteak. Crack and highly disease resistant.  Vigorous plant.  Indeterminate.  75 days.
Celebrity: All America Selections winner. One of the most popular home garden types. Red & highly disease resistant. 8 oz. Determinate. 72 days.
Chef's Choice Orange: Developed from heirloom 'Amana Orange'.  Low acid, sweet, beefsteak type that retains color even when cooked. 9-12 oz. All-America Selections winner. Indeterminate. 75 days.
Chef's Choice Pink: 12 oz sweet, pink beefsteak. Prolific potato leaf type with good disease resistance. All-America Selections winner. Indeterminate. 110 days.
Mountain Merit: 10-12 oz slicing tomato.  All-America selections touting high yields of up to 45 tomatoes per plant! 75 days.


Hybrid Tomato Varieties: Medium Size Tomatoes

Early Girl: Very popular because it develops so quickly!  4-6 oz.  Disease resistant. Indeterminate.  52 days.
Patio: Very compact plants produce medium sized, flavorful tomatoes.  A good choice for containers.  Determinate. 70 days.
Roma: Paste-type tomatoes that are also wonderful for sauce and salsa.  Thicker skin holds up well.  Prolific. 3oz.  Determinate.  80 Days.

Hybrid Tomato Varieties: Small & Cherry Size Tomatoes

Juliet: All America Selections winner.  Red clustered mini-plum type. 1 oz fruit is  high yielding, crack resistant with a wonderful bright acidic flavor.  Indeterminate.  60 days.
Sun Gold: Sweet golden fruit grows in clusters. Indeterminate. 65 days.
Sunsugar: Orange cherry sized fruit. Indeterminate. 65 days.
Supersweet 100: Cherry with many branched clusters of 1" fruit. High yielding. Indeterminate. 65 days.
Tumbler: Sweet bright red cherry tomatoes.  Extra early producer. Habit works well in a large container or hanging basket. Determinate. 50 days.

Tomatoes: Heirloom Types

Heirloom tomatoes are seeing renewed popularity. They are open-pollinated and will remain true to type should you want to save seeds. Although heirlooms are not always as disease resistant as modern hybrids, some people swear by the unique taste each provides. There is such a wide range of colors and shapes of heirlooms that they are a fun garden veggie to explore.

Heirloom Varieties:

Beefsteak: a very old variety that is large and meaty. Classic slicing variety.  Indeterminate. 90 days
Black Cherry:
clusters of perfectly round 1" true cherry tomatoes that are deep red with a blackish hue. The flavor is complex, rich, juicy and sweet. Indeterminate. 65 days.

Black Krim: a brown/red tomato originally from Russia. Quick to ripen and heavy producer. Juicy, sweet, 8 oz fruit. Indeterminate. 80 days.
Brandywine: Large 20 oz fruit, mild non-acidic tastes. Nematode resistant. Indeterminate. 85 days.
Cherokee Purple: Burgundy fruit, large 12 oz, unique and tasty. 80 days
Chocolate Cherry:  1" chocolate hued red cherry tomatoes with rich flavor and pretty color contrast for salads.  Indeterminate 70 days
Mortgage Lifter: Large 20 oz, flattened pink, very meaty with few seeds. Indeterminate.  82 days.
San Marzano: Legendary heirloom paste tomato used fresh or for sauce.  Indeterminate. 80 days
Sweet Pea: These are teeny tiny-- at only 1/2" they are pea-sized tomatoes.  You will get loads of them!  Very sweet.  Fun in salads.  Indeterminate.  75 days.
Yellow Pear: Paste type 2" flavorful yellow tomatoes with a pear shape. Indeterminate. 75 days.

Map of Colorado Springs with Phelan Gardens location marked

Visit Our Central Colorado Springs Location

We are open all year round and always offer the seasons most popular varieties for gardeners and plant lovers alike!

Phelan Gardens
4955 Austin Bluffs Parkway.
Colorado Springs, CO, 80918

(719) 574-8058

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A photograph of various signs that point to sections of Phelan Gardens such as Perennials, Vines, Grasses and more
Phelan Gardens Perennials section of their store