Wild Men on the North Fork

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Barry Franck: another approach to high altitude gardening

Barry Frank runs Westside Nursery. He also gardens in a very big way, and sells his produce at both Farmers Markets here in Casper. He is always innovating and experimenting. I like to keep up on what he is learning.

March 20, 2010

I have been to visit Barry Franck at Westside Nursery. He gave me a bag of fresh lettuce he was growing in his basement under grow lights. He also had carrots and broccoli growing. Barry and my partners and I will be trialling some peppers this coming season and I will let you all know of the results. I have also visited recently with Bill Simpson. He and we will be trialling some new (to us) tomatoes. Again, I will let you all know of the results on these pages.

March 29, 2010

Barry Franck at Westside Nursery wanted me to give an explanation of Days to Maturity. This information is given as a number. The tricky thing is that there are two different kinds.

1. Days to Maturity for Direct Seeded:

2. Days to Maturity for Set Out Plants:

There is, of course, a caveat. We, in Wyoming live in a harsh climate. Please go to my One Third Rule to see how that climate affects the DTM. Basically, what that rule says is that to get a realistic idea for the DTM for a variety here in Casper, you should:

June 22, 2010

I knew that plants did their growing at night. But Barry Franck of Westside Nursery tells me that his reading reveals that they do their growing mostly in the first four hours of the night. That would indicate that the best time to water would be just before nightfall.

August 20, 2010

On the 18th I visited the gardens of both Barry Franck and Bill Simpson. Barry showed me a phenomena. He has peppers planted in stacks of tires. The plant in the middle is taller than the plants that are in a circle around the edge. Barry thinks this is because the middle plant has access to deeper soil. That is something to think about.

September 7, 2010

Here is a note from a new reader. She expresses some of the same ideas I have had about the 'center of the tire' phenomena at Barry Franck's garden.

September 24, 2010

Here is a note from Barry Franck at Westside Nursery. Note that when he talks about growing things for the first time, he is refering to growing it for sale for the first time. Besides selling plants in the Spring, Barry also sells produce at the Farmer's Markets in Casper.

Year End Review

The garden didn't do as well this year. There was no heat until the end. Frost took most everthing on Aug. 5, two weeks early this year.

Tomatoes in the tires did well, tomatoes in pots did not. Cucumbers came on late and we only had 2 weeks of production before frost got them. Kolhrabi and cabbage did well, better than last year. This is only the second year of our trying grow it. I do note that we have to keep rabbits away from them. Broccoli was producing well until grasshoppers took to them. 2010 was our first year trying it. Peppers did well, and we got a few nice size ones, but most where medium to small in size. We didn't plant any squash or pumpkins this year.


Peppers (all of them I bought)


Cabbage: small to nothing

Kolhrabi: did well, nice size fruit, but I have to keep rabbits away from them, they loved them this year.

Broccoli: did well until grasshoppers ate it down so don't know if it would have produced better or not, it came on late when heat started coming on.

Wait for next year! Tomatoes will be in new raised beds, peppers will be in tires and everything else will be in new raised beds and covered. My production should be a lot better.

Here are some photos that Barry sent along.

Aug. 11, 2010 Looking East, Tomatoes in Containers

Aug. 11, 2010 Looking West, Tomatoes in Containers

Aug. 11, 2010 Looking East, Barry's Cucumber Beds

Aug. 11, 2010 Looking East, Barry's Brassica Bed

Aug. 11, 2010, Barry's Tomatoes in Tires

Aug. 11, 2010 Barry's Peppers in Tires

Aug. 11, 2010, Barry's New Beds
Barry is expanding his growing capacity for the 2011 season. Here are some of his new beds under construction.

July 19, 2009

I have heard from Barry at WestSide Nursery. He sent me photos of his 'jungle' of tomatoes he has planted at his place. My wife and I went out there last week and indeed, he has hundreds of tomatoes planted. He sent photos which I will display when he sends more of the adult plants fully grown.

September 13, 2009

On September 1, I journeyed out to see Barry Franck at Westside Nursery. He garden is doing well. His Whopper Tomato plants are six feet tall now. He had just finished harvesting 300 pounds of cucumbers for the Farmer's Market. He sells his produce there every Tuesday. His cucumber patch is about 14 feet by 200. Here are some photos he sent me earlier. I have also added some new photos he just sent me. Those new photos include some of one of his cucumbers that grew really big.

May 28, 2009
Barry's Double Tire Tomatoes

August 2, 2009
Barry's Double Tire Tomatoes
By August 2, Barry's Tomato plants were already 4 1/2 feet tall.

August 2, 2009
Barry's Double Tire Tomatoes
Looking Northwest at Barry's Double Tire Tomatoes

August 2, 2009
Barry's Double Tire Tomatoes

May 28, 2009
Looking East at the Double Tire Tomatoes

August 2, 2009
Looking East at the Double Tire Tomatoes

May 28, 2009
Barry's Tomato Flats in May

August 2, 2009
Barry's Cucumbers, early August

August 2, 2009
Barry's Pumpkin plants

August 2, 2009
Barry's favorite: Park's Whopper

September 3, 2009
Barry's Six Foot Tomatoes

September 3, 2009
Barry's Tomatoes, looking East

September 3, 2009
Closer Up shot of Tomatoes

September 3, 2009
Barry's Cucumber Patch

September 11, 2009
Barry grew a big Cucumber

September 11, 2009
It weighed 2 pounds, 11.5 ounces

September 28, 2009

Barry Franck writes this end of the season review of his garden.

Bill Simpson sent these photos over of the hail damage we got a week ago.

Finally, a review from a friend who gardens north and east of Casper.

December 17, 2008

I recently received some photos from Barry Franck. His place is the Westside Nursery on Coates Road, just south of Paradise Valley. This site has long recommended Park's Whopper Tomato. My partners and I trialed Whoppers years ago. Barry grows them in a big way. He starts and sells around a thousand of them each season. He also grows them pretty large there at his place. Here are some photos of Barry's Whopper Tomatoes, which are pretty convincing evidence that Whoppers are top notch tomatoes for Wyoming.


May 31, 2008 Looking West

May 31, 2008 Looking North

May 31, 2008 Looking East
Note that Barry is planting in stacked truck tires.

July 4, 2008 Looking West
Some of Barry's Whoppers got over 6 feet tall.

July 30, 2008 Looking East

July 30, 2008 Looking North

Sept. 6, 2008 Looking East

Sept. 6, 2008 Looking North

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