"After 12 years in this area, this is probably the best garden I've had yet..."
I've been in Santa Fe for more than 10 years. And during that entire tim,e I have tried to get a decent vegetable garden going. It has not exactly been easy. In addition to the dryness of our region, I have the added disadvantage of living in Eldorado, where the winds can be fierce. We can start out with what seems like a great growing season, and then the winds kick in and simply do not stop. That treatment will level any fledgling vegetable garden. I know, I've seen it too many tim...es.
So, here is the secret. Either buy, or build, portable cold frames. Put them directly in your growing area, not in any special area, close to the house or wherever conventional wisdom dictates. Here are some pictures of my frames. They are very portable, allowing you to easily remove them later in the growing season if you desire. I have discovered, however, that I do not desire such.
I was able to get my peppers started in these frames in early April, or as soon as I saw them in the nurseries. It would be insanity to plant peppers in April under normal growing conditions. However, with the aid of these frames, I was able to get a head start. Plus, when the winds did kick in, and wow, did they ever kick in…I just put the lids on the cold frames, and the pepper plants were still thriving, setting buds in fact.
In addition, if you place these frames strategically, you can create a quiet zone for other plants. After 12 years in this area, this is probably the best garden I've had yet, and cold frames, among some other discoveries, are the primary reason. I have no commercial or business connection to any builder or supplier of these, or other, frames.
If you want more info, or if you want to come see these, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy Trails to You
From Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Land of Enchantment