First Home Grown class of 2015!

This is the first of many classes being offered by Home Grown New Mexico this year. It is coming up on Sunday, March 29 and should be a great class. Come out and learn how to plant outside in early spring!!

coldframe crops

Sunday, March 29-CLASS
Starting Cool Season Crops Outside-DEMO
Come learn how to plant cool season crops outside in spring
Time: 12:00 pm-2:00 pm
Instructor: Jannine Cabossel
Location: Milagro Community Garden • 2481 Legacy Court (Off Rodeo Road east of Sam’s Club-Turn north onto Legacy Court-Garden is behind the church, ‘Church of the Servant’ on corner) • Santa Fe

Jannine Cabossel, a Master Gardener and ‘The Tomato Lady’ at the Santa Fe Farmers Market will teach a class on the basics of starting cool season crops outside in spring: Last year’s class we concentrated on seed starting indoors. This year we will be doing a demo in a garden outside. Come learn how to transplant seedlings, what amendments to add to the soil, when to transplant, how to get the very finicky spinach to germinate, how to add mycorrhizal for bigger root systems, and basic cold weather protection for plants during spring’s transitional period from cold to cool to summer. Plus learn varieties that do well in our cold climate in spring. Spring is a great time to grow many varieties that we struggle with once the heat is here!

Jannine has extensive experience in growing vegetables on her 4000 square foot garden using all organic methods. Follow her blog at giantveggiegardener.com

Eventbrite - Starting Cool Season Crops Outside

This class free! Become a 2015 Member for $35 – includes all classes, potlucks and tour. TAX DEDUCTIBLE!

Seed exchange-success!

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The Seed exchange this year was a big success. At any given time we had over 20 people there bringing and taking seeds. Probably had about 150 people there overall. Many seeds were gone by the end. Many thanks to the Master Gardeners, Seedbroadcast and Poki Pottin from Gaia Gardens for coming and sharing. Always a fun event and a great kick off for this season’s gardening. This event and the great weather we’ve been having makes me want to get out in the garden!

2015 Santa Fe Seed Exchange

HG SEED EXCHANGE

Santa Fe Seed Exchange
Tuesday, March 10, 2015

If you are looking for seeds and ideas for your vegetable garden, come to the Santa Fe Seed Exchange on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 from 4 pm-7 pm in Frenchy’s Barn on Agua Fria and Osage Ave. The City Parks Division and Home Grown New Mexico are hosting this event for all community gardens, school gardens and home gardeners. Agua Fria Nursery donated over $750 of seeds so there are plenty of seeds available. Come even if you do not have any to share. Bring flower, herb, vegetable and other seeds if you do.

The Santa Fe Master Gardeners will be at the event with an “Ask a Master Gardener” table for gardening questions and will have seed starting handouts to give away.

SB_BusinessCard_Back_photoThe SeedBroadcast organization will have their seedbroadcasting station to answer questions about saving seeds and seed story recording equipment.  Tell your story about the seed, where you got it, how you planted it and more.  See their website for stories across America.

Poki from Gaia Gardens and The Tomato Lady will be there with seeds also.

If you have questions, please contact: homegrownnewmexico1@gmail.com  or leave a message at 505-983-9706 and we will return your call.

New Approach to Harvesting Honey

Via Colossal

We found this post on the Colossal blog about a new beehive design that lets you harvest the honey without pulling combs and disturbing the bees.  While this may not be the solution for commercial operations it could be just the thing for backyard beekeepers with just a couple hives.

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The Flow Hive is a new beehive invention that promises to eliminate the more laborious aspects of collecting honey from a beehive with a novel spigot system that taps into specially designed honeycomb frames. Invented over the last decade by father and son beekeepers Stuart and Cedar Anderson, the system eliminates the traditional process of honey extraction where frames are removed from beehives, opened with hot knives, and loaded into a machine that uses centrifugal force to get the honey out. Here is how the Andersons explain their design:

The Flow frame consists of already partly formed honeycomb cells. The bees complete the comb with their wax, fill the cells with honey and cap the cells as usual. When you turn the tool, a bit like a tap, the cells split vertically inside the comb forming channels allowing the honey to flow down to a sealed trough at the base of the frame and out of the hive while the bees are practically undisturbed on the comb surface.

When the honey has finished draining you turn the tap again in the upper slot resets the comb into the original position and allows the bees to chew the wax capping away, and fill it with honey again.

It’s difficult to say how this might scale up for commercial operations, but for urban or backyard beekeeping it seems like a whole lot of fun. It wouldn’t be hard to imagine these on the roof of a restaurant where honey could be extracted daily, or for use by kids or others who might be more squeamish around live bees. You can see more on their website and over on Facebook.

UPDATE: The Flow Hive is currently seeking funding on IndieGogo. So far they’ve raised $1.8 million in 16 hours.

Starting COLD HARDY VEGETABLES Super Early

This post is courtesy of giantveggiegardener’s blog:

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So now that the Persephone period is over and the magic date of January 15th is upon us, what does that mean? It means our day lengths are getting longer and today, January 15th is when we start getting 10 hours of daylight that will continue to get longer every day. Have you noticed already it now gets dark around 5:30 instead of 5 pm? The darkest time of the year is over. What does that mean to gardeners? To learn how to start cold hardy vegetable seeds super early outside and how also how to start them inside read on.

STARTING COLD HARDY VEGETABLE SEEDS OUTSIDE: cold frme opened
If you want to try growing cold hardy vegetables outdoors at this time of year, you will need a cold frame, low tunnel or hoophouse.

If you already planted cold hardy vegetables late last fall in a cold frame, low tunnel or hoop house, you may have noticed that the little seedlings haven’t been growing much at all as winter set in. Now with longer daylight hours, they will start to grow again and barring any devastating freezes, they will continue to grow and you can get cold hardy crops earlier this spring.

In late winter, before you have harvest your winter crops, decide what you want to plant in your bed once space opens up in your cold frame.  As the end of the Persephone period draws near (January 15) , you can reseed the openings created from your harvesting or you could start planting seeds in your bed if you don’t have anything growing. My soil in my unheated greenhouse is at 40°F right now (as of January 12). Lots of cold hardy vegetables germinate in cold soil.  They will be slow to start at first but they will start as your soil warms up to 40°F and warmer. Now with the day light getting longer, you can think about starting early. The winter sowing you do will be ready for harvest by early spring, often long before the same crop when grown outside without protection. A bonus is many of the cold hardy winter crops don’t like our springs, bolting on the first few warm days so you’ll be able to harvest that spinach before it bolts!

Some cold-hardy plants planted inside a cold frame, low tunnel or hoop house can tolerate a hard freeze at night, provided they are allowed to thaw during the day. The plants must be completely thawed before you harvest them. In addition, put some winter row cover over seedlings at night to give them an additional 4-6°F protection even though they are already in a cold frame, etc.. Remove the row cover on days when it is above freezing. Watering is necessary to get crops started, but they will generally require very little water during the winter season-early spring once established.

STARTING VEGETABLE SEEDS INSIDE:
I’ve already written about starting seeds inside on many previous posts.
To learn all about starting seeds indoors to get a head start go here:
http://giantveggiegardener.com/2012/03/08/starting-seeds-inside/

WINTER HARDY VEGETABLES
The following list of winter vegetables to grow is from ‘The Winter Harvest Handbook’ by Elliot Coleman. This is a great book. These can be planted either as transplants (first started inside under lights) or outside as seeds in cold frames, low tunnels or hoop houses.

Asian greens-Tatsoi, Pak Choi (Mei Quing Choi), Mizuna, Tokyo Bekana,Komatsuna

arugula-Astro, Sylvetta

beets-Red Ace, Merlin, Touchstone Gold

beet leaves-Bull’s Blood, Red Ace

carrot-Napoli, Mokum, Nelson

chard-Fordhook Giant, Ruby Red, Argentata

claytonia

endive-Bianca Riccia

leek-Tadorna

lettuce-Red Saladbowl, Tango, Rex, Rouge d’hiver

 mache-Vit

minutina

mustard green-Toyoko Beau

radishes-Tinto, D’Avignon, Cherriette

scallion-White Spear

sorrel

spinach-Space

turnip-Hakurei

watercress

The Persephone Period

Winter Greens

As we approach the shortest day of the year most people’s attentions have turned from gardening to other indoor activities.  The plants too have turned inward during this time of cold and limited light.  If you had the foresight to plant winter greens in a cold frame or greenhouse you’ve probably noticed that not too much is going on right now.  The reason for this is because we are in the Persephone Period.

Coined by Elliot Coleman, the Persephone Period is the time of year when there are fewer than 10 hours of sunlight during the day.  The following is an excerpt from his book The Winter Harvest Handbook that describes the origins of the Persephone Period:

Humans have long had their own way of understanding the changes in day length and its affect on agriculture. Early Greek farmers, whose practical experience added mythical stories to astronomical fact, knew intimately that the power of the sun and the length of the day are the principal influences on agriculture. They created the myth of Persephone to explain the effect of winter conditions. As the story goes, the earth goddess Demeter had a daughter, Persephone, who was abducted by Hades to live with him as his wife in the netherworld. Demeter would have nothing to do with this and threatened to shut down all plant growth. Zeus intervened and brokered a deal whereby Persephone would spend only the winter months with her husband, Hades. Demeter, saddened by her daughter’s absence, made the earth barren during that time. On our farm we refer to the period when the days are less than ten hours long as the Persephone months.

Depending on your latitude the Persephone Period can be longer or shorter compared to other places.  Here in Santa Fe it lasts from Thanksgiving to January 14th whereas in Maine it lasts from November 5 to February 5 .  While the plants may not be doing much right now there are still plenty of activities for the gardener to attend to.

Clean out and fertilize the garden- If you are like me you may or may not have gotten around to pulling the dead plants and spreading manure after the harvesting is over.  It’s never too late to take advantage of a warm day to reset things and allow nature ample chance to replenish the ground.

Water the Perennials-  While we have been blessed with a series of light snow storms this year it is important to get out 1-2 times a month and check the soil around your perennials to make sure it is still moist.  Bulbs, trees and bushes use these months to grow roots and can be set back if they are allowed to dry out.  In addition moist soil will protect your plants from deep freezes.  Wet soil will freeze into a protective block around roots and keep them safe when the thermometer plunges into single digits and lower.

Get set for next year-  Now is the time to peruse those seed catalogs that have been showing up in the mailbox.  Look at last season’s notebook and think about what new varieties you would like to try next year.  Go over your tools and equipment and repair or replace the broken stuff. Collect supplies for starting seeds.  In just a few months it will be time to start the new planting year and there is nothing that helps with the winter blahs as much as having a flat of fresh starts in the window or under lights.

While we are in a time of well earned rest and recuperation right now, before we know it the plants under glass will be kicking back into high gear for early spring salads.  Then the snow will be melting and the first sprouts of spring will be tentatively poking up outside ready to start all over again.

 

Happy Holidays!

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Happy Holidays!
We at Home Grown New Mexico want to wish you a a happy holiday and wonderful winter! Take this season to re-juice up for the next growing season.  I know we are.

Next year we will have many exciting new classes/events coming and would love your input on what you might be interested in learning, so feel free to tell us. Leave your comments below on what you would like so we might consider them!