Tag Archives: Plant

To Till or Not to Till in Spring Gardens?

Spring has started and many are preparing their community, home and school gardens. Building soil is important in New Mexico. Jermaine Theragood provided a class today on how to add aged horse manure, soil amendments and compost to create soil.   He discussed how to top dress the soil around plants and use a broadfork to add holes in the soil without tilling a garden. He does not use a rototiller to start new gardens. Jermaine builds the soil sustainability without the use of fossil fuels with his broadfork.

What is a broadfork? It is a large garden fork that is two feet wide. Work on a large garden by using your body weight to insert and move the tool instead of your back and arms. This does not break up the soil, but allows additional space. Eliot Coleman writes about gardening year round and uses this concept for deep aeration of soil while preserving the structure and minimizing weed seed surfacing. This broadfork is one of the handiest tools for turning a garden bed.

Steve Dulfer from Dulfermetal makes broadfork in Santa Fe so we do not have to pay for shipping. It makes preparing your soil easy. 

Description from website: All steel construction with hardened tines make it lightweight and durable.  Cushioned rubber grips on 48″ handles make it comfortable and easy to use.  The 15″ width is just right for a planting row.  Simply step on the crossbar to drive the tines into the soil and pull the handles back toward you to break up and aerate lumpy soil ten inches deep.  Makes preparing new beds or turning in compost and other amendments a snap.

This is a great tool to add to your garden collection. It is less expensive than borrowing a tiller and maintains the soil in large pieces to keep the soil structure.

Seed Saving Ideas

Last week we held our last potluck of 2012 and had Richard Bernard (from Pojoaque Pueblo Farmers Market, Greenhouse and Farm as well as Seeds of Change) to discuss what we needed to do in Santa Fe to increase seed saving. Pablo Navrot from our board presented a TEDx talk titled, Restoring Agricultural Diversity Through Backyard Seed Saving, on Saturday to start people thinking about how they can save seeds in their home gardens.  We have started this discussion and are planning more classes and discussions in 2013.

Let us know your feedback.  What do you want to learn?  Is there a type of seed that you want to save? Have you created any new varieties in your garden?

Here are some 2013 Events for Seed Saving
Bring  any seeds to share with others in a packet from the store or that you saved. You can also bring envelopes or small baggies and a marking pen. We will have a seed saving class to show people how to label seeds with year, seed type and other information.

Home Grown New Mexico Potluck
Tuesday, February 26, 2013 at 6:30pm
Whole Foods on St. Francis in Community Room
Cool Season Seed Exchange Table During Potluck

Santa Fe Seed Exchange
Wednesday, March 20, 2013 from 4pm – 7pm
Frenchy’s Barn
Parks Division of Santa Fe and Home Grown New Mexico

Seed Starting Class March 3

Garden Seed Starting Class
Saturday, March 3
10:00 to 11:30 am

Presented by Home Grown New Mexico and the Railyard Stewards

Jannine Cabossel, a Master Gardener and ‘The Tomato Lady’ at the Santa Fe Farmers Market will teach a class on how to start seeds for your garden. Jannine has extensive experience in growing vegetables organically on her 2000 square foot garden using all organic methods. Follow her blog. COST: Suggested $10 donation

LOCATION: This event will take place in the Railyard Park.  Meet at the community room behind SITE Santa Fe, off of Paseo de Peralta.  It is a metal corrugated building.

QUESTIONS: Contact homegrownnewmexico@gmail.com or call 473-1403.  Visit homegrownnewmexico.org for details of other community homesteading classes this year.

Eating Fresh Spring Greens

Fresh spring greens are growing in many of the community gardens and home gardens in Santa Fe this month.  The planting date for greens can be as early as March so there are lots of spinach, kale, swiss chard, asian greens and hearty lettuces ready to harvest now.  Most early greens, also called baby greens, are best eaten right out of the garden.  Here are some tips for picking and eating spring greens.

  • Pick greens early!  The small leaves will be more tender and this will encourage more growth of your plant.
  • Greens will grow throughout the season so you do not want to pull them to harvest.  Bring scissors to the garden and cut the greens close to the bottom.   Consult your seed source for details on individual types of greens.
  • Spring greens are tender in salads or on your favorite sandwich with hummus and sprouts.  Greens that are grown organically will need a rinse in the sink right before you use them.  If you can’t eat them after harvesting, keep them in a sealed container in your refrigerator for up to three days. Do not wash to store them.
  • Cook the greens that are heartier, such as kale, swiss chard and pak choi, bok choy and tatsoi.  These are still very delicate leaves so rinse them and chop them into long ribbons.  You could roll them into tube and then cut fine slices, also called chiffonade.  Heat the pan to a medium high heat and add a little almond oil or toasted sesame oil.  Add onions and garlic or saute the greens quickly.  One tip is to throw a handful of water on the greens and cover almost all of the way to steam the greens as they cook quickly.  Either add salt or tamari before serving.  Enjoy!

Spring Tree Pruning Classes at the Railyard

Here is an announcement from the Railyard Stewards.  Contact http://www.railyardpark.org/ for more information.

SATURDAY MARCH 26, 10:30 – 12:30

This is the time of year to prune back those dead branches and shape your fruit trees. However, more harm than good can be done if pruned incorrectly.  Learn the correct techniques for pruning fruit trees and general rules for pruning any tree. Are your trees just ornamental? Are they focused on fruit production? Maybe a little bit of both? What insects and other problems do you need to watch out for this time of year? Do you have some specific problems with any tree that you would like expert advice on?  Led by Robert Wood, ISA (International Society of Arboiculture) Certified Arborist and Certified Municipal Arborist, Santa Fe Parks Department.

Meet near the new community room (silver corrugated building near the parking lot behind SITE Santa Fe).   To reserve a spot or for more information, contact the Railyard Stewards at info@railyardpark.org or call 316-3596.  Hope to see you there!