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Growing your own ...

Think you can't do it because you don't have a lot of land???
An interesting article caught our attention about a family in California on a standard citybutterfly lot (.25A) with a house in the middle that was able to produce 6,000 lbs. (3 Tons) of organic food after a learning curve of a few years. They stacked growing beds to make up for the lack of space and even had a few animals. While Marty would probably not allow the animals in the city unless zoned properly, the rest of what they did is achievable and inspiring. Check this web site out.

We are lucky to have some resources available to help with such a goal. Soilutions, Inc. sells rich organic soil for your garden and provides water harvesting advice and permaculture/garden design. Soilutions will provide a plan that you can implement or they can also do all of the hard work like building elevated paths, installing water catching swales and enriching your soil if you do not have the time. PLANTS OF THE SOUTHWEST, a local nursery, features a free speaker series each fall August to November. Local experts offer advice on a wide range of topics including how to start and maintain a vegetable garden and how to handle "trouble spots" in the garden. Call 344-8830 for details. Also, check out Santa Fe's Seeds of Change.

The Bernalillo County Extension Service is dedicated to bringing agricultural information to Bernalillo County farmers and has terrific advice. See tabs below for more information. A fun blog called Gardening South Valley Style will also help with tips. Also check out the blog at Triskeles Farm in the East Mountains and Itchy Green Thumb. Attra also provides an online sustainable agriculture tutorial.

Soilutions Organics Recycling Facility in the South Valley will take your leaves, yard clippings, tree branches, and other green wastes and turn them into compost and mulch for a tipping fee of $4-6 tipping fee/cubic yard for greenwaste material. You can pick up some rich organic soil for your garden or learn some permaculture techniques while you are there.

Photo supplied by Soil SecretsBest Idea: Turn your green wastes or table scraps into a healthy garden by learning to compost on your own: watch a video (commercial first), read NM Rycycling Coalition's composting brochure, buy a composter or talk to expert Larry Kloepple at the Growers Market. Bard Edrington at Soilutions recommends vermiculture (using worms to make rich soil). Oh and one more thing...here are some tips for organic pesticides (video).

Okay, this a something you need to check into. Michael Martin Melendrez of Soil Secrets in Los Lunas has non-petroleum based products that will not only enhance your soil with beneficial microbes (think gigantic veggies) but will help you save water with drought friendly composition and humus that grabs carbon from the air. What, you only need to water every week instead of every day and you are helping with global warming and sustainability at the same time? Hmmm...might be the next killer app. The photo is actual cabbage grown in Arizona with Soil Secrets. Check out this important video about how biologically healthy soils sequester carbon.

In addition to our summer garden, David recycled a storm glass door to make a cold cold frameframe for tender lettuce and basil. Water was "free" from our Arid Solutions rain water harvester. In addition to cold frames, you might consider a Hoop House. Del Jimenez, agriculture specialist at NMSU in Alcalde recently gave a demonstration class in the South Valley on how to build this type of inexpensive greenhouse (less than $1000). Call Del (505) 852-2668, djimenez@nmsu.edu for future classes. And talk about exciting...Don Bustos is growing fruits and veggies all year round at his Santa Cruz Farm in Espanola by using a solar heated greenhouse. Listen to his interview with Edible Santa Fe.

Thinking about a unique New Mexico food product? The South Valley Economic Development Center is a 17,000SF facility that incorporates a small business "incubator" and commercial kitchen.  South Valley residents are now able to obtain the center's help in starting or expanding their businesses.

Interested in Canning? Home Canning Preserves Taste, Nutrition and Self-Reliance

John Jeavons, developer of "Grow Biointensive" culture discusses the multitude of benefits offered by sustainable growing methods. - good video.

Think you can't make a difference? Check out Farming in the City.