The Indian Pueblo Cultural Center has had its “Resilience Garden” for several years and began offering the classes in March this year. Classes began with a focus on soil preparation and the basics of composting. In April, there was a presentation about traditional farming methods such as creating “waffle” gardens.
Sandoval said the waffle garden technique was developed at Zuni Pueblo. It involves forming a roughly rectangular earthen wall a few inches high to surround plant crops such as corn. The low wall helps conserve water by collecting the available moisture in a small area immediately around the plant.
“It really makes a lot of sense instead of having to irrigate a large area or bring water from a distant source,” Sandoval said.
The garden has an area with the traditional “three sisters” crops — corn, squash and beans — as well as modern vegetables such as asparagus, chard, tomatoes, lettuce, chile and bell peppers. There are also fruit trees and bushes.
The August class will focus on the history of corn, how it has changed, and the importance of saving seeds. Participants can take home their own indigenous seeds and seedlings.
On Sept. 10, Tiana Suazo of Taos Pueblo will lead a workshop on canning methods to preserve vegetables. In October, those who have attended at least three classes can harvest vegetables, then cook and eat the fruits of their labor.
ancient growing methods