Late Winter Early Spring 2024

Even in winter, happy gardeners can have fresh salads and other little vegetables as we maintain our lovely greenhouse. We enjoy the healthy output from our efforts.

On another note, we certainly have an abundance of invading chickens running around the garden. Be advised we think we have someone interested in taking them as we trap them. But if any garden members want some, please let us know.

Visitors can find us south of Los Lunas, NM on Silva Road (north of Tomé Gallery and south of Tomé Plaza). In good weather, we’re there Wed. and Sat. mornings.

Glyphosate-Roundup/possible harms and alternatives

Recently our new President Joyce Johns received an email from Ella Mfene of Drugwatch with links to information about Bayer’s herbicide Roundup whose active ingredient is glyphosate. According to Ella’s guide (linked below), sometime in 2023 Roundup will be unavailable to residential users and only available commercially. But the EPA has yet to update the Roundup label warning of possible harm to health, even though Drugwatch claims recent studies indeed show harm. At Valencia Community Gardens, we do not use Roundup or other commercial weed killers but rely on mulching and good old-fashioned weed pulling and scuffle hoeing.  Even the alternatives Drugwatch describes have limited effectiveness, come with caveats, and can be unsafe to apply without protective gear.

Here are the links Ella sent, the first updated October 30, 2023, and the second dated September 5, 2023: and

And here is the body of Ella’s email:

. . . My name is Ella, and I work with Drugwatch; a free web resource committed to ensuring the safety of families and providing vital health information. As you may know, pesticides can pose risks to both humans and animals. To address this concern, we have created a comprehensive guide that provides information and resources about Roundup, and its potential health effects. Additionally, we have created a guide that offers organic, homemade, and agricultural alternatives to mitigate these risks. Please feel free to explore them: I believe that these pages would make a valuable addition to your website. . . .

You can reach Ella at

Her second link gives information on Integrated Weed Management, and both links offer details of lawsuits against Bayer (formerly Monsanto).

Garden update 20 October 2023

Greetings from Deb

Gorgeous October days we’re having with no freeze yet, though a frost has blackened some plants.   Time to put the garden to bed.   We are harvesting all the green tomatoes, taking them home to ripen slowly in sheds and garages.  Those of us who took them home will share–just  ask.  Vines and plants are pulled and piled up to dry before we chip them.  (Tomato vines, unless good and dry, are notorious for clogging the chipper.)

GARLIC:  2 plots in the big fenced area were planted last week.  We watered the rows previous to planting and will continue watering for the next few months.  We should see them poking up by November.   It’s a favorite crop and so nice to see green growing things in February and early March.  We harvest in June.  The bulbs came from the Mennonites and from organic grocers.   Though we may plant a couple rows of conventional grocery store garlic as an experiment.

The Greenhouse is closed up tight for the winter and Fran has lots of seeds starting there.  Lots of leafy greens–spinach, lettuce, chard and some herbs like thyme and tarragon.  Should make for good eating this winter.  There are beautiful chard and collard greens to harvest.  They should be good for another month.  Will they return in the spring?

Putting the Garden to bed means pulling up plants, covering soil with mulch/manure, digging up Bermuda grass which has encroached, rolling up hoses and doing whatever projects to improve the space we come up with.  Ron has good ideas for projects.  We’ll be at it through November and maybe longer into the winter.  It’s been a great year at VCG.

In case you missed it, at the Oct. 7 Board Meeting Joyce was elected President and Patricia was added to the Board.   

New VCG President Fall 2023

Joyce Johns has agreed to take over duties as President following a board-meeting vote on Saturday, October 7, 2023. Outgoing President Deb Christensen agreed to continue making garden reports (though reluctant to accept the title Garden Manager). Thank you, Deb, for your dedicated service as President, and thank you, Joyce, for stepping up. Claudia will continue as Secretary.

February 2023: Seeds for the new growing season

Some folks have worked at the garden through the winter, but now we have Spring ahead and are thinking about planting. Ron emptied the big water tank, and Ken plowed. Some of us decided which seeds to replenish and which holdovers are still good. Now we need help clearing out the upturned Bermuda grass and breaking up the clods. Come on Wednesday or Saturday mornings starting at 10 or 10:30 if you want to help.

Zucchini Shrimp Boats

Recipe for all that upcoming zucchini and cured garlic

Zucchini Shrimp Boats (recipe from Betty Mishuk in Silver City)

4 large or 6 small zucchini
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp thyme
2 tbls butter
3/4 pounds shrimp, deveined
2 tomatoes, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup heavy cream
Juice 1/2 lemon
1/4 to 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella
Chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Halve the zucchini long way. Score them and scoop out the insides, leaving ¼” or so to strengthen the boats. I use a grapefruit spoon.
Place the boats in a large baking dish. Drizzle with oil. Season with salt and pepper and thyme. Bake until tender 20 .minutes
In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add the shrimp. Season with salt and pepper cook till pink 3-4 minutes. Remove the shrimp and chop into bite size pieces along with the reserved zucchini. Return the shrimp to the skillet. Stir in scooped-out zucchini, tomatoes, garlic Cook 1 minute. Add cream and lemon juice and half the parmesan. Cook 3 minutes. Fill the boats and top with mozzarella. Cook till cheese is bubbly about 10 minutes. Garnish with parmesan and parsley.

Valencia Community Gardens in Tomé Gets a Wonderful Gift from Lowe’s and wants to share the wealth with other established and starting community gardens

Valencia Community Gardens (VCG), a non-profit based in Tomé, received a donation of hundreds of bags of organic garden soil, starter soil, planter soil, and seed-starting kits from Lowe’s in Los Lunas. The donation arrived at the perfect time as our gardeners are preparing soil and planting early crops for the season.

VCG will share the Lowe’s donation with other community gardens in Valencia County.  East Valencia Urban Gardens at 309 El Cerro Mission Rd., directed by Lindsey Díaz from the SWCD at Whitfield, will be offering raised garden beds to community families this summer.  VCG will also be offering free supplies to individuals interested in participating in our garden community or those interested in starting their own community garden. Our gardeners can be found toiling away every Wednesday and Saturday morning throughout the year. Stop by and join the fun!

7 Silva Rd just north of Tomé Gallery, south of Tomé Plaza, west of and running nearly parallel to Hwy 47. Look for the Valencia Community Gardens banner on the gate and the streetside Little Free Library.