Solar Market Garden in Benin, West Africa

This project by SELF (Solar Electric Light Fund) brings solar electricity to the people so they can irrigate their gardens.  By combining solar-powered pumps with drip irrigation, SELF helps the women farmers in Benin grow food for their families year-round, in spite of a six-month dry season. The UN will showcase this project at the Climate Change conference in Paris in December.  Go here to see article and pictures:

Garden Update 10/27

I’m back from South Carolina and thanks so much for keeping the communication going. The garden is looking so neat and tidy.
Ron must have snuck back to the garden to mow one more time. The cover crops are showing, pushing up the white garden cloth.
What we need to do Wed.
There will be pickups coming in with dirt to build berms so that we don’t have to use our thin but good top soil. We will be taking out tomato plants in the large north plot, dividing it into 4 smaller plots, grooming it for planting. We need to find a better place for our wheel barrels and pallets. See y’all at the garden!

This Saturday we will have lots going on. We will have a combined board/member meeting and the timing will depend on the weather. last time I looked at the forecast there might be rain. The Maddens will also be coming with their chipper.

How GMOs and Glyphosate Impact Soil Biology

Robert Kremer, Phd., co-author of the book Principles in Weed Management, is a certified soil scientist and professor of Soil Microbiology at the University of Missouri. He recently retired from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), where he worked as a microbiologist for 32 years.

He’s conducted research since 1997 on genetically engineered (GE) crops, and in this interview he reveals how GE crops and glyphosate impact soil ecology and biology.

Garden Update

Saturday, October 24, 2015

I got to the garden at about 9:30 to find Molly taking down the cherry tomatoes plants in the enclosed tomato patch. She told us the cover crop Deb and Claudia planted has sprouted since the rain.  Ron was working on improving the fence by the tool shed.  Kathy was harvesting tomatoes, eggplants, squash, melons, and beans. The garden is slowing down but we still had a table full of fresh produce.  Debbie finished preparing another plot for garlic.  I helped her put the garlic in, and we covered the plot for harvest next June.  Patricia helped with harvesting.  Jeany helped Molly with the tomato patch and worked at getting the invasive grass out of the northwest corner of the garden.  Geri came and harvested in the greenhouse and worked her magic on the lettuce, spinach, radish, and kale beds, filling in bare spaces with more seeds.  Because the garden got about an inch of rain in the past few days we didn’t have to water.  Rosemary came by again and hopefully we will see her here next year.  Joyce, hope you had a great time. See you Wednesday.   –Update by Suzanne Taylor

What a friend found in her garden after letting go

Just before a friend sold her home in the South Valley, she went back to see her garden one more time. What she found helped her feel the cherished place is in good hands. Here is some of what she says:

The man who bought the house had asked us if he could help with the watering and work in the garden during the last two weeks before we closed. So, he had been there on his own, on and off. I am sharing a photo so you can see what he brought to place in the garden.

On that day, when I walked back into the garden, the light was crystalline and clouds were gently moving, bright and textured in that gorgeous blue we all love. I love the fall garden. On this particular day it reminded me of the “secret garden” in the book by that name: a garden showing signs of neglect yet magical. It was later in the day, quiet and the slight breeze was rustling a few leaves. I felt a presence – something different. It took a while for me to see it – but there it was, under the “goat tree,” a statue of the Buddha.

Buddha in Garden_cropped and resized to 70

It looked so right to be there, and actually as if it had always been there. I guess the size of it is what caused it to be so meaningful. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the scene and then a shaft of light gently illuminated the side of Buddha’s face. I felt, or said out loud, or both: “Ah! Of course! I hadn’t realized that we’ve been preparing the garden and tending it for the Buddha the whole time we were here!”

Everything felt right and good and, needless to say, I was so happy. I simply walked and felt happy for all of the plants and for all of the time we had there and for all of the time to come. That feeling of the presence stayed strong and I recognized it as normal: something not temporary, but rather wholesome and deep and real – a background or foundation to the hum of daily living. It was a blessing to be able to leave the property with that lovely experience. I feel very lucky for it and also to be able to go forward with that same deep, still presence, no matter the external environment.

I’m reminded of the wise adage: before enlightenment, chop wood carry water; after enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. Life goes on…

Thank you, Dolores, for your mindfulness.



A friend gave us some quinces, and we still have some ripening in the shed if anybody wants them.  Read about what two cookbooks say about quinces here:  The Magical Quince and Quince Preserves

Note that you can make a quince concoction that heals sore throats simply by rubbing off the fuzz; boiling skins, cores, and pips with water; reducing to half; and adding honey.  Store in the refrigerator.

Thanks, Cheryl!

What to do this Saturday 10.24.15

Deb suggests:

Let’s plant more cover crops in the west end of the big fenced-in tomato patch. The soil there needs help. While many of the tomatoes at the west end are still alive, they are mostly cherry tomatoes, of which we have plenty. We can pull them up and make plots for the cover crop of vetches, peas and drill tap radishes. To prepare the plots we can make one large square (maybe 20′ X 20′) or divide it into 4 smaller ones, (probably best) using topsoil we get from Maestas Sand and Gravel for the berms. I suggest this because we don’t want to rake the good soil we’ve created onto the berms leaving hardpan in which to plant the cover crop. Use Maestas topsoil, which really isn’t very rich, for the berms.

The jobs will be: Pulling the cherry tomato plants, saving the ripe fruit.
Plotting off 4 squares and lightly disturbing and leveling the soil to prepare it for the seeds. It’s easier to level small squares.
Getting volunteers with pickups to bring Maestas topsoil – I think 2 loads would be enough – 1/2 cubic yard for small trucks or 1 cubic yard for big ones. Maestas is on the Meadow Lake Rd, just about 100′ east of the El Cerro stop light on the right.
Wheelbarrowing the soil onto the berms.
Broadcasting the seed – best to uses rakes to make holes first.
Cover lightly with topsoil, light layer of hay, mulch stuff.
Tamp down lightly.
?Cover with light cloth to maintain moisture and heat? No danger of chickens in the fenced area.

Are there other plots where we want to put cover crops?

Garden Update

Saturday 10.17.15

Today was a beautiful fall work day at the garden, highlighted by a visit from Rosemary Kaul, the garden founder!  Rosemary explored every section and helped everywhere.  She will be back on Wednesday, and looks forward to meeting more garden members.

As always, Kathy was the early bird and had harvested tomatoes by the time the rest of us drifted in.  Today’s harvest included not only tomatoes, but beans, okra, padrons, chiles, eggplants, squash, and some little spinach and radishes from the greenhouse (TLC from Geri).

Suzanne  prepped and planted shallots (WHICH ARE TO BE LEFT ALONE UNTIL SPRING), Steve, Molly and Geri prepped and planted leeks in the bed west of garlic while Desiree, Deb and Patricia prepped another garlic plot.

Water elves today were Ingrid, Deb and Desiree.  Steve and Ron continued the never ending job of making the garden tidy and moved stuff from around our shed to the back shed (Ron and Steve’s Place) and some to the dumpster!

Suzanne took home some green tomatoes to ripen for next canning workshop-date TBD.

For Wednesday:  plant garlic in newly prepped bed, continue to pick chile that is ready (leave some to turn red), harvest, harvest, harvest.  Maybe water, although a storm is expected…We will watch the forecast carefully now so we can pick green tomatoes before the first freeze.

Please note:

  • Do not water chile!
  •  Leave shallots alone until Spring!
  • And look for mulch-grass clippings and leaves that have not been treated with chemicals.

Submitted by Molly


Garden Update

Wednesday 10.14.15

Boy, oh boy, seven of us got a lot accomplished Wed. Kathy and Ron harvested then Ron covered some of the tomato plants to keep them warm. He and I put bales around the pump to protect it from future frosts. Ingrid and Geri planted garlic, then covered it with straw to keep in the moisture, then covered that with plastic grid to protect the plot from the feral chickens. Claudia and Deb planted cover crops of vetch, peas and oats in the 3 old corn plots close to the tables. They were covered in straw and we put each of those plots to bed with white garden cloth. Suzanne worked the shallots bed. This is the year of the soil so we are doing all we can to nourish our garden while it rests for the winter. I did some more cleaning and organizing around our shed. We could use chipped wood to cover paths and walks. Anyone know where we can get some ?

I will be vacationing in South Carolina for a week so Debbie, Suzanne or Molly will take my place each workday that I’m gone. They will send their notes to Geri who will post them on the web site. Are y’all registered now???

More plots need to be weeded and the borders defined. More old sunflowers can be taken down.

Oct 31 will be a combination board and general meeting for all members. We will elect new officers. Since this is not only a Saturday but also Halloween, costumes and/or masks might be fun. Molly and Rick have kindly offered to bring their chipper that day to get rid of our pile of corn and sunflower stalks.  See you later!     jjh

Oh, yes, PS. Rosemary Kaul, the garden founder, will be at the garden tomorrow. Come visit with her.



Garden Update, 10/9

I have two qt. bags of frozen roasted Sandia Hot chile. Let me know if you want them. I’ll bring a sample of Green Tomato Relish that is very much like my mother’s Chow-Chow recipe. It will be a good way to use green tomatoes and it is delicious. And speaking of tomatoes, be sure you look under the lowest branches of the plants. We are finding half rotten tomatoes just going to waste under there.
What we did on Wed.
Ron, Steve, Kathy hit the garden first and started the harvesting, Deb took the chore of water master, Jeany reclaimed a small corn plot, Desiree and Suzanne helped harvest and water, Claudia found a few squash bugs, I found a couple of tomato worms eating an overlooked potato plant. Geri brought frozen roasted chile to distribute. Steve tested the water flow of the proposed garlic plot and Linda crawled out of the tomato patch with another basket of tomatoes after everyone had harvested.
What we need to do on Sat.
Since we are still harvesting beans, tomatoes, egg plant, and chile we’ll need to water those plots plus the plot by the shed and the chard/lettuce spinach plot. Someone can take down the last corn plot and groom the plot next to it. We’ll need to start planting garlic and shallots. Since Oct. 15 is the average first frost we need to harvest herbs. We can dry them in the greenhouse in the white hanging herb dryer. Steve has established a tool cleaning station so check your tools before you put them back in the shed.

Food Festival and Field Day at Gutierrez-Hubbell House Oct. 11

11 a.m. – 4 p.m. at 6029 Isleta Blvd SW

Events and offerings include:

  • Beer from Marble Brewery
  • Cider from Skarsgard Farm
  • Horseback rides
  • Workshops on soil health, earthworms, and composting
  • “Ask a Gardener” by Master Gardeners and
  • Lunch from a variety of fun and unique food trucks

This is in addition to festival favorites like the Edible Santa Fe chef demos, live music, storytelling, 4-H petting zoo, face painting, rock climbing and more!

Click here for full schedule of events >

or go here:  2015 local food fest logo