If you attended last week’s presentation by Newt McCarty at the garden and if you bought gophinator traps on his recommendation, you might want to check out these photos. Some of us struggled with setting the traps once we got our order from Trapline, even though we watched the video here: endFront end of trap

back endRear end of trap

set trap 2Set trap

The key at the front end is to set the little protrusion over the open jaws of the trap.  Then, you thread the prong at the rear end through the loop (lower front of the second photo).

Finally you wind the spring and let it catch on the upright prong.  Be careful to hold that rectangular trigger down as you wind the spring.

Newt suggested that when placing the traps in the tunnels, face the front end of the trap into the tunnel and press down gently to make sure the trap is well-seated in the dirt.  ¡Cuidado!  Don’t spring the trap on yourself.  As the gopher sends dirt toward the rectangular trigger, the trap will spring.

Regenerative Agriculture

This article from Edible Magazine features Bob Quinn of Kamut International, who spoke at the Edible Institute 2020 conference at La Fonda on Feb 19, 2020.  Quoting Quinn, Edible defines regenerative agriculture:

So what is regenerative agriculture? Though particular features vary among its practitioners, it first and foremost requires food producers to nourish the soil, rather than mine, deplete, or even destroy it, as happens in industrial agriculture. Chemical herbicides and pesticides common in industrial practice can kill organisms in soil, leaving the soil a nearly lifeless medium reliant on artificial nutrients and thus creating an endless, toxic cycle.

Quinn also emphasizes the importance of real organic practices as opposed to “Big Organic.”

As a practitioner and public advocate of organic agriculture, Quinn actively resists the advance of large-scale organic agriculture, or “Big Organic,” which he argues in his book, Grain by Grain: A Quest to Revive Ancient Wheat, Rural Jobs, and Healthy Food, “has mostly gone the extractive commodity route.”  To food corporations and other businesses, large and small, that are trying to get into organics, Quinn asks them to assess whether their businesses extract value from communities for commodities or return value to communities. To Quinn, thinking in terms of commodities cannot be organic. “Organic—real organic—requires a whole systems approach,” he insists, “with value regenerated at every stage in the process.”

For more, go here:

Upcoming Home, Garden and Health Expo

WHEN:  Saturday, March 7, 2020 from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

WHERE:  Peralta Methodist Church Community Education Building 25 Wesley Rd, Peralta, NM 87042

OPENING SESSION:  All about Bats

HOME:  Edible Native Plants, Cooking from Your Cupboard, Home Wine and Cider Making

GARDEN:  Native Plant Selection, Growing Herbs, Attracting and Housing Pollinators

HEALTH:  Not in My Family (Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse), Home Safety and Security, Heart Healthy Habits

2020 H,G&H flyer

Call Valencia County Cooperative Extension: (505) 565-3002 to RSVP by March 3rd.  Registration includes lunch and only costs $5.

Membership in Valencia Community Gardens (VCG)

While the Garden is put to sleep for the winter, we are having a planning meeting January 22, Wed. at Whitfield at 10am.   All interested folks are welcome.

Regular workdays begin late Feb. early March.  To be a member one works 2-4 hours per week at regular Wed. and Sat. morning workdays.  Annual membership dues are $25 per individual or family.  Valencia Community Gardens is at Silva Rd.–the road connecting Tome Gallery with Tome Plaza and running slightly west of Hwy 47 on land generously provided to us by Jan Pacifico and George Ridgeway.pic for May 1 meeting.croppedDeb and Ingrid20161009_121149-bethelcdc6612.23.19.resizedJoyce smiling


In existence for more than ten years, Valencia Community Gardens was inspired by Rosemary Kaul, one of our founding members.  She suggested plural “Gardens” in the hope that from one location VCG would reach out to other gardeners who might form their own community gardens in Valencia County.  In addition to this blog, we also have a Facebook page, and we are starting to post on NextDoor.

More photos here:


Garden update 1/8/2020

Debbie says,
“The Greenhouse is flourishing even with this chilly weather. Bethal and I are watering regularly. About every 6 days seems to be enough to keep the soil moist and the greens happy. Bethal watered Monday Dec. 30th and On Sunday Jan. 5th I gave it a good drink. By next weekend it should need more. If you go in, write down what you did on the yellow tablet. And do take some fresh healthy organic greens.

And mark your calendar for Wednesday Jan. 22nd for a general planning meeting – ordering seeds etc. – at Whitfield at 10am. On Feb. 15th Ron will organize the filling of the bioreactor composter. We’ll need all hands on deck for that event.”  Debbie

Joyce says:
Bring seed catalogs and ideas to the Jan 22nd meeting at Whitfield at 10:00 a.m.

I’ll bring coffee. Stay for awhile after the meeting and go for a walk in the Bosque.

Our work day on Saturday the Feb.15th. Is an “all hands on deck” day. We will need to churn up some leaves, get all the bagged material wet and then fill the waiting bioreactor. We are making this a community event to teach our neighbors about the bioreactor and its benefits. Building it is fairly simple using commonly found materials. We have a complete instruction manual that we can hand out to visitors. Ron has been working very hard replacing our hoses with sturdier material.

greens closeup.

And please, come pick greens from the greenhouse. There are plenty of containers. Thank you, Bethal, you did a wonderful job planning, planting, and labeling the crop. Are y’all enjoying these sunny but cold winter days? Come join us at our next two events, jjh

Debbie Christensen is President of VCG, and Joyce Johns is past President and current outreach coordinator.  For details on the Bioreactor Composter, click here:  Johnson-Su Bioreactor Composter

Regenerative, Organic Agriculture Is Essential to Fighting Climate Change

Regenerative agriculture” refers to farming and grazing practices that, among other benefits, reverse climate change by rebuilding soil organic matter and restoring degraded soil biodiversity. This results in both carbon drawdown and improved water infiltration and storage in soils.

Regenerative practices include:

• Reduction or elimination of tillage and the use of synthetic chemicals

• Use of cover crops, crop rotations, compost and animal manures

• Integrating animals with perennial and annual plants to create a biologically diverse ecosystem on the farm

• Grazing and pasturing animals on grass, and more specifically using a planned multi-paddock rotation system

• Raising animals in conditions that mimic their natural habitat

See the full article by Ronnie Cummins here: