Get Healthy and Preserve Culture

“I was once told it takes 20 generations for a species to adapt fully to a place genetically” says Roxanne Swentzell of The Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute in Northern New Mexico. Roxanne has started a study group of Pueblo People who are participating in The Pueblo Diet/Food Experience in which only foods that were available to the Pueblos pre-European contact are eaten. This diet consists of strawberries, currants, spinach, corn, squash, beans, turkey, and other crops naturally supported by the New Mexican environment. Blood tests before and after have shown great health improvements in people who had been eating the typical highly processed American diet and then participated in this Pueblo Food Experience. Dylan McLaughlin made a video of the first test group in which you can witness the health transformations for yourself.

currants

Currants

As a seed saver, Roxanne has observed the genetic adaptation of the seeds to the Northern New Mexican climate. However, it is not just the seeds that have adapted genetically to the climate, it is the people as well. The Pueblo people have lived here and eaten traditional foods for at least 20 generations. “Their genes fit the sunlight, the food, the cold and the hotness of [this] place… this is why we get all different human races on Earth,” says Roxanne. Jared Diamond’s book Guns, Germs and Steel is full of examples on how environment shapes the evolution of “civilization.” Diamond explains that the evolution of food production is a major factor in the way the world came to be what it is today. The varying climates and environments played a large part in the food and types of nutrition available to different groups of people. These groups spent thousands of years surviving off of whole, unprocessed foods found in their particular geographic areas.

Today in America we have access to foods produced all over the world and a majority of our nutrition — or more often lack of nutrition — comes from highly processed foods high in sodium, carbohydrates, and sugars. In Michael Pollan’s article “Unhappy Meals,” he explains that recently (during the last 80 years or 3 generations) the majority of our diets has consisted of processed food, as opposed to the entirely whole food diets humans had been eating for the past 200,000 years. Pollan uses the term “whole foods” to mean food that has not been processed, for example everything in the produce section of the market. In the last 80 years, along with the rise in processed foods we have seen an increase in health issues like obesity, high blood pressure, and hormonal imbalances.

The Pueblo Food Experience is an inspirational experiment that is showing significant results in the health of the participants. When I use the term health I use it in an all encompassing way, meaning both mind and body health. The Pueblo Food Experience is just that — an experience — not just with food, but with community and the environment. It is exciting to look into what foods might benefit your physiology. What foods did your family form a symbiotic relationship with? What diet would make you feel the best you could feel? I write this to encourage you to find out what that diet might look like.

Roxanne

Roxanne

When I asked Roxanne how the Pueblo Food Experience has influenced her life she said, “The Pueblo Food Experience has been one of the greatest experiences of my life. I knew it would be interesting but I had no idea how profound it would be in a cultural sense. It’s hard to put into words, but maybe I would say that no ceremony or activity connected me with my ancestors like the diet did. I see things slightly differently now…..the story got clearer….we have gotten so far from our source and the diet helped me connect to who we were and still could be as Pueblo people.”

-Posted by Anastassia

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How to Bee-come a Beekeeper

1There has been a lot of buzz about the honey bee lately. People are often captivated and amazed by the small insects officially labeled a “super-organism.” The intricacies of their lives, the efficiency and precision with which they work, and the uncanny intuition of their actions, can make us truly appreciate the power of nature. Honeybees provide an indispensable service to our ecosystem. They pollinate the crops that we eat, making sure that all flowering plants from apple trees to squash can reproduce and bear fruit. The honeybees, and other pollinators, are entangled in a symbiotic relationship with the plants, the plants depend on them for reproduction, and the bees depend on the plants as a sole food source. It is quite a beautiful relationship.

The recent hubbub about bees however takes a more somber tone. Bees around the world are struggling. The condition commonly referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is killing off about a third of the bee population annually. Scientists and beekeepers are working together to find the root cause of this condition, and surprisingly there is no specific problem that can be identified. Rather, there are a multitude of factors that, combined together, create a seriously adverse environment for bees. Habitat loss, pesticide and herbicide use, invasive bacteria and pests, alongside more extreme weather create the perfect storm for the honey bee.

Instead of writing a blog about all the problems bees are facing, I decided not to dwell on all the negative information out there, but rather see what I could do to help our local bees. I attended a beekeeping demonstration, and the beekeeper leading the seminar said that the best thing to do for the bees was to get involved with them, learn about them, and give them a voice. It was then that I realized I should help the bees in the most hands on way possible… By Bee-Coming a Beekeeper!

2The first step that I had to take on my journey towards keeping bees was to educate myself and get connected to the community. I checked out the informative and eloquent book “Top Bar Beekeeping” written by the local beekeeping legend Les Crowder, who keeps about 150 hives in Northern New Mexico. The book was a great jumping off point, filled with vital and concise information alongside poetic and inspiring stories.

Albuquerque has a thriving and active beekeeping community. I found the website that connects them all called ABQBEEKS.ORG, and from there learned that there was a monthly meeting. If you are a beginning beekeeper, ABQ BEEKS will be your best resource for involvement. At this point I was well on my way to completing my first step, and I was going to the meeting prepared to take step two: finding a mentor.

The first time I attended an ABQ BEEKS monthly meeting, I walked into a room filled with more than a hundred people talking amongst themselves and having a good time. After a couple interesting lectures and demonstrations there was some time to meet and talk. Within minutes I had found myself the mentor I had been looking for, someone who was willing to show me the do’s and don’ts with beekeeping, and someone who could give me the fundamental knowledge to set me on my feet.

3

The author observing some honeycomb

Because bees are for the most part dormant over winter, my new mentor invited me to observe him open his hive for the first time in spring. This is an anxious moment for all beekeepers, as they get to see how (and if) the hive has survived over Winter. Over several Sunday meetings, I learned the basics hands-on, and gained a more intimate understanding of the nuances of keeping bees. No doubt, beekeeping is an art, but the basics are easy enough to grasp and really quite intuitive. There are however many options in the style of beekeeping you choose to practice. Here came the third step towards my beekeeping goal: Getting equipment and choosing a hive.

The type of hive you choose will determine what style of beekeeping you will practice. The two most popular hives are the Langstroth and the Top-Bar hives. Though the hive types differ immensely, they are both great ways of keeping bees, and each has pros and cons. I chose a Top-Bar hive because it was the preference of my mentor. Beyond the hive, the only equipment you will need is a hive tool (knife), a smoker, and a veil (to protect you from any bees that get a bit angry).

The two types of hives: Langstroth to the left, and Top-Bar to the right

The two types of hives: Langstroth to the left, and Top-Bar to the right

After all of the equipment is gathered, there is only one final step – getting bees!!! Finding bees in the Albuquerque area is relatively simple, as long as you have one of two things: money or patience. If you have a bit of spare cash lying around, you can buy packages of bees online or from local sellers for about $120-150. If you don’t have the cash, getting bees is still possible! The ABQBEEKS.ORG website has a swarm list, where you can wait to get a group of errant/wild bees that a beekeeper has removed from somebody’s yard, wall, or garden.

Beekeeping is unbelievably rewarding and surprisingly accessible. As outlined above, it is super easy to get engaged and involved with your local super-organisms! If you have an interest please don’t be intimidated. I can act as the example of how someone with a mere interest in bees can become an active beekeeper in only a couple months. Go out there and save the bees!

-Posted by Sean Paul

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Why Raw Milk?

Have you ever heard of raw milk? Many people struggle to choose between raw milk and pasteurized milk due to their lack of knowledge between the two. There is misleading information about raw milk that causes controversy and confusion. Laws that ban the sale of raw milk in certain states or counties cause people to question whether it is safe or not.

Raw milk is milk produced from cows, sheep, goats or other animals that has not been pasteurized. The Raw Milk Institute states that, “Raw milk is a living whole food that contains: enzymes, a biodiversity of beneficial bacteria, sugars, proteins, fats, minerals, antibodies and other essential elements needed to nourish a growing baby.”

Pasteurization is a process named after the scientist Louis Pasteur. This method uses heat to destroy pathogens and germs found in food that may be harmful or deadly to humans after consumption. During pasteurization the milk is heated anywhere from 145 degrees to 280 degrees Fahrenheit. The most common method in the US heats the milk for 15 seconds or longer at a temperature of 161 degrees Fahrenheit. Pasteurization is a process of partial sterilization that kills the harmful pathogens, but also kills beneficial bacteria as well.

New Mexico laws allow raw milk to be sold in certain counties in the state as long as their bacteria levels are low. If these levels are within requirement, referred to as grade A, the dairy must label their product stating that “raw milk may cause illness or harmful disease.”

Only 1% of milk consumed in the U.S. is raw milk. Why so little? Raw milk has been proven to be safe and has caused very few illnesses to millions of people throughout history. When raw milk causes illnesses and diseases it is most likely to be caused from bad sanitization. If a farmer has sanitized his cows, has a very clean milking parlor, and the equipment in his creamery is always clean, there should be few harmful bacteria.

Many generations of my family have produced their own raw milk and have drank it with no negative health impacts. Buying local allows you to meet your farmer in person, see what kind of person he is, what methods he uses, and how clean his farm and creamery may be. Another important factor most people forget about is how the cow is being raised. Whether the cow is fed all natural food and grains is very important. Buying non local milk increases the risk of bacteria and disease because of the time it takes you to receive it, and the fact that multiple hands touch the product.

The dilemma labeling raw milk as “unsafe” is a dilemma that shouldn’t exist. Basic research shows raw milk is safe and even healthier than pasteurized milk.

Pasteurized milk has been the clear choice for the majority of people, but is it the right choice? Pasteurized milk is often assumed to be completely safe, but it also has been proven to cause some illnesses and to contain fewer beneficial proteins. Pasteurized milk is also absorbed by our bodies differently than raw milk. So is raw milk or pasteurized milk the way to go?

rawmilkAfter taking a trip to one of the New Mexico dairy farms in my local area, I was convinced raw milk is the way to go. I visited De Smet Dairy in Bosque Farms, which is only 20 minutes south of Albuquerque. During my visit I met Mike, who is one of the owners, and who earned the 2014 Young Farmer of the Year award.

Mike and the De Smet dairy farm have proudly produced and sold raw milk in New Mexico for the past six months, and have the USDA ranking of #1 for cleanest milk. Mike told me that this reward has come from hard work. He cleans and sanitizes his cows and all materials that come in contact with the milk. He uses stainless steel products because they have been proven to be the safest. He also cleans his material with 100 degree water and then again with 180 degree water with detergents and chlorine. His method of rotational grazing keeps his cows mobile and healthy.

De Smet dairy produces about 1000 gallons a week, and sells about 350 1/2 gallons daily. De Smet produces all their milk off of 20 cows. Their goal is to grow their herd to 100 cows in the future. At the rate De Smet is expanding and with their efforts to become more sustainable, they may become the biggest dairy farm in the Southwest.

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If you would like to visit to De Smet Dairy they are very welcoming and open daily from noon-5pm. They are located at 2405 McNew Road in Bosque Farms, New Mexico. I had a great experience there; the cows are tame, which gives a perfect family experience. I believe one day people will understand raw milk is not only the right choice but a more beneficial choice as well.

-Posted by Gordon

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Olla Use for Home Gardening

Image from: permacultureideas.blogspot.com

Image from: permacultureideas.blogspot.com

Olla is a latin word meaning earthenware jar. Its first use in writing is in a medieval collection of ideas from 1535 called De Proprietibus Rerum:

“A crocke hyghte Olla, for water boylethe therin whan fyre is there vnder, and vapour passeth vpward, and the boll that ryseth on the water, and durethe by substaunce of the wynde and ayre, hyghte Bulla.”

Before and simultaneous with use of metal, earthenware has been a primary material for the containment and preparation of food across the world. The right combination of clay and water, then fire, can create one of the harder substances on earth that doesn’t degrade, and that transfers heat without burning. According to Marguerita Abreu, its qualities are in these ways as incredible as advanced, modern day materials (ceramic has, for example, greater resistance to abrasion than steel) and yet its making is so simple that humans have done so for 10,000 years (concerning pottery, whereas ceramic figurines were being made 25,000 years ago). Simple ceramic vessels have been used as tools for agriculture since the beginning of its practice, arising also roughly 10,000 years ago.

A Sri Lankan man fills an olla used to water a tree. Image from: permaculturenews.org

A Sri Lankan man fills an olla used to water a tree. Image from: permaculturenews.org

Gardeners around the world, like John Dromgoole of Texas, use ollas to efficiently bring water to plants and reduce the frequency of watering. A particular benefit mentioned by many is that because the olla is buried in the soil, water is introduced deep initially rather than having to seep down from the top, where it is easily caught by roots closer to the surface. This tends to encourage deeper root growth and therefore more plant strength as well as general above ground growth. And compared to hand watering, an olla can be filled just once or twice a week, dispersing water in the interim.  Further, if an olla is used and handled carefully and put away during freezes it can last hundreds of years.

Ollas in rows at Growing Awareness Urban Farm in Albuquerque, NM. Photo from: permaculturenews.org

Ollas in rows at Growing Awareness Urban Farm in Albuquerque, NM. Image from: permaculturenews.org

An example of an interesting variation comes from permaculturist Tom Bowes in Michigan. He connects a rain catchment system with his ollas so they’re filled by water runoff. In this way plants are watered by rainfall and for days afterward.

Another possible idea could be to mix a drip-tape system with an olla system, with tape providing for row crops and large ollas for perennial trees or bushes. Invariably you can create any kind of system you’d like.

If you’re interested in implementing an olla type watering system in Albuquerque you can purchase pre-made vessels from Growing Awareness Urban Farm. Growing Awareness Urban Farm runs a mini-farm in the city, at the East Central Ministries Church, and makes their own ollas for sale as well as sells seeds and produce at markets.

Another popular, resourceful, and probably cheaper method is to seal two machined terracotta pots together, plugging the bottom drain-hole, and filling from the top hole with a funnel.

Image fom: globalbuckets.org

Image fom: globalbuckets.org

Lastly, you can make ollas yourself! To do this you’ll need full access to a ceramics facility and be able to throw simple vessels on the wheel or else build them as a sculpture.

Good luck! Feel free to contact me with any questions at tyryder@unm.edu. In my process to throw my own ollas and use them in my garden I might be able to offer some pointers. The above-mentioned Albuquerque producers are also excellent resources for information.

-Posted by Tyson

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Red or Green?

A guide to enjoying New Mexico’s chile year-round

New Mexico’s official state question is “Red or Green?” Red and green chile are the cornerstones of New Mexican cuisine. Chile has a rich history in the Land of Enchantment, but few know of the origins of the chile they enjoy today. Chile made its way from the Caribbean to Spain with Columbus and into the New World with Don Juan de Onate. Over time, through careful selection and hybridization, it became the chile we know and love today.

According to the New Mexico Chile Association, New Mexico’s chile industry is in a steep decline because of foreign competition. To reverse this trend, New Mexicans can support their local culinary traditions and economy by buying chile locally. Taking this sustainable approach ensures that chile is grown under stricter domestic regulations and travels a shorter distance from the field to the plate. Promotions such as “Get Your Fix”  are helping to market New Mexico chile.

There are a number of local chile sources available to New Mexicans. Chile can be grown in backyard gardens, found at farmer’s markets, and can be ordered directly from a number of farms.  New Mexico’s chile farms range in size and use various farming practices; some are small organic farms and some are larger scale conventional farms.

A few local growers:

The early fall months in New Mexico are redolent with the smell of freshly roasted green chile. August usually marks the beginning of the green chile harvesting season. Some green chiles are left on the plant to ripen into red chiles, which are usually harvested from mid-September until the first frost. This harvest period captures the bounty of the season. Providing a local chile supply to New Mexico’s chile-obsessed population year-round is a challenge that can be met by drying, freezing, or canning chile.

Preserving Green Chile
After they are harvested, green chiles are roasted in order to remove their tough outer skin. They can be roasted in an oven, range top, outdoor grill, or most often in a special roaster. Chiles should be roasted until the skin is blackened and blistered. The chiles are then peeled, and seeds and stems removed for freezing. Leaving a few seeds in the chile can add more “heat,” or spiciness to the chile. Wearing latex gloves during this process is recommended.

Green chile can be frozen whole or chopped, depending on how the chile will be used. Chopped chiles can easily be made into green chile sauce which is often used to “smother” a number of traditional New Mexican dishes. Using quality freezer bags or containers and eliminating as much air as possible adds to the longevity of frozen chile, which can be used for a year or more.  Always label frozen chile with the date it was frozen. It is important to heat the frozen chile to 165 degrees Fahrenheit before eating it to destroy any harmful germs which can be found in prepared frozen foods.

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Preserving Red Chile
Red chile is dried instead of roasted, as the skin of red chiles does not need to be removed.  The chiles must be placed in full sun with good air ventilation to dry, but they can also be dried in an oven or food dehydrator.  A common method of drying New Mexico red chiles is on a ristra.

Crushing dried red chiles in a food processor, blender, or spice mill is a good way to make a powder that can be used as a seasoning or incorporated into a sauce. Remember to remove the stems and seeds from dried chiles before processing them. If made correctly chile powder does not spoil, but it will lose potency over time. Keeping chile powder in the freezer can extend its longevity.

Dried chiles can also be reconstituted and incorporated into a sauce which can be frozen or canned. Red chile sauce can stain clothing and kitchen surfaces and appliances, so handle the sauce carefully.

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Canning Red and Green Chile
Both green and red chile sauces can be preserved by pressure canning. This helpful video can get you started. An alternative to canning your own chile is to buy canned chile from local producers such as Tio Frank’s.

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Whether it’s red or green, keeping New Mexico’s chile tradition local will lead to a more sustainable practice, and support the local economy. However you prefer to get your “chile fix,” preserving chile for year-round use captures the bounty of the chile season.

-Posted by Tammira

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The Importance of a Seed

I never fully comprehended the risks and dangers that farmers went through until I watched the documentary Food, Inc. I can remember the image of a humble older man (Maurice Parr) being interrogated by Monsanto in regard to seed patents. Watching this distraught seed cleaner having his livelihood become threatened made me choked up inside, and it chokes me up to this day.

Observing territorial struggles over seeds seemed disturbing and unfathomable. Maurice Parr represents the farming community, as many have faced issues concerning seed patents. When I think of farmers faced with similar circumstances, I think of the man I saw in the film. I think about the security of livelihoods that have been threatened and years of hard work sabotaged. In the age GMOs (Genetically Modified Organisms) and food insecurity, seed sovereignty is strongly sought after by many farmers and growers. To a consumer, a seed can be an annoyance, but to a farmer–a seed is a right.

Local Artists: Mike 360, Release, and Vela. Photo by Anna

Local Artists: Mike 360, Release, and Vela. Photo by Anna

Reasons for Attaining Seed Sovereignty
Farmers and individuals consider seed sovereignty important for the following reasons: To protect seeds from environmental degradation and harmful agricultural practices, to ensure food security and diversity, and to uphold a rich culture of farming traditions that includes protecting native and heirloom varieties. Seed varieties can be endangered by monoculture, climate change, war, catastrophe, and governmental regulations. One primary concern in many seed sovereignty organizations is the pervasiveness of GMOs in the food chain. When a GMO seed inadvertently cross contaminates a farmer’s field by wind or bee pollination, it puts that farmer at risk for lawsuit. According the University of Chicago, seed sovereignty is being threatened with the advent of GMOs. The GMO seed patents are considered by some to be intellectual property.

The Importance of Pollination for Seeds and our Food Source
Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) is a toxic, spore-forming bacterium used in some farms to kill herbivores like Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth larvae). Although this bacteria is used to kill off specific pests, it can also be toxic to beneficial insects like bees and butterflies.   Karen W. Wright, UNM PhD candidate in Insect Evolution, states that “A GMO is something that cannot be contained. Once a living organism is released into the environment, it cannot be controlled.” GMOs affect plants such as heirloom corn grown in Mexico. In addition, Karen states that there are only two bee genera (Peponapis) that offer top pollination for the squash family (Cucurbitaceae). Farmers sometimes need to hire hand-pollinators if fields are not property pollinated or to protect certain crop varieties from being cross-pollinated by nearby fields. The use of Bt on farms is an environmental paradox because killing off larvae means killing off some of earth’s most beneficial pollinator insects—bees and butterflies.

Image from Science Kids

Image from Science Kids

Make Way for Monarchs is a progressive organization that advocates for milkweed and monarch restoration in 31 million acres in the Conservation Reserve Program.

The implementation of GMO seeds may have initially been well-intended to alleviate hunger or to increase farm yields. Unfortunately, Bt technology and other GMOs have posed dangers to farmers’ livelihoods, contributed to environmental degradation, provided poor food quality, and has affected people’s health around the world.

Seed Savers and Farmers Unite

Image from CIP Americas

Image from CIP Americas

Protecting the Heritage of New Mexico Native Heirloom
The New Mexico Acequia Association has a beautiful mission. Their mission is to protect native seeds, such as traditional chile, crops, and animals while reviving the culture around aceqiuas in New Mexico. One of their primary purposes is to protect native seeds against Genetic Engineering. In March of 2006, a Seed Sovereignty Declaration was signed.The declaration was drafted by the members of the Traditional Native American Farmers Association and NMAA. These two organizations form the core of the New Mexico Food and Seed Sovereignty Alliance.

Save New Mexico Seeds is a helpful website that exists advocating to protect New Mexico’s native chile seeds against genetic modification and stands to protect the rights of farmers in our land. See what you can do to join locals in upholding a rich cultural heritage-the New Mexico Red and Green.

UltimateChile_7001

Seed Sovereignty Advocacy and Conservation
Communities are coming together on a local, national, and global level to take a stand for seed sovereignty. They are realizing that seed sovereignty plays a vital role in food security. A stronger connection to the land and stronger sense of food security can be done through seed sharing and conservation.

Local Advocates and Seed Banks

National and Global Organizations

Seed to Plate – How to ensure your own food security through seed sovereignty and what you can do to make a difference

Non-GMO Project Seal

  • Purchase packaged products labeled with Non-GMO Project verified seals.
  • Save your seeds after consuming authentically-grown, organic produce.
  • Plant your own small garden using the seeds you saved or heirloom, non-GMO seeds from other sources.
  • Support local farms using organic or sustainable agriculture.
  • Sign a pledge, join an association or contact your local legislators.

Bounty beyond belief

So now we know how important seed sovereignty is for us and what damage a GMO can do to the environment. When you eat something, remember–it all boils down to a tiny little seed. Seed sovereignty is a critical link for maintaining food security. Protecting our seeds means protecting life.

-Posted by Anna

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Grow Big or Grow Small

Many UNM students who live in the city live in apartments, townhouses, or small homes that do not offer a lot of yard space for gardening. But even for those lucky enough to live in a place with a large enough yard to garden in, obstacles may come up that are usually associated with poor soil quality. For those wanting to do some urban gardening in the Albuquerque Metro area, I offer some advice. victory garden

But why garden in the first place? The most prominent reason is, of course, safe and healthy food. The average American is becoming more cautious of what they consume. Food-borne illnesses and contamination and the additional additives and preservatives in our everyday foods is a growing problem in the states. The easy solution is to grow your own food so that you know that your friends and family are eating fresh and safe. During World Wars I and II the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Germany all had campaigns in their home countries encouraging their citizens to grow their own vegetables and fruits in ‘Victory Gardens,’ in order to alleviate the problem of food shortages.

There are many other reasons why one should start a garden. For instance, gardening activities offer both cardio and aerobic exercise. It can add beauty to any space and could also encourage artistic creativity. Finally, gardens can be very therapeutic. As a full time student who works full time as well, I get very little true relaxation time. Gardens provide a necessary retreat and escape from the demands of everyday life. The beauty of thriving plants instantly makes me feel better and everyday maintenance of the garden (such as pulling weeds or even just quietly watering) relieves stress. Eating the beautiful and healthy vegetables you just grew not only helps with your physical health, but also gives you a sense of achievement and success.

Now, how to go about with your garden? First of all, I am a big believer in vermicomposting. Vermicomposting is a term used for worm bin composting. I am a proponent of worm bin composting because:

  1. You can scale it to any size, whether it be a fully functional urban food forest or a small garden. You may have a few vegetable plants outside planted in poor soil or a few indoor potted plants that just need a little kick. Worm bin composting can be scaled down or up to suit your needs in replenishing or adding nutrients to soil.
  2. It’s low maintenance. The more common composting methods require a little bit more space and maintenance. A vermicomposting bin can be located in a small area, even in a shelf, in a garage or closet. Not only that, but the primary upkeep involves feeding the worms any vegetable or fruit scraps – they do the rest!

Here is a simple online guide to vermicomposting, but I recommend reading, “Worms Eat My Garbage,” by Mary Applehof, for more in-depth information about worm bin composting.

Secondly, go organic. With small scale gardening, I personally believe that there is absolutely no reason not to go completely organic. This means no chemical fertilizers, synthetic pesticides or herbicides. You’ll have to keep a vigilant eye on your garden though. Also, experimentation is a huge part of organic gardening. Sometimes plants get a greater yield with more or less sun so you might have to move them around. You might want to start companion planting with the Three Sisters, which does well in New Mexico. Embrace experimentation and play around before you resort to a nuclear deterrent such as chemical pesticides.

And finally, grow what you will eat. It is much more motivating and satisfying eating something you’ll enjoy, that you also grew yourself. If you like eating salads, grow greens. If you really enjoy fresh herbs, plant some cilantro or parsley. If you start growing something you won’t even enjoy eating, you just spent a season growing compost material!

Now, how to grow a garden in a small space? Container gardening and vertical gardening is the answer for small space gardening.

 

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-Posted by Billy

 

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