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Growing Vegetables in New MexicoStephanie WalkerExtension VegetableSpecialist
Benefits of a VegetableGarden Know where your food comes from, and what goes into it Produce as fresh as possible: more flavorful and nutritious Grow the varieties of vegetables you want
Farmers’ Markets History Ancient method used by farmers to sell produce directly to customers. Industrialization food production reduced popularity. Current resurgence as consumers seek fresh, locally grown produce.
Advantages Direct sales to customers / no middlemen. Opportunity for new growers. Direct interaction with customers.
Customer Loyalty is theGoal Appropriate and consistent prices Stand is appealing and comfortable Consistent attendance at market Customer has pleasant experience Your customers will spread the word Consistently high quality
Appeal to all the Senses Sight Smell Taste Touch Sound
Harvest at the Right Time Know your vegetables -Premature harvest reduces amount of flavor compounds. -Late harvested may result in a fibrous, less tender, bland or bitter crop.
Plan Before You Plant How much space do you have? How do you plan to irrigate? Drip Flood Sprinkler Do any of your plants require trellising? Cucumbers, pole beans, tomatoes, etc. How much room per variety?
Prepare Soil Best soil is deep well drained, fertile soil that contains plenty of organic matter. Soil texture: Clay, sandy and loam Alkaline vs. acidic Manures, compost, fertilizers.
Plant Your Garden Direct seeding is the easiest way to plant your garden. Transplants are used to obtain earlier maturity, or if seed is expensive. -Harden outside, 1-2 weeks, with partial shade.
Water Properly Water by: Hand, drip (most efficient), sprinkler, flood or furrow. After planting irrigate lightly every 2-3 days until germination. Once plants are established do not over or under water Root Rots vs. Blossom End Rot
Row Covers Hoop supported vs. floating Perforated polyethylene vs. spun bonded polyester or polypropylene Provides a 2 to 4oF temperature boost May provide protection from insects
Know Your Plants Plant size, spacing, time to harvest. Perennial vs. annual. Hybrid vs. open-pollinated seed. Determinant vs. indeterminant.
Broccoli (Brassica oleraceavar italica) Cole crop; cool season annual Grown for it’s edible, immature flower head Relatively tolerant to environmental stress Plant Apr 15 – Jun 1 Direct seed or transplant
Broccoli Culture Temperatures below 40°F may cause chilling injury. Harvest when heads are firm and florets haven’t begun to open. Retain 2-4 inches of stem when cutting. Cut sprouting broccoli just below the floret to stimulate new shoots.
Lettuce (Lactuca sativa)Family AsteraceaeHerbaceous annual.Cool season – tempsabove 70° with longdays cause lettuceto bolt.High temperatures andexcess maturity cause bitterness.
Lettuce Culture Seeds germinate best at 65-70oF; >79oC inhibits. Seeds need light to germinate; seed shallow. Begin planting Apr 1; plant in succession for prolonged harvest. Four types: Crisp head, leaf, butterhead, and romaine (Cos).
Lettuce Cultivars Crisphead (var. capitata) Tight, heavy heads. Latest to mature. ‘Iceberg’ ‘Great Lakes’
Lettuce Cultivars Butterhead (Bibb) (var. capitata) Small, loosely filled head with creamy interior. ‘Bibb’ ‘Buttercrunch’
Lettuce Cultivars Looseleaf (var. crispa) Easiest to grow; earliest to mature. ‘Black Seeded Simpson’ ‘Salad Bowl’ ‘Ruby’ ‘Prizehead’ ‘Oak Leaf’
Lettuce Cultivars Romaine (Cos) (var. longifolia) Elongated heads Matures later than butterhead and leaf varieties Harvest heads when small to avoid bitterness. ‘Rosalita’ ‘Valmaine Cos’ ‘Paris Island Cos’
Tomatoes Most popular vegetable for home gardens. Family Solanaceae Direct seed or transplant May 1 – May 15 Common disorders in NM: Curly top virus; blossom end rot
Tomato Culture Self fertile, wind- pollinated flowers. Temps < 50 will cause blossom abortion, poor fruit set & cat- facing. Excessive irrigation after maturity may cause splitting.
Tomato Cultivars Plum and Small Types (L. cerasiforme- cherry & pyriforme-pear) Smaller (½” dia.), sweeter tomatoes Produce about 100 fruit/plant ‘Sweet 100’ ‘Yellow Pear’ ‘Tiny Tim’ ‘Red Cherry’
Tomato Cultivars Beefsteak Larger tomatoes, excellent for fresh uses. ‘Beefmaster’ ‘Celebrity’ ‘Better Boy’ ‘Early Girl’
Tomato Cultivars Paste High ratio of solids. Excellent for sauces, processing. ‘Roma’ ‘Viva Italia’ ‘Amish Paste’
Tomato Cultivars Heirlooms Older, open pollinated varieties Brandywine Black Krim Hungarian Heart
Chile Peppers Capsicumannuum, C. frutescens, C. chinense Family Solanaceae Indeterminant or determinant. Planting Dates: May 15 – Jun 15. Direct seed or transplant. Bell peppers genetically non- pungent.
Chile Habanero : 300,000 SHU Tabasco : 150,000 SHUHeat Thai : 95,000 SHU Serrano : 65,000 SHU Cayenne : 50,000 SHU New Mexican : 10,000 SHU Bell Pepper : 0 SHUSHU = Scoville Heat Unit
Bell Pepper Cultivars ‘Bell Boy’ ‘Gypsy Hybrid’ ‘California Wonder’
Cucurbits Squash, pumpkins, gourds Cucumbers Melons Don’t transplant well. Direct seeding is preferred.
CucurbitPollination Cucurbit flowers may be perfect (have male and female parts) or imperfect (have only one or the other). Male flowers produced early; female flowers later. Genetics, day length, and temperature determine what gender of flowers are produced
Melon Cucumis melo & Citrulluslanatus Family Cucurbitaceae Warm season, herbaceous annual. May be determinate or indeterminate. Melons can only cross-pollinate with members of the same species. Plants are monoecious & can be self or cross pollinated.
Melon Culture Planting Dates: May 1 – May 15 Warm temps & sunny weather produces sweet fruit. Bees essential for good fruit set. Only allow 1-2 fruits to develop per plant.
Corn (Zea mays) Annual; member of grass family White corn lacks beta-carotene Plant sequentially every two weeks to prolong harvest (May 1 – Jul 15)
Corn Culture Soil temperature 50 – 55oF for optimum germination Optimum growth between 75 – 86oF Plant 1” deep in clay; 1.5” in loam, and 2” deep in sand Wind pollinated; poor pollination causes skips on cob. Harvest when silks are brown and dry, and kernels are in milk stage
Blue Corn Blue color from anthocyanin pigments Coarser, sweeter and nuttier taste than other flour-corn types Mostly open-pollinated varieties Pre-plant Phosphorus (80 lbs/ac) For organic production, apply manure (20 tons/ac) in the fall
Sweet Corn Cultivars ‘Merit’ ‘Early Sunglow’ ‘Hybrid Double Delicious’ ‘Early Xtra-Sweet’ ‘How Sweet It Is’
New Mexico Farmers’Marketing Association Contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org Or call toll-free: 1-888-983-4400.
Important Sources ofInformation Growing zones, recommended crop varieties, and planting and harvesting information for home vegetable gardens in New Mexico: http://cahe.nmsu.edu/pubs/_circulars/c irc457B.pdf Or, for a complete list: http://cahe.nmsu.edu/pubs/_h/