Thursday, May 2, 2013

Bud break in Taos

flowering trees, may 2013
So, yesterday was May 1st.  May Day. A day celebrating grass, flowers blooming, spring produce like asparagus, peas, greens, fava beans, strawberries, green garlic, leeks, get the point.  A result of all that "April Showers bring May flowers" lore.  Except if you live in Taos, New Mexico.  At an elevation of 7000 feet and zone 4-5 we are a bit (ok, a lot) behind what I am used to from California.  In fact I have to learn a whole new way to garden.
bud break, late april 2013
I have been taking a series of classes from Melinda at Morning Star Farm, located in Arroyo Secco, just a few miles from the town of Taos.  The classes have covered topics such as:

Location, setting up a new garden, or continuing on with an existing plot. Water, soil preparation, soil fertility, compost ideas and suggestions.

WHAT TO PLANT & WHEN TO PLANT IT, here in the Taos Valley

Get started earlier in the season and grow crops late into the fall with these ideas and suggestions.

greenhouse-Morning Star Farm April 2013
The main points of gardening in Taos seem to be plant later (or build a greenhouse)...row covers till summer...then shade cloths for just about everything.  We combat cold weather till May or June (it sometimes snows in May here), a short growing season, loads of sun in July and August and wind, wind, wind.  Otherwise, growing conditions are perfect.
notes from my class reflect what grows, when to plant and how to care for  Spring and Summer produce in Taos

That last bit of sarcasm is not really warranted   Our farmers' market is packed with amazing produce from May through October (same as Napa).  There are beautiful gardens throughout the county.  I recently joined Los Jardineros Garden Club of Taos, which was formed in 1949.  Each month there is a meeting featuring a guest speaker or a tour of local gardens.  I look forward to telling you more about this wonderful organization in future posts.
The hollyhock was selected as the official flower of Los Jardineros in 1949, the first year of the club. Members collected hollyhock seeds for planting along streets, alleyways, and throughout the countryside around Taos. (from the Los Jardineros website)

Currently our yard is dirt and has not been gardened in 30 years.  This is part of the property that we just bought...adjacent to our home...and containing the ruin I have discussed in previous posts.  We are just starting to plan the restoration, addition and landscaping projects that will take the next few years to complete.  We will probably not be able to start the garden until next year.  Until then I will dream, learn as much as I can about gardening in this zone, climate & elevation, visit as many public and private gardens as I can, and share with you the beauty that is Summer and Fall  (Winter & Spring) in Taos, New Mexico.  

Happy May!  What is growing in your area this month?

my best,
May 3, 2013  

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