Ericameria laricifolia Turpentine bush

Southwest Plant of the Month –  Ericameria laricifolia (A. Gray) Shinners  Turpentine-bush is a broadly rounded 1-3 ft. shrub with profuse, small golden-yellow flower heads and dense greenery that turns golden in the fall. Leaves are clustered toward the stem tip and are short and leathery. They emit a tart lemony scent when rubbed gently. If rubbed harder, the leaves get gummy and smell like turpentine.This small shrub bears numerous tiny yellow flowers in late summer and fall. Water Use: Low Light Requirement: Sun, Part…

Read More »

Vegetables for Decoration?

If your garden is space challenged, and you can’t decide to use the available area for vegetables or flowers, you might consider using vegetables within the flower garden. For example, lettuce makes an attractive border in a flower garden. Nasturtiums are edible flowers. Other salad ingredients, such as spinach and arugula can also be integrated with flowers. I let a patch of arugula go to seed, and last fall, found arugula growing along the garden path. By late winter, it had grown to almost two…

Read More »

Observe the “Micro Environments” in your Yard

Observe the “Micro Environments” in your Yard In general, locations with morning sun and afternoon shade are cooler spots.  Filtered shade (under trees) are also cooler.  Full sun all day requires tough plants.  Even if the tag on the plant says full sun, it may not mean full New Mexico sun.  The plant also has to stand up to the heat.  Afternoon sun can be a hot spot, especially against a wall.  Read books, check out sites on the internet, observe plants in your neighborhood,…

Read More »

Good Bug, Bad Bug

Good Bug, Bad Bug By Dudley Vines Vegetable gardeners around these parts soon learn to hate the squash bug, but check out this photo:   Spined soldier bug nymph (left) attacking squash bug nymph.     There is a wide variety of naturally occurring beneficial insects that can help keep pest insects under control if they are given a chance. Sadly, however, these insects are often misidentified and in some cases are mistaken for pests, leading to unnecessary and counter-productive insecticide applications.   Like all…

Read More »

Shovels 101

By Dudley Vines Shovels come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and you can pay as much as you like for a shovel.  First of all, do you want a short handle or a long handle?  According to True Temper®, short handles allow more precise digging in small spaces or in raised beds, while long handles are the standard, versatile choice and are especially useful when you need more leverage. After you decide on a long or a short handle, should that handle be…

Read More »

HOMEscape Solutions (. . . another SCMG class that really works!!)

By Charlene Spiegel I took my first HOMEscape Solutions class in the spring of 2010.  I had just moved from California to Rio Rancho the year before and I wanted to create some sort of landscape out of the never ending sand dunes that made up my ½ acre property, which was located high on the mesa just west of Unser Blvd and suffered greatly from the constant winds and blowing sand. The class made a believer out of me! Not ever having been much…

Read More »

Furman’s Red Salvia Greggii

Southwest Plant of the Month Furman’s Red Texas Sage Salvia Greggii A favorite of bee’s and hummingbirds, Salvia greggii cultivars, (Fuman’s Red) is one of many varieties of colorful and hardy salvia. Blooms in late spring and again in the fall – this variety of salvia covers itself in bright red flowers and holds a sweet aroma within its foliage. This is a drought resistant/drought tolerant (xeric) plant. Salvia (commonly referred to as ‘Sage’) represent a huge family of ornamental plants that attract a variety…

Read More »

Who’s Afraid of Curly Top?

Who’s Afraid of Curly Top? You may remember the old Shirley Temple movies, with that cute little tap dancing tot that could charm even the crustiest curmudgeon. Shirley was nicknamed Curly Top, and she even starred in a movie by that name. But there is another Curly Top. And it strikes fear into gardeners’ hearts. I speak of the dreaded curly top virus. There are no sprays to prevent it, and no chemicals to treat it. I have lost tomatoes to the curly top virus,…

Read More »

Humulus lupulus var. Neomexicanus

Wild Hop- Humulus lupulus var. neomexicanus

-Southwest Plant of the Month Humulus lupulus var. Neomexicanus is a wild hop that is native to the streams and river areas of the New Mexico mountains and throughout the Western states region. Humulus (hops) belongs to the Cannabacea flowering family of plants that includes around 170 species grouped in about 11 genera that also includes its more famous cousin, Cannabis (hemp), as well as, Celtis (hackberries). Below, Sandoval County Master Gardener, Jim Dodson, son Aseph and daughter, Mary-Elizabeth, posing in front of some late…

Read More »

Pumpkins grown in compost

Compost and Curcubits

by David Pojmann Several years ago, I read an article about growing cucurbits in a compost pile. I finally decided to try the concept in 2016. My compost pile consisted mainly of leaves and various plants from the garden. I had started it in the fall and decided to use the compost in June. After sorting and screening the compost, I found that there were some spots that did not have enough water and had not fully decayed. I made a new pile of that…

Read More »