Category Archives: Growing Tips

Southwest Yard & Garden – Growing Beautiful Bulbs Can Be a Breeze

Question: My friend recently gave me a bag of mixed bulbs to try in my yard. She assured me they’ll be easy to plant and manage, but I’m afraid of killing them before they even have a chance. What are the most important tips for growing bulbs here, and how can I know if I’m doing it right or not? Suzanne S., Las Cruces Answer: Don’t worry, I’ve simplified the steps for bulb planting in this column and included pro tips from a regionally revered…

Read More »

Southwest Yard & Garden – Comparing Apples to Apples: The Variety Game

  Question: We need help identifying this apple variety. Our tree was here when we moved in a little over a year ago and we don’t know what they are. Amanda M.W., Mayhill, NM Answer: More than 7,500 named apple varieties are grown throughout the world today, over 2,500 of which are grown in the U.S. Even if we narrow that down to the 100 or so varieties grown commercially in the U.S., it can be very difficult to determine exactly which variety you are…

Read More »

Southwest Yard & Garden – How Frost Affects Plants: The Champs vs. The Wimps

We harvested and weighed over 1,100 lb of unripe tomatoes from frost-bitten plants last week at the NMSU Agricultural Science Center at Los Lunas. Photo credit M. Thompson. Question: Why did some plants in my garden handle the first freeze just fine, and others died back completely? Jane P., Albuquerque Answer: I was in Las Cruces last week when we got our first two freezes in Los Lunas. Luckily, my poor houseplants on the patio didn’t freeze hard enough—or for long enough—to cause permanent damage.…

Read More »

Landscapes Need Irrigation in Winter

From Southwest Yard and Garden, November 5, 2005 by Dr. Curtis Smith, PhD, NMSU Extension Horticulture Specialist (retired) Water once a month, on a day when the temperature is above freezing. Most outdoor plants aren’t visibly growing in the winter; however they aren’t dead and still need water. Their root  systems may continue to grow even after the top is dormant, but we can’t see the roots grow. Water is needed  for root growth. Plants need much less water in the winter because water loss…

Read More »

Gardening in the Desert – The key is managing evaporation!

By John Zarola, with Dudley Vines Evaporation occurs due to intense sunshine, high winds, low humidity, and high temperatures—all of which we have in abundance. Methods we can employ to minimize evaporation include Amending the soil with compost to improve water retention; Avoiding bare soil by mulching, shading, and cover cropping Putting the right plant in the right place Incorporating efficient irrigation options AMENDING THE SOIL Compost is decomposed organic material. Amending soil with compost improves water infiltration and retention. Because compost decomposes (adding nutrients…

Read More »

Cold Frames for a Longer Season

Roy Archibald, SCMG A cold frame is a valuable tool for getting an early start in the garden and extending the season in the fall. We can begin planting at least a month earlier using one. In the fall adding a hoop cover can extend harvest for another month. The use of these adds an additional 60 days to our short gardening season. An easily constructed cold frame will provide protection from frost, temperature extremes, and drying winds. A cold frame in its simplest form…

Read More »

Winter Tree Care

By Dave Pojmann As we close one of the driest years on record, it’s time to think about the trees and bushes in our landscapes. Although the leaves have fallen, the roots of the trees are still active, and they need water to stay healthy. Young trees are especially vulnerable to winter damage if they don’t have enough water. A heavy soaking every three or four weeks is preferable to more frequent light watering. The water should be applied around the drip line of the…

Read More »

The Garden Sleeps

By Jan Koehler, SCMG There comes a time each year when even the most engaged gardener appreciates the declining day length and cooler temperatures which signal that the end of arduous toil, however be-loved, is winding down for the year. The amount of time spent watering pots or plots, denuding an area of unwanted plant growth, commonly known as weeds, and deadheading flowers to encourage yet one more flush of lively color or harvesting those tasty morsels of homegrown vegetables is finally coming to a…

Read More »

Winter Gardening – Planning for Spring Season by Loren Meinz Master Gardener

So, rather than winter boredom watching TV all day, there are some things we gardeners can and should be doing to get ready for spring season.  First, if you have fruit trees, January/February is the time for pruning.  After several years of my pruning efforts, my two trees are somewhat “odd” shaped, so this year I am hiring an arborist to give them a professional crew cut.  After pruning, consider applying dormant oil spray to rid the tree of left over pest bug eggs that…

Read More »

Neomexicanus Wild Hop

Growing Neomexicanus Wild Hop

CAUTION: — Growing Neomexicanus Wild Hop Can be addictive — and it is just about as practical as a mid-engine sports car. I have learned enough to know better over the past eight months, but I am more motivated now than ever to grow more next year. Not so much for my successes, but because of my experiences nurturing this amazing, fast-growing vertical giant that lights up the morning with bright fragrant cones that pack a delightful pungent bouquet. It was last October that I…

Read More »