Farm and Garden – Workshop updates

**Wine Tasting (Learn the Art of Wine Tasting) Workshop** for Dec 11 with Dr Giese.  Registration will open next week.  The class will be $20 and pre-registration + payment will be required with space limited to 30 people.  It will be a ticketed event with walk-in registrations subject to availability.  Registration will be online or via the Bernalillo county extension office 505-243-1386.  Leave a message with John Garlisch **NM Sustainable Agriculture Conference**  Dec 10, 2019 at the UNM Valencia Campus near Los Lunas, NM. **Farm…

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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…

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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…

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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.…

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Southwest Plant of the Month – Butterfly Weed – Asclepias tuberosa

Plant Form: Flower Plant Size: 2’ X 2’ Plant Type: Perennial Water: Low Sunlight: Sun, Partial Shade Colors: Orange, Yellow Physical Description: Brilliantly colored, 3″ clusters of orange to yellow flowers favored by butterflies, atop thick erect stems with narrow gray-green leaves. Milky sap. Care and Maintenance: Very difficult to transplant. Re-sprouts late in spring. Aphids. Gardener’s notes: Deep taproot promotes drought tolerance. Cultivars available with bi-color flowers in shades of cream and red. Southwest Plant of the Month material courtesy of NMSU ACES http://desertblooms.nmsu.edu/plantadvisor/

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Beneficial Insect of the Month – Beneficial flies (Order: Diptera) Part II – Tachinid Flies (Family: Tachinidae)

The flies in this family are parasitoids, i.e., the females lay their eggs on or in the bodies of other insects, and when the fly larvae hatch, they gradually consume the host until it dies, and the fly larvae pupate. Many tachinids attack larval moths and butterflies, although some species parasitize other insect groups (e.g., cucumber beetles). The adults often resemble large houseflies but have a more bristly adomen. Adult tachinid flies. Note bristly abdomen. They sustain themselves on nectar and pollen, and so are…

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Corrales Harvest Festival 2019

Early in 2019, the Corrales Kiwanis Club, sponsor of the Corrales Harvest Festival, asked SCMG Sam Thompson to bring agricultural activities for youth into the Festival.  Sam, with the help of John Thompson and Sangeeta Kala  McCandless, created three seed-related activities for the Festival.  With the help of more than 20 SCMG members more than one thousand youth and adults visited the tents and enjoyed the activities. A seed mosaic, that will be permanently displayed in Corrales was created by kids of all ages.  The…

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Southwest Plant of the Month – Bush Lantana – Lantana camara

Plant Form: Flower Plant Size: 4’ x 6’ Plant Type: Perennial Water: Low Sunlight: Sun, partial shade Colors: Orange, pink, white, yellow Physical description: Woody, shrubby, spreading plant with rough, green, aromatic leaves and small, thorny prickles on stems. Flat clusters of small flowers, cream to yellow as young blossoms in cluster center, turning bright pink to orange when mature along outer margin of cluster. Blooms late spring to fall. Care and maintenance: Aromatic foliage offensive to some. Dies to ground in winter leaving prickly,…

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