Southwest Plant of the Month – Broom Dalea – Psorothamnus scenarios

Plant Form – Shrub Plant Type – Semi-evergreen Sunlight – Sun Plant Size – 3’ x 4’ Water Usage – Low Colors – Black, purple Physical Description: Large mounds of intricately branching gray to blue-green, almost leafless stems with profusion of late summer, small, indigo-blue to purple pea-like flowers. Care and Maintenance: Must have deep, loose, well-draining, sandy soil. Very difficult to transplant once established. Not readily available. Gardener’s notes: Excellent for naturalizing sand dune areas. Plant from seed. Native to El Paso’s sand hills.…

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Beneficial Insect of the Month – Damsel or nabbed bugs – (Family: Nabidae)

The nabids or damsel bugs are a uniform dull brown color (both as adults and nymphs) and are longer and more slender than big-eyed bugs (approximately 9-10 mm long). They are common in both farm and garden habitats, and are good ‘generalist’ predators, tackling a variety of prey. They overwinter in the adult stage in cracks and crevices in the soil or in leaf litter. Beneficial of the Month material courtesy of NMSU ACES: Pocket Guide to the Beneficial Insects of New Mexico Reminder:  Look…

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Southwest Plant of the Month – Blue Trumpets – Ipomopsis longiflora

Plant Form: Flower Plant Type: Annual Sunlight: Sun Plant Size: 18″ x 12″ Water Usage: Low Colors: Blue, White Physical Description:  Pale blue to almost white, long trumpet-like flowers on intricately branching stems and finely dissected foliage. Care and Maintenance:  Avoid overwatering/poor drainage.  Gardener’s notes:  Loves hot, dry, deep sandy soil. Occasional summer supplemental water will prolong blooming into fall. Found in sandy areas of El Paso. Grow from collected seed. Southwest Plant of the Month material courtesy of NMSU ACES – http://desertblooms.nmsu.edu/plantadvisor/

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VERTICAL FARMING

by Carol Dimeff Sandoval County Master Gardeners toured Sananbio, Inc. in Albuquerque, doing R&D on new cultivars of lettuce. Plants are incubated from seed, then grown hydroponically under trademark LED lights, 30 cm. from light-to-bed. Production averages 500 lbs./10,000 sq. ft./day, with 12-15 harvests per year. Selection trials vary different light waves for optimal growth, including blue light for the development of anthocyanin. The LED lights are full-spectrum and have a long lifespan. Participants were offered to taste various lettuces as well as their “Salanova…

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Beneficial of the Month – Minute Pirate Bugs – (Family: Anthocoridae)

At approximately 2-3 mm long, these are among the smallest of our common predators. In spite of their small size, however, the adults are easily recognized by their black and white ‘checkerboard’ appearance. The immature stages are brown and orange. Both adults and nymphs will tackle a variety of prey, including whiteflies, mites, insect eggs and newly hatched larvae, aphids, and thrips. These insects can sustain themselves on pollen when prey is scarce and hence are often found in flowers. Beneficial of the Month material…

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Southwest Plant of the Month – Hill Country Penstemon – Penstemon triflorus

General Information Plant Form Flower Plant Size 2′ x 1′ Plant Type Perennial Water Usage Low Sunlight Sun, Partial Shade Colors Red Physical Description:  Small bushy stature with multiple, short flowering stems just rising over the compact mass of dark green leaves, carrying a number of slightly fuzzy cherry-red, 2′ long flowers. Care and Maintenance:  Remove spent stems to maintain compact bushy appearance.  Needs well draining soil.  Gardener’s notes:  This central Texas native is well adapted to El Paso’s dry limestone soils. Another eastern Texas species, P. tenuis, requires…

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