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7 Simple Steps for a Successful Garden

7 Simple Steps for a Successful Garden
  1. Know your climate. Albuquerque is classified as planting zone 7a. The average lows are around 10° F, so plants labeled zone 1-7 are cold-hardy here. Being above 5,000’, our summers can get hot! Plants marked partial shade may require total shade in Albuquerque.
  2. Plan. Make sure your soil is deep, well-drained and free of gravel, sand and clay. Our soil tends to be low in organic matter, and the easiest way to remedy this is by adding composted cattle manure.  Add manure at a rate of 50-100lbs to 100ft2 of soil and 1cf of peat moss for every 25lbs of manure.
  3. Plant. Plants can be established by either direct seeding or transplanting. Planting by seed is one of the cheapest, easiest and most basic methods. With seeds, you can grow rare and unique plant varieties not available in nursery stock. Fun Fact: Your Albuquerque garden can be 3 gardens in 1—a spring garden for cool-season veggies, a summer garden for warm-season veggies AND our autumn is usually long enough for a second cool season garden!
  4. Fertilize. The 3 numbers on a fertilizer package represent the 3 main nutrients a plant needs: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorous (P) and Potassium (K). Different plants require different levels for optimal growth. Also, adding sulfur to our alkali soil will improve nutrient uptake.
  5. Water properly. Water is essential in our dry climate. Underwatering will cause stress, reducing quality and yield. Overwatering will lead to root rot and can cause plants to remain in a vegetative state rather than producing fruit. Never water every day! Follow the Water Authority’s “Water by the Numbers” program.
  6. Control pests. Keep a close eye on your plants and treat at the first sign of a problem. Proper identification is key to controlling insects and disease. Bring samples into our pharmacy department for proper identification. It’s free!
  7. Harvest at the correct time. Get the best quality produce by knowing when to harvest. Check seed packets for information and mark your calendar.