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Water-wise Vegetable Gardening in Las Cruces


Living in the desert requires a good dose of adjustment for those not born and raised in the area. From applying more sunscreen and drinking more water, we adapt to the land and thrive. It’s similar for the vegetables in our gardens. You can make sure that your garden has the right know-how to thrive by becoming water-wise and plant savvy when you attend the popular, free Lush and Lean Workshops sponsored by the Las Cruces Utilities (LCU) Water Conservation Program.

On March 29th, join Dr. Stephanie Walker’s presentation at the Thomas Branigan Memorial Library. Dr. Walker is an Extension Vegetable Specialist at New Mexico State University.

“There are three things I will cover,” said Dr. Walker. “First, we will learn to manage the growth of our vegetables, which increases their resilience to drought impact. For example, tomatoes and melons can do well if you manage their root growth; the deeper the root, the more likely it is that the plant can overcome drought stress.”

“Second, we will learn to manage the environment as much as we can, using mulch, using shading, and companion planting,” she said. She explained that companion planting is utilizing the sizes and timings of different plants as shields. “If you plant something that has a large biomass like okra, you can use it to shelter other vegetables from the harsh effects of the sun and wind.”

“The last thing is that we need to understand that our vegetable selections are important. Big box stores offer variety, but some of the selections are not made for here; pick something that grows well here like okra and asparagus,” she said. “Asparagus loves it here, and people who’ve grown up here even remember harvesting wild asparagus in the ditch banks. And, it’s a perennial that’ll give a harvest for about ten years.”

All Lush and Lean Workshops are free and open to the public. They are held Thursday evenings at the Thomas Branigan Memorial Library, at 200 E. Picacho Ave., in the Roadrunner Room from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. See the complete list of speakers and Lush and Lean dates at www.las-cruces.org/WaterConservation or www.facebook.com/cityoflascruces.

Submitted by Las Cruces Utilities

You can reach Las Cruces Utilities at 528-3500 from 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Las Cruces Utilities provides GAS – WATER – WASTEWATER – SOLID WASTE services to approximately 100,000 Las Cruces residents and businesses.