Issue: August 30, 2003

Garden classes

Question:

I moved to Albuquerque from the east coast a year ago. After this summer, I believe everyone who says gardening is very different here! How can I learn to garden successfully in Albuquerque? Are there any classes?

Answer:

There are many resources to consider, especially in the Albuquerque area. The Council of Albuquerque Garden Clubs and their affiliated clubs are a good source of information and gardening friends. Some nurseries offer classes. These are announced in the newspaper. The Cooperative Extension Service office is another good source of classes on gardening.

Garden clubs, nurseries, and the Extension Service are resources available in all parts of New Mexico. Since you are in Albuquerque, you have a unique opportunity almost at your doorstep. In Albuquerque there is the Xeriscape Conference, and it is conducted every 18 months. The Xeriscape Conference will be held in October this year. Although registration for the full conference is $100, on Saturday, October 18, there are some free events (trade show and some lectures). You can find information about the conference at http://www.xeriscapenm.com or call (505) 468-1021. People travel from all parts of New Mexico and surrounding states to attend this conference.

There are NMSU Extension Service publications available from your local Cooperative Extension Service office and from the Internet at http://www.cahe.nmsu.edu/pubs/. Local libraries and bookstores will have books written by Southwestern authors. Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) television stations in New Mexico also broadcast the Southwest Yard and Gardenprogram. This program is produced by the NMSU Cooperative Extension Service to help you garden here. Gardening in the southwest is a challenge for gardeners who have moved to New Mexico. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help you.

Fungus gnats

Question:

I am repotting plants to bring indoors in the autumn. Last year I had problems with fungus gnats. Is there a way to avoid this problem?

Answer:

The fungus gnats may be present in the potting soil you are using, so careful choice of potting soil may help solve the problem. Pasteurization of the potting soil before use by heating to a temperature of 160 degrees F. can also help.

If you find that you have fungus gnats once you bring the plants indoors, there are some organic pesticides based on the Bacillus thuringiensis toxin that can be used safely indoors. There are other products available for use on potted plants. Read and follow the label directions to maximize effectiveness and safety (for you and your plants). If instructions do not tell you it is safe to use indoors, you should take the plants outdoors to treat them and bring them inside after the chemical has dried.

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Send gardening questions to Southwest Yard and Garden, Attn: Dr. Marisa Thompson at desertblooms@nmsu.edu or at https://www.facebook.com/DesertBloomsNM/. Please include your county Extension Agent (aces.nmsu.edu/county) and your county of residence with your question!

For more gardening information, visit the NMSU Extension Horticulture page: desertblooms@nmsu.edu.

Marisa Y. Thompson, PhD, is the Extension Horticulture Specialist, in the Department of Extension Plant Sciences at the New Mexico State University Los Lunas Agricultural Science Center, office: 505-865-7340, ext. 113.