Local Food Albuquerque
Grow it at home! Nobody with a small city lot is going to produce all their own food, but it can be very satisfying to produce even a little of it. On my own small city lot near UNM, I grow enough vegetables to feed two people for 8-9 months of the year, some to give away, and some to preserve. I do it for the pleasure of working with fresh organic produce, for the feeling of controlling a little of my own food supply, and for the sheer beauty of the plants.
For most of the last year, my water bills have been approximately half (sometimes 2/3) of the residential average for Albuquerque. An edible landscape can be a waterwise landscape.
All Albuquerque gardening needs to be water-wise gardening.
Use compost lavishly in the soil where you plan to grow vegetables; it helps hold water in the root zone. The city contracts to have excellent compost made from collected green waste, and you can get it in bags at most garden centers as Rio Grande compost, or have it delivered by the truckload.
Rain barrels are available at most garden centes, and you'll get a rebate on your water bill for buying them. Ask for the rebate form when you make your purchase.
Use of gray water is legal and encouraged in Albuquerque. Have a qualified person design your system. One way to increase safety is to use gray water only on fruit trees nd ornamental plantings rathr than directly on vegetable plantings.
Plant closely. This might seem counter-intuitive, but the shading of the soil helps keep water in the root zone.
Think carefully about what you're getting for your water use. My water bills are well below residential average, and for that I'm getting three seasons of produce that didn''t have to be mechanically cultivated, sprayed, or shipped across the country.
Red and green lettuce, broccoli, and green onions nestle at the foot of a rain barrel in this picture.
There are lots of resources to help the would-be home gardener. One of my favorites is Kitchen Gardenes International. Their website can be found at www.kitchengardeners.org. They have online forums, an excellent e-newsletter, and a group of enthusiastic members at every level from small organic farmers to container gardeners. Feel free to contact me at the email address on the contact page and I'll help if I can. If you're growing vegetables (on any scale, large or small) within the ABQ city limits, please drop me a line; I'd love to know what you're growing and maybe photograph your garden for this website.
Calendulas, scorzonera, and potatoes all huddle together here.