County agent gives lawn and garden tips

By William Thompson: Quay County Sun

It has been a cooler than normal spring so far, but experts say now is the time to put away fears of a killer frost and get busy with spring planting

New Mexico State University County Extension Agent Pete Walden said gardeners begin digging this weekend.

Walden offered area residents advice on how to deal with the extra moisture this year, plant diseases and fertilizer and starting thier planting.

“Squashes and melons do really well in this area,” Walden said, “but because of the wet weather we’ve had, people should be on the lookout for fungi. If a fungus is found all you have to do is use a fungicide.”

Gardeners often try to outdo one another in producing juicy tomatoes. Walden said tomatoes do well in New Mexico, but this year it might be best to wait a little while before planting them.

“The problem is getting resistant varieties to “tomato wilt,” he said. “Right now there is a leaf wilting disease going around so people should wait until mid-June before planting tomatoes. By then the insects spreading the disease will have died off.”

Walden encourages any gardener with excess produce to sell it at the local farmers’ market which sets up in town twice a week during summer and early fall.

Sherry Osborn of Every Bloomin’ Thing Garden Center in Logan said gardeners are beginning to buy seeds.

“The weather has been so cool but this Mother’s Day weekend people will be out buying supplies,” she said.
“People are buying herbs like thyme, basil and chives.”

For a greener than green lawn, Walden said now is a good time to apply a “complete” fertilizer.

“When you drive around town and see yards with really green grass, you can bet that fertilizer was used,” he said.
“Fertilizer can be applied now, mid-summer and early fall.”
When it comes to watering lawns, Walden advocates the saturation method.

“Right now the ground is plenty wet,” he said, “but in early summer after about ten dry days, you’ll want to water the lawn until the ground is moist 8 to 12 inches down. Just dig a hole and check to see that the soil is moist down deep.
From then on just water as needed.”

Know before you sow
For more planting information or to speak to Pete Walden visit the extension office in the basement of the Quay County Courthouse or call 461-0562.
To have your vegetables sold at the local farmers’ markets this summer, call Bobbie Defoor at 576-2400.

Make your herb garden grow
Here are some popular herbs and tips on planting:
• Basil – Grows up to 2 feet tall. Prefers moist, well-drained soil and full sun.
• Thyme – Grows 12 to 19 inches tall. Prefers sandy loam soil and full sun to partial shade.
• Coriander (Cilantro) – Grows to one to three feet. Prefers sandy loam soil with full sun to partial shade.
• Dill – Grows to two to three feet. Prefers well-drained moist soil and full sun
• Garlic – Grows up to two feet. Prefers well-drained moist soil and full sun to partial shade.
• Marjoram – Grows to one foot. Prefers sandy loam soil and full sun to partial shade.
• Chamomile – Grows to nine inches. Prefers a light, dry soil and full sun to partial shade.