Another Great Example of Wordplay from The Fork!
While perusing this week's cover story about gardening and gardeners and homesteaders and beekeepers and mushroom people and nursery workers who are up to their necks in angry customers, we thought it might be cool to gather a few resources for people looking to grow their own food. At times like this, it's only natural to want to expand the ol' autonomy and, honestly, it's not all that hard to grow food. We've done it. We're not doing it now because we're too busy gathering resources, but just know that we know that you know we're right. Let's break a few things down:
At first, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham had said small local nurseries were non-essential businesses, which actually led the way for the big box stores with garden centers to weasel in on the locals' turf. Luckily, the state lifted parts of the restrictions, and these places can now offer curbside pickup and delivery. Still, if you read the cover story, you know they're dealing with a mad dash of humans looking to stick stuff in the ground by May 15 (which, it turns out, is kind of arbitrary). So while we're definitely gonna throw out the big three of local nurseries in this upcoming list (in no particular order), and suggest you shop there, we ask that you treat their employees with the respect they deserve. Like you, they're just getting by. Be patient and kind. Don't try to sneak inside. Don't yell on the phone. Etc.
Agua Fria Nursery
They're reportedly working on an online storefront as we speak, though it could take time. Either way, the nursery is a huge part of the community and they're nice people.
Payne's Nurseries (North and South)
More than one location? Helpful staff? A knowledge of the land and the plants that love it so? Sold!
According to the website, Newman's is letting limited numbers of customers in at a time—so long as they respect the social distancing.
"But, The Fork!" you surely just whined gratingly at your computer screen. "Can't you do more for us than list the three nurseries you were able to confirm are indeed open?"
Yes. We. Can. In fact, we reached out to a number of gardeners we know, from the hobbyist types to the people who live to grow, and they've offered up little pieces of advice to help you get started and/or up your yield. We also researched ourselves because we're just like that. Let's take a look, yeah?
For under $10, you can get yourself a soil test kit. This sounds intense, but it'll also give you a clearer idea of where you're soil is at goodness-wise, and what steps you might need to take. According to our sources, New Mexico is not always the easiest place to grow despite our MANY days of sunshine. This one simple step can really put you ahead.
This'll sound so obvious, but just in case you hadn't thought about it, plants like sun…plant where there's sun. That obviously sounds soooooo obvious, but we're just mentioning it to avoid any emails that are like "Don't forget about sun."
Don't be a hero—start small until you learn more. One of our friends says they had stars in their eyes, bought all kinds of stuff and were then quickly overwhelmed by too many responsibilities and considerations. Seriously, start small. Everyone told us that same thing.
You've surely heard this term bandied about, and according to our sources, one of the biggest reasons to do the raised bed thing is to avoid pooling water…as in, for drainage purposes. Sounds so obvious now that you know it, right? We also hear that it's easier to manage the soil. Know what else? If you're an accomplished gardener who just scoffed and thought "Duh," well…you can stuff your duh in a sack—we're trying to help some nooooooobs.
Consider the Wind!
This never would've occurred to us, but apparently super-windy zones (which totally exist) are not only potentially damaging, they're not heavily trafficked by pollinators. As in bees aren't gonna hang in a wind tunnel. And in case we haven't been clear, don't plant a veggie garden in a wind tunnel.
Read Up On Germination!
Stick a seed in the ground, watch it grow, right? Plus, seeds are cheap or free, right? Yeah, maybe, but the more you know about the process, the better things will be. Our buds tell us that even spending a few extra bucks to get seeds from more reputable sources can make a huge difference.
Cold v. Warm!
Some plants like it chilly and can be planted earlier than others. Some plants only dig warmer soil. Things like kale and beets can hang with the cold, tomatoes and peppers aren't so into it. Either way, it's warming up now, but sources say it could still frost. If you're getting into it today, this week, etc., keep that in mind.
There's a wide world of growing plants out there, and these can not only conserve space, it also comes with the possibility you'll do some time lapse photography which, when sped up later, looks like plants are growing quickly. We know you won't do that, but it's cool.
Rows? We Suppose—But Sometimes That's a No!
Our brains tell us that we should plant our plants in simple rows, but our exhaustive research has shown us that planting in different configurations, such as triangles, according to Good Housekeeping, can give you more room to go wild.
This one's just from us to you—find and watch the David Attenborough-narrated documentary The Private Life of Plants. It's just cool even if it's not explicitly dedicated to veggie gardens.
¡Where to Donate Alert!
Another week, another reminder that the following programs are doing so much to feed hungry people in Santa Fe right now. Even a couple bucks helps—please donate if you can.
-We're going to be honest when we say we forgot that Mother's Day is fast approaching (and you're welcome for the reminder…it's Sunday, May 10). We were reminded ourselves thanks to Kakawa Chocolate House where, it turns out, they've got nifty little choco-based gift sets to thank your mom for birthing you. Sounds better than that macaroni art you were probably making. Oh, and remember—you're under no obligation to maintain a relationship with your mother if it's harmful to your well being.
-We got a pretty cool press release that told us New Mexico's food industry folks have partnered with a bunch of departments like the Departments of Agriculture, Indian Affairs, the New Mexico Farm and Livestock Bureau and many others to make sure people who need food can get access to food. According to this release, the union has already delivered something like 80,000 tons of beans, rice, veggies and fruits—plus more than 27,000 food boxes to seniors—around the state.
-Fork Fan Neal Copperman, who works for AMP Concerts and produces the Globalquerque! world music event each year, sent us a pretty cool video from a friend of his who manages bands in Estonia and Georgia and Russia. Seems in these trying times she's turned to making cooking vids with her bands. Cool! We didn't know where to put this in terms of local/not local, so it's gonna just go right here:
Bluebery. Semolina. Mousse. WHAT?!?!
-Ohmygod. Edible New Mexico wrote us an email about our last newsletter wherein we mentioned them, and y'all—WE ARE CRUSHING!!!! Fooooooood words foreeevvvvvver!
Obviously this song was written about The Fork and Edible NM. OBVIOUSLY!!!
-Lastly in local (or local-ish, what're you, our mom?!?!) news, we still received a number of letters about the whole Grubhub/Vinaigrette thing. We don't want to go back down the road of including them all, but suffice it to say that pretty much everyone is on Team Erin Wade.
-The chairman of Tyson's Chicken says there may be meat shortages on the horizon. Given that COVID-19 cases have popped up throughout the factory meat industry (and Tyson's well-documented levels of suck), we're kind of like, "Eh, we can get by without chicken." Meat's not MANDATORY. Don't steal our album name, Morrissey!
-We're all talking a lot about restaurants lately, and we're all ordering as much food as we can to try and stave off the hit they're taking. Still, according to Food & Wine, we're fast approaching a point of no return. In a new piece, writer Khushbu Shah reasons that the PPP loans for small businesses are all well and good, but they're not enough. Restaurants need a general fund aimed specifically at their survival, Shah says.
-In less dire but also important information, we finally found out what's up with that oven drawer. You know the one…the little one on the bottom where you shove pans and stuff? Full disclosure: we already knew. But maybe you didn't?
-Grocery delivery service Instacart is apparently on track for a massive net profit in the time of COVID-19. We understand the economics of it. We understand that some people need to use it. We just hope this means more hires because people are struggling. Also, something about making a profit during times of illness is just plain kinda gross.
-Lastly this week, Bon Appetit's Christina Chaey managed to throw a dinner party while facing isolation, so you probably can, too! Reach out to people if you need. They'll help you.
In the print edition of SFR, taker-outer Julie Ann Grimm got her some frozen dumplings from a local restaurant that were reportedly something else.
A Totally Scientific Breakdown of The Fork's Correspondence
Number of Letters Received
*Sure, but we got that Edible NM thing, so we're good
Most Helpful Tip of the Week
“I’m not one for wearing a mask. Besides, I’m sure it’s fine.”
*Aw, c’mon, bud. Wear the mask if you’re going out.
Actually Helpful Tip
We apparently spaced including the link last week, so hear as we repeat the following: Fork favorite Sue B. sent us a super interesting link to a book (booklet…pamphlet?) about food during wartime that's painfully applicable about now, even if its writing is adorably dated. HERE IS LINK!
*Sue, you really are the best.
Masked up and ready to party,