APRIL 2019 • 21
Will Scott, who serves in the Youth Conservation Corps garden crew at Aldo Leopold Charter School, pushes a wheelbarrow of weeds. (Photo by Tricia Hurley)
Silver City Zen Center (Ginzan-ji Zen Buddhist Temple) Meditation Practice (Zazen)
Monday-Friday 8:00 am
Zazen, Kinhin & Dharma Talk
Saturday 9:00 am
Dokusan (interview with teacher) by appointment Resident Priest Rev. Dr. Oryu Paul Stuetzer
NATIVE ROOTS • TRICIA HURLEY
Protect Our Planet Ready for a Spring Garden?
his year’s Earth Day theme is “Protect Our Species” and what better way to protect them than to plant a garden providing the food and shelter they need? Early spring is a good time to plant in the Southwest. The nights are still cool and the days have not reached the unrelenting heat and dryness that plague our summers. Many of us are coming out of winter dormancy just as the plants are and the urge to be outside digging in the dirt is enticing. The concept of Earth Day came from John McConnell, who created a global Earth Day proclamation, which was supported by 36 countries and the UN secretary general in 1970. In the same year, U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin set April 22 as the official day to celebrate Earth Day in the United States. Planting a tree, shrub or small garden has been a symbolic gesture honoring our planet dating back to Earth Day’s inception. Lucky for those of us in Silver City, our Earth Day celebration at Gough Park will have several vendors selling plants and offering advice on gardening for food, herbs and wildlife. The Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) garden crew from Aldo Leopold Charter School will be offering a variety of veggie starts, from tomatoes, squash, chards, and herbs as well as some mixed pollinator plants to get folks started with their organic backyard garden. There will also be free seeds and plants if you choose to participate in the Pollinator Walk hosted by the YCC students. The Gila Native Plant Society (GNPS) will have leftover native plants for sale from their spring pre-order sale as well as field guides, landscaping and gardening books. The last day to order from them is April 8. You can view their availability at www. gnps.org. For tips on gardening with native plants, you can attend GNPS’s April program on Friday, April 19 with local grower Hanna Blood. If you would like to start your plants from seed, now is the time to get started. You don’t need anything fancy for vegetables, just some peat pellets, or small containers full of a good seed-starting mix, seeds and a sunny window. It’s easy to make your own soil for seed germination. We remove bark and any other large pieces found
506 W. 13th St.
(corner of 13th and Virginia) Silver City, NM • 575-388-8874
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Children with Guadalupe Montessori school in Silver City dig through seed packets last spring to choose what kind of sunflowers to plant. (Photo by Andrea Warner)
in our organic Black Gold potting soil with a strainer, then we mix in perlite to help aerate the soil. It is important for young seedlings to have good drainage. Sometimes we use vermiculite for species that require a damper medium. Here at Lone Mountain Natives, we started our penstemon, columbine, verbena, basket flower, sulfur flowered buckwheat, fernbush and clematis back in January and February. These natives need to be cold stratified. We started them in our unheated greenhouse, exposing the seeds to the cold temperatures that they need in order to germinate, mimicking wild conditions. If you don’t have time to start wildflowers from seed, come and see us or other plant vendors on Earth Day where there will be plenty of perennial wildflowers, trees and shrubs for sale. Purchasing your plants on Earth Day is a great way to support local growers with the added benefit of obtaining plants that are already acclimated to Grant County’s erratic climate. Local growers are more likely to use integrated pest management and organic fertilizers and employ pollinator-friendly practices than big-box growers as well. If you are planning on seeding a wildflower garden, don’t spread the seed until about 10 days before our last projected frost date, which is usually the first or second weekend in May. Lastly, recruit some young gardeners to help in your planting endeavors. The future of the planet is
in their hands. Several Silver City schools have active gardens including Sixth Street and Jose Barrios elementaries and San Lorenzo Elementary in the Mimbres Valley. Aldo Leopold Charter School is working on grants for the middle school and the high school to start raised-bed gardens. Silver City’s Guadalupe Montessori School incorporates a gardening program into its curriculum. The Commons, formerly the Volunteer Center, engages youth in gardening and has a Food Corp Program to work with local schools, engaging teachers and students in gardening on school grounds. For more information about these programs, visit guadalupemontessori.org/ and www. tvcgrantcounty.org/ and email firstname.lastname@example.org regarding ALCS’s gardening efforts. Tricia Hurley is co-owner with her husband, Mark Cantrell, of Lone Mountain Natives in Silver City. They have been growing, selling and learning about native plants for the past 13 years where they have a home nursery and sell at the local farmers market in downtown Silver City. Contact them at email@example.com or visit their website at www. lonemtnnatives.com.
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506 W13th street, one block from WNMU, corner of Virginia, Silver City, NM 88061 Office:
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