More crops coming in at Parr Field

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When Parr Field was conceptualized, it included the milpa, or three sisters garden (maize, beans, and squash), as well as some raised beds for other fruits and vegetables and some greenhouses.  Our last activity at Parr Field was mostly focused on the milpa part of Parr Field where we harvested some green beans for blanching and cooking later.  We are still waiting for our squashes to mature and the maize to be ready to make horno roasted chicos.

The pictures in this post show the progress of some of other crops being grown in the raised beds and under our greenhouses.  Above, we have some sunflowers and cosmos that are intended to beautify the garden, attract beneficial insects, and to be harvested as seed and cut flowers.

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We are growing a traditional strain of northern New Mexico chile (above).  We are going to let all of this chile mature and dry to make red chile for our Thanksgiving feast.  In northern New Mexico, we are known to smother our mashed potatoes with red chile rather than gravy!  The nice thing about growing fruits like chile, squash, and watermelon (below), is that we can have the fruit AND seed for next year.

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Melons are somewhat difficult to grow in this area of northern New Mexico given our clay soils and short growing season.  Nevertheless, we will be trying to get some fruit and seed going because watermelon is so good!  So far so good on this watermelon plant….

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We like growing gourds for art projects, canteens, and bird houses, among other potential uses.  I have found gourds to capture the interest of students in that they are similar to squash but are also noticeably different in their flower and leaf structure.  They turn hollow as they cure and can be used as rattles.  This is a bottle gourd that is growing to a good size and we are excited to imagine the uses but especially to have the seed from this crop.  To gain some perspective on its size, Kiko Pacheco poses with this gourd on August 21, ten days after the picture above was taken.

 

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About Miguel

Miguel Santistevan is a researcher, educator, and advocate for traditional agriculture crops and systems.
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