Growing Guide for Fruits and Vegetables
New Mexico is considered a semi-arid region with as many as six climate zones. It has areas of high altitude, varying lengths of growing seasons and subjected to high springtime winds and extended drought periods. In a single day one can experience severe temperature drops, hail, flash floods and mild temperatures. The higher the growing zone number is, such as in central to southern New Mexico, the longer the growing season is and more varieties of plants can be grown. The northern areas have an average growing season of 4 ½ months, which makes a greenhouse a practical solution for extending the season. To see which crops are suitable for your zone and dates to sow or plant by, go to this link and enter your city or zip code in New Mexico for spring and fall planting options. Start planning your garden.
Remember to check seed packets for recommended planting zones. Hybrid and heirloom seeds of the same vegetable or fruit can have different days to maturity and even growing zones. Because greenhouses draw more heat earlier and later in the year than growing in ground without one, there is some flexibility to stated planting dates.
Growing Challenges in New Mexico
Crop Eating Animals:
Our Solutions: Critter exclusion
High Winds / Extreme Weather:
Our Solutions: Strong tie-downs, connectors & structural components
We use ratchet straps that have a working load limit of 3333 lbs / strap and a breaking strength of 10,000 lbs / strap. A 70-mph ind produces a force of 12.5 lbs/sf, which produces a total force on our 12’ x 20’ model’s surface area of 4583 lbs. We use 3 lengths of straps on this model, as pictured above, meaning the cover alone has a working load limit of 10,000 lbs with a breaking strength of 30,000 lbs. Overkill? We’re guilty.
We use heavy-duty long lasting galvanized steel components to connect all bows, purlins, and end struts to make a solid cohesive structure. To brace for Northern Arizona snow loads our bows for 10’ & 12’ wide units are at 4’ centers rated at 40,000 psi yield / 45,000 psi tensile strength per bow. 24’ wide greenhouses are rated at 50,000 psi yield / 55,000 psi tensile strength and further supported by seven lengths of steel purlins.
Intense Heat and Sun
Our Solution: Adjustable low tech UV protected cover system for ventilation
Shade cloth blocks out mid-day hot sun
Low tech roll-up roll-down assembly provides more than adequate ventilation for cooling
Drip systems are easily integrated into raised beds, while mesh covers allow rain to add natural nutrients to the soil and plant roots
Soils of New Mexico
New Mexican soils can generally be described as sandy loam. It contains between 43-85% sand, 0-50% silt and 0-20% clay. It has less sand than loamy sand. Most vegetable growing takes place on flat land. Much of New Mexico is steep, especially in the northern mountains. Many of New Mexico’s soils are either too shallow to bedrock, too rocky throughout, or too salty to grow most crops in. Only 2% of New Mexico is currently used for growing crops. To ensure success with growing plants and crops, soils may need to be amended and balanced with the right texture and by adding nutrients to ensure growth and allow water and air to reach roots properly. Raised beds help control the quality of amended soil for season after season. To have your soil tested, go to this link:
Our Solution: Structurally integrated container gardening system
Raised beds not only help control the quality of the soil; they also support the structure of the greenhouse so there is no digging or concrete involved, while lending long term stability.
Gardening Comfort / New Mexico Demographics
New Mexico’s population totals less than 2 million people, despite being the 5th largest state in the U.S. About a third of the residents are 45 years of age and older. Studies show that 42% of Americans have started growing their own vegetables. Retirees have more time to garden but are physically limited as they get older. Up and down movements required when sowing seeds and weeding, squatting, and reaching while planting and harvesting all take a physical toll on the body that may discourage this activity.
Our Solution: An outdoor living space built for gardening & comfort
Simple! Benches on top of the raised beds for potting and entertaining.