NOTE: I recently posted an all-points bulletin asking people to send me pictures of their favorite gardens — theirs or someone else’s. I periodically feature these garden or gardenish images (with descriptive narratives) as they are sent to me.

Debra Denker

My garden just outside Santa Fe is one of the things keeping me sane in challenging times. I have two 4 x 4 raised beds at home (one pictured above) and a 4 x 8 plot at Eldorado School Community Garden. It’s such a joy to pick fresh kale and to make salad from various kinds of lettuce picked right from the garden—all organic, of course. Radishes done, beets soon ready, carrots to come, beans, zucchini, and tomatoes getting going, Chimayo chile, Armenian cucumber, and eggplant hopefully to come later in the summer. Yes, it’s work, but it’s joyous. I can use my shower warm-up water to water the raised beds, so they are quite water efficient, as we are on restrictions. Luckily at the community garden they run the drip system every day, so there is plenty of water.

Debra Denker Raised Bed

I really worked the soil in all my beds, adding organic compost and compost tea to create living soil. I also invested in organic mulch. I am finding that hoops with remay are crucial at this altitude (7,000 ft.) and in this climate. The UV has become very harsh in recent years, and I watch plants literally burn if they are not shaded. The raised bed above I started very early, at the end of March. I put frost cloth on the seedlings, as we had freezes till mid-May. Carrots, kale, beets, leeks, and radishes are all from seed. The lettuce, wonderfully mixed, is from organic sets at the Farmer’s Market in town. I bought those the day before Easter and babied them, covering them with frost cloth when needed. I also have Egyptian walking onion, but I’m not sure how to use it. Marigolds and alyssum are for beauty and for attracting bees. I don’t know how long the lettuce and kale will last in the heat, but the remay over hoops helps a lot.

Debra also submitted two films that may be of interest:

The first is an 8-minute video about a man in Acornhoek, South Africa, starting a garden with help from Seeds of Light, an NGO based in Santa Fe.
https://www.seedsoflight.org/man-starts-community-garden-with-no-water-and-no-money/

The second is the short version of a film Debra made about her local community garden and its relationship to Acornhoek.

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