Garden Meeting, Aug 16

Gardeners —

Garden meeting today starts off with a compost workshop at the GazeboAfter the workshop will be dinner at House of Joy. 


  1. Meet at Gazebo for compost workshop led by Don Cowick. Don asks that you bring a pitchfork, if you have one.
  2. Followed by dinner at House of Joy cooked by Bev M with Michaela, dessert by residents —


    • Sauteed yellow summer & zucchini squash w/ Ground Beef or Kielbasa sausage and homemade tortillas.
    • Vegetarian dish: Sauteed yellow summer & zucchini squash and potatoes.
    • Water, milk or 100% fruit juice
    • Dessert: cherry turnovers

MINUTES from Aug 9 garden meeting:

Attendees: Josey, Bev T, Bev M, Brenda, Brandon, Tiffany, Darlene, Molly, Sheri, Michaela, Millie, other residents and kids. Watermelon refreshments.

Meetings started with everyone looking over Don’s landscape rendering that he made according to suggestions of everyone. People would have liked Don to be there to discuss the concept but he was having a birthday elsewhere with Yevette. The coming Tuesday field trip to Aztec Ruins Heritage Gardens was planned, headcount and designated vehicles. What else did we talk about? Without Don, the minutes are pretty useless. Following watermelons, all went to the garden where Bev T talked about weeds, kids collected good weeds and pulled bad ones, ate purslane and almost ate something else that looked like purslane but wasn’t.

See you all this evening !



Aztec Ruins, Chaco Heritage Garden

The New Beginnings Community Garden and San Juan SWCD Farm Farmington! program took a field trip to the Aztec Ruins Heritage Garden on Thursday Aug 10.

The Heritage Garden is grown by staff and volunteers at the park. It’s full of crops that have been grown by people in the Southwest for thousands of years. Beans, corn, squash, gourds, and sunflowers, which are all adapted to the hot, dry conditions here, are grown in “waffle gardens,” which are used by Zuni people and now many others.

This trip was a great opportunity to see different growing techniques here in the Southwest, which could be used at our garden! We were also able to go into Aztec Ruins, and kids earned Junior Ranger badges.


Garden Meeting Aug 9 Agenda & Aug 2 Minutes

Gardeners —

Garden meeting today, Wed., Aug 9 @ 5:30 pm at the House of Joy.


  1. Meet at house, discuss Don’s garden concept, have some refreshments
  2. Master Gardener Bev Todd will lead a workshop in the garden to identify the “good” weeds.

MINUTES from Aug 2 garden meeting:

Attendees: Josey, Bev T, Bev M, Don, Yvette, Brenda, Brandon, Tiffany, Darlene, Jose, Molly, Sheri, Karyn, Michaela, Millie and kids. Light meal of oven-fried squash and grilled zucchini prepared by Michaela, Millie, Bev. Minutes taken by Don Cowick. Meeting led by Molly.

Now that Jerry cleaned out the water tank, need to discuss how to minimize settled material in water tank. Recommendations:

  • Use tank as a settling tank and a second tank to collect enough volume to pump cleaner water into irrigation lines.
  • Add a diversion valve to clear out sediment occasionally.
  • Test well water volumes to determine if well water could be used instead of ditch water for tank.

“Farming Farmington Grant” was just received by Molly’s outfit and may be distributed soon to New Beginnings. Molly discussed the press release and also her Sept 6 Kick off meeting for the grant which is open to all at the Civic Center.  (The Daily Times did follow up on Molly’s press release with a program visit. Click here.

Maybe a Wishing Well for donations might be a potential source of funding.

Discussed fixing the New Beginnings tractor.

Josey asked if it’s a good idea to use the current tank for ditch water and get a 2nd roughly 2500 gal tank for well water, there was discussion, no final resolution yet until Jose and Molly looks at the well, get hoses and fitting part numbers, and New Beginnings or Molly would procure. Discussion also on possibly burying irrigation pipe.

Timeline discussed for irrigation set up and bed development.

Re-discussed placement of kids’ garden, pizza garden, etc. to connect the residents to the production garden.

What to do with the fruit tree orchard? Transplant, graft to new root stock, leave some in place, graft new to old for the purpose of balancing out less shapely trees? Jose suggested leaving trees that work with the gated pipe set up.

Workshop — Bev talked to Bonnie Hopkins about running workshops with some suggested topics using mater gardeners for presentations, possibly–

  • Basic info on gardening
  • Canning
  • How to tell weeds from good plants
  • Natural remedies for pests

Molly suggested a field trip for gardeners and residents to the Aztec Heritage Gardens where Dana Hawkins has planted only Chaco-era plants. Molly will be arranging this field trip in the coming week.

Jose will sign up New Beginnings for a greenhouse including matching funds from __? (Navajo Prep students already interested in design and budgeting for this)

See you all this evening !



Garden design concept- Don Cowick

Below is a rendition made by Don Cowick from the suggestions on the future garden design from our last 2 garden meetings. Don has even included the “Kids Pizza Garden” that Sarah asked for. There’s the fenced dog run/walk, the semi-secured area, public area, and even an apiary (for bees) up above the water tank. There are trees shielding the garden from Apache traffic as well as a line of posts to grow blackberries and grapes. There is the raised bed area for individual vegetable boxes, and a public area where we might put a large shed/building for workshops, picnic tables, and a grill shack for chiles and tomatoes. The ditch is fenced off for safety of people and also to protect the ditch. Compost and greenhouse are near the production field, which now stretched all the way up to the water tank. Well water is near the greenhouse, compost area, raised bed garden, and for other uses.  A vehicle can drive all the way into the production field/greenhouse area. The little xxxs are fences.




Minutes & Next Garden Mtg Aug 2


Gardeners –

Garden Meeting Tomorrow – Wed., AUG 2 — 5:30 p.m. at House of Joy.

Food:  Beverly M and Michaela will be making oven-“fried” squash using home grown squash. Light food.

Minutes from last Wednesday’s BRAINSTORMING meeting on the future garden design:  Thank you Don Cowick for taking notes!  The preliminary ideas that people loved were:

  • Extend both orchard and garden eastwards
  • The water tank now being clean (courtesy of Jerry!) it can be hooked up to the ditch but may need a pump. The water tank that Brandon can get through NMSU Agri should be connected to the well?
  • The Farmers Market to be put on the paved parking area adjacent to the garden would not only include produce from the garden but be open to other producers—it is about time the West Side had its own farmers market. (Program will look into permits and zoning)
  • A dedicated kids garden and recreational area
  • Herb garden
  • Pond !
  • Shade for shed
  • Define access and roadway for vehicles and materials area
  • Perimeter planting of trees (native species) and grasses (possibly blue gramma but consider native grasses – xeriscape)
  • Resurrect hoop house
  • Raised beds in boxes, good for individuals, handicapped gardeners, etc. and would be prairie-dog proof.
  • Also for disabled – better walkways
  • Provide areas for rest and relaxation, including benches
  • Due to proximity to the program, we need to have a subscription membership and residents’ area as well as a public area. Remember: we are not an emergency shelter, we are the transitional program between the crisis and fully normal. Our program is required to help our achieve normal, and this includes community participation and interactions, rather than a lock-down highly limited-interaction facility.
  • Create a fenced long production field surrounded by built-up dog run track on a berm, and continue using the gated pipe flood system for the orchard but, for next season, plant fall cover crops then till it down and plough flood ridges for planting next spring.

 Agenda:  Continue brainstorming on garden design; try to finalize water solutions; plan summer master gardener workshops and classes, EAT BEVERLY’S SQUASHES

Next Garden Meeting: Wed., July 26, 2017 @ 5:30 pm

Gardeners –

Garden Meeting Tomorrow – Wed., July 26 — 5:30 p.m. at House of Joy.

Agenda:  Community orchard landscape and water planning. We will be using the diningroom table at House of Joy to move paper pieces around and envision the orchard. We will have paper and scissors and kids to help make cut outs of movable parts like trees and herb gardens and all kinds of landscapes. While we’re doing this, we will also talk about the tank and water options and hopefully get to a final decision. Our maintenance man Jerry is planning to try hosing out the water tank tomorrow morning, so by the meeting we will be able to tell you how that went. The meeting normally ends with going out to the orchard to water or otherwise maintain or harvest.

Attachment:  Plan of the orchard — click on Orchard-best.

No sandwiches I’m afraid but probably drinks and some light food.


p.s. We finished putting together the chicken coop today—eggs coming soon.


Minutes from Wed. July 19 Garden Meeting

Present at the meeting were Bev T, Paula, Don and Yvette, Josey, Bev M, Michaela, Sheri, Millie, Carolyn, Darlene, and many kids.
Existing Tank. It was decided that we have to try to save the existing water tank no matter what, even if we get a second smaller tank. Clean it and remount it on a more reliable foundation using a metal ring footing. It makes more sense to keep it.
Cleaning tank. Next week when our maintenance man Jerry comes in (Mon and Wed) we’re going to give him a shot at cleaning as he has an idea using a hose and existing garden pump that may work without fuss. Then we’ll look into footings.
Riley Industrial Services came out last week to look into the tank, I think they came by to see if they could clean it for less than the regular price. The program will contact them and see if they have insight into the tank’s integrity.
Farmers Market. We’ve been told by Mr. R.G. Hunt, the owner of the parking lot next to the orchard on Apache that we can use it indefinitely plus he is wanting to help us all he can, We can use the lot for many things, including a future farmers market, which would catch a lot of traffic as our location is ideal right next to Apache. It’s about time we had one on the west side of town. Michaela will look into permits and zoning, including talking to Bonnie.
Visioning/Brainstorming Next Wed.  We now have 2 sources of water, and it’s time the orchard is envisioned and planned fully so that it can be a destination/defining location. Don will be making some compositions, and next Wednesday will be a full visioning meeting. Attached is a OrchardPlan-Satellite of the orchard and its surroundings. Next Wed., we’ll use the long table at House of Joy as a template for the orchard, and move paper cut out trees and plots around on it as part of our visioning.  
Restoration. Paula Sunner is getting in touch with her friend Tim who won an award for restoration work at the mines.
Planting workshops. Bonnie has offered to come teach limited sessions with help of our master gardeners. This subject is evolving.
Chicken coop. The program has gotten a chicken coop.
Ideas to get rid of prairie dogs. A humane way may be to plan a small dog run near the orchard and frequently walk dogs across it on leashes?
Well water and Jose’s orchard manifold layout. We need to know how much well water we have and how clean. If potable, it should be reserved to clean vegetables and feed livestock rather than used up on watering. Jose, from your drawings, it looks like you’re planning for the well water to be a major water source for the orchard manifold with a new tank right next to the well pump and the buried lines flowing out from this new tank.
Next week’s Visioning garden meeting, Wed, 5:30 pm, House of Joy.

July 17 — Funding for Water Tank

Gardeners —

Brandon Francis has gotten funds for a new water tank for us from the NMSU
Agricultural Research Center in Farmington, where he works.

The funds have to be spent by Aug 31, and the present water tank maybe
moved elsewhere or traded in. We need all your help to find or advise on a
suitable tank for the kind of garden we have.

Remember that this year, we have begun stabilizing primary and alternative
water sources and now have both ditch and domestic well water. It feels
like the garden WILL be green and CAN be turned into a landscaped
community growing, meeting, selling, and even eating and event site if we
dare to dream.

The present plan is to get a smaller tank than the garden now has, since
the water that would come through the tank is ditch water, and needs to be
cleaned often. It needs to be portable since the shape and size of the
garden is evolving. Humans need to be able to handle the moving and
regular cleaning without need to purchase or borrow pumps, since the
emphasis is self-sufficiency. The option of cleaning the present large
tank is still on the table, but we’ve also been told that there may well
be cracks below the inside growths and sediment which must be industrially
cleaned if we want to use it.

We need to decide quickly for lots of reasons including NMSU’s spending
deadline. Please weigh in. This is everyone’s garden, hopefully one day
this and all the other gardens cropping up will define this City. You’re
the bomb Brandon.