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Digging in the Dirt: Tips for Santa Fe gardeners

Getting ready to plant
Stan Cooper
Getting ready to plant

May is the busiest month of the year for garden centers, but gardening here in the high desert of Santa Fe is not for sissies. So,

  • When should you plant outside?
  • How often should you water?
  • What kind of fertilizer works best? 
  • How can you deal with pesky insects?

To find out the answers to these and other spring garden questions, KSFR reporter Mary Lou Cooper talked with the owner of Paynes nurseries, Lynn Payne.
Payne advised listeners:

  • First and foremost use quality soil for both plants in the ground and plants in pots.
  • This year it’s okay to go ahead and plant right now. 
  • Overwatering is the biggest mistake gardeners make.  Watch potted plants closely and wait until they are thirsty.  But it’s hard to overwater plants in the ground in the desert.
  • Use water soluble fertilizer for plants in pots.  Use granular fertilizer for ground plants. 
  • To fight insects, consider planting Marigold flowers and chives amidst other plants in the garden. 

Finally, this longtime garden expert counseled gardeners to just enjoy the garden and forget about perfection.
After many years as a family garden business, Paynes is now for sale.

Mary Lou Cooper reports on consumer issues for KSFR as well as on politics and elder affairs. She has worked for the U.S. Congress as well as for the Nevada and Tennessee legislatures, and remains a political junkie. She worked many years for an association of Western state legislatures and was a contributor to “Capitol Ideas,” a national magazine about state government. In 2016 Cooper received a public service award from the New Mexico Broadcasting Association for her KSFR story on Internet romance scams. She has received journalism awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and from the National Federation of Press Women. She grew up in Oak Ridge, TN and received her BA from Emory University in Atlanta and her MA from the University of Texas Austin. She also holds fiction and screenwriting certificates from the University of Washington.